What is home care?

Posted on October 16, 2020

Home Care can be confusing. What is it? Why would I need it? Why would I want it? Who pays for it? What is the difference between this and going to a facility?

Here’s the deal. The healthcare system is complex. Every individual is different, which makes generalizations something we just don’t like. Here are some answers to common questions.


Home care is a broad term that means any medical or non-medical care provided in a primary place of residence. That means you may see home care in a single-family home, at an in-law suite, in an assisted living or at a skilled nursing facility. Home care is generally divided into two main areas: home health and home care. Home health includes medical care like medication management and organization, PEG tube care, trach care, wound care, etc. Home care includes both Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) like dressing, bathing, check-ins, reminders, errands, transportation, cleaning, and cooking. For a peek into the difference between ADL’s (bathing/dressing etc) and IADL’s (cooking/cleaning), take a look at this post.


Two main overarching reasons: acute care (short-term) and chronic care (long-term). The biggest reasons for short-term home care include a hospitalization, wound care, or surgery. The biggest reason for long-term home care include a change to the primary caregiver (i.e. the passing of a spouse), chronic disease management (like diabetes or dementia) or a decline in ability to do things (like cook, clean or drive).


Home care exists to make our clients’ life easier and provide him with a better quality of life, keeping him independent at home as long as possible. That doesn’t mean it’s any easier to get older, or for him to feel like he needs help. Home care does allow our client to stay home longer. It lets him continue to do things he wants to do (like go shopping, eat the meals you want to eat) and have control over his environment. It may keep him safer longer. We know we’re caring for our clients in the most private of spaces: their primary residence.

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