Home care, is supportive care provided in the home. Care may be provided by licensed healthcare professionals who provide medical care needs or by professional caregivers who provide daily care to help to ensure the activities of daily living (ADL's) are met. In-home medical care is often and more accurately referred to as "home health care" or formal care. Often, the term home health care is used to distinguish it from non-medical care, custodial care, or private-duty care which is care that is provided by persons who are not nurses, doctors, or other licensed medical personnel.
Home Health services help adults, seniors, and pediatric clients who are recovering after a hospital or facility stay, or need additional support to remain safely at home and avoid unnecessary hospitalization. These Medicare-certified services may include short-term nursing, rehabilitative, therapeutic, and assistive home health care. This care is provided by registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), speech language pathologists (SLPs), home health aides (HHAs) and medical social workers (MSWs) as a limited number of up to one hour visits, primarily through the Medicare Home Health benefit.
The largest segment of Home Care consists of licensed and unlicensed non-medical personnel who assist the individual including caregivers. Care assistants may help the individual with daily tasks such as bathing, eating, cleaning the home and preparing meals. Caregivers work to support the needs of individuals who require such assistance, and this care helps them stay at home versus living in a facility. Often non-medical home care is paid for by the individual or family. The term "private-duty" refers to the private pay nature of these relationships. Home Care has traditionally been privately funded as opposed to Home Health Care that is task-based and government or insurance funded. These traditional differentiations in Home Care services are starting to change as the average age of the world's population has increased. Individuals typically desire to remain independent and use Home Care services to maintain their existing lifestyle. Government and Insurance providers are beginning to fund this level of care as an alternative to facility care. In-Home Care is often a lower cost solution to long-term care facilities.