Home care

Home care

Home care (also referred to as domiciliary care, social care, or in-home care) is supportive care provided in the home. Care may be provided by licensed healthcare professionals who provide medical treatment needs or by professional caregivers who provide daily assistance to ensure the activities of daily living (ADLs) 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 refers to assistance and services provided by persons who are not nurses, doctors, or other licensed medical personnel. For terminally ill patients, home care may include hospice care. For patients recovering from surgery or illness, home care may include rehabilitative therapies.
The largest segment of home care consists of licensed and unlicensed non-medical personnel, including caregivers who assist the individual. 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. These services help the client to stay at home versus living in a facility. 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 (non-medical) has traditionally been privately funded as opposed to home health care which is task-based and government or insurance funded.
These traditional differences in home care services are changing as the average age of the population has risen. 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.
Estimates for the U.S. indicate that most home care is informal, with families and friends providing a substantial amount of care. For formal care, the health care professionals most often involved are nurses followed by physical therapists and home care aides. Other health care providers include respiratory and occupational therapists, medical social workers and mental health workers. Home health care is generally paid for by Medicaid, Medicare, long term insurance, or paid with the patient's own resources.

 


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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 540 Gaither Road Rockville. Data Sources for the At-Risk Community-Dwelling Patient Population