What's The Difference Between Personal Care And Home Health Care?

Posted on: 23 May 2022


If you're looking into in-home care for an aging parent or parents, you've probably come across a lot of unfamiliar terminology. The home care industry is extensive and includes many professionals who perform a variety of roles for their clients. Understanding how these roles differ and which ones might be appropriate for your situation can help you choose the best care option for your loved ones.

While in-home care specialists may go by many names or titles, most broadly fall into the categories of personal care and home health care. It's crucial to learn the difference between these two terms before deciding which service will work best for the needs of your loved ones.

Personal Care Defined

Personal care (sometimes simply called "home care") refers to non-medical services that can help a home-bound elderly client live a more comfortable or independent life. Personal care workers can help your loved one with various routine tasks, including cooking, bathing, or even completing essential housework. Their primary goal is to help your loved one remain in their home even if they require some help.

It's crucial to remember that personal care aides perform non-clinical services. In other words, they typically can't help with any tasks that may require a medical professional, although they may be able to assist with basic first aid needs. If your loved one requires more specialized care, it may be necessary to utilize a home health care aide.

Home Health Care Defined

Unlike personal care, home health care includes a broad range of professional medical services. These professionals typically help with specialized conditions, such as providing physical therapy or monitoring patients with chronic illnesses. While personal care aides may show up every day, home health care workers usually only visit a few times per week or even less frequently.

In some cases, home health care workers may only need to provide occasional monitoring and evaluation. For example, patients with dementia may require a nurse to check in on them every so often to evaluate their disease progression and make recommendations to other members of their healthcare team, such as personal care aides.

Choosing the Right Option

The best option for your elderly parents will depend on their unique situation, needs, and desires. If your parents are still relatively active and independent, they may only need a personal care aide to visit a few times per week to help them with more difficult tasks. On the other, less active or independent seniors may require more frequent care or visits from medically trained health care workers.

Remember that the primary goal of in-home senior care is often to help individuals remain in their homes and maintain some dignity and independence. Choosing the right option for your parents can make their lives easier while also helping relieve some of the stress that comes from caring for elderly parents alone.

Contact a professional for more information about in-home senior care options.