When it comes to aging in place, there are a variety of resources available to provide support for seniors. However, many people are unsure about differences between services, especially when it comes to medical and non-medical in-home care. Both provide support in the home, but they serve different purposes.
Medical Home Care
This type of care is often recommended for seniors who need medical assistance following an illness or injury, when coming home from the hospital, or when managing chronic conditions. Care is provided by a nurse or other licensed medical professional.
Home health care may include services such as:
- Medication administration including IV infusions or injections
- Pain management
- Care for tracheotomies, catheters, feeding tubes, or ventilators
- Wound care
- Post-operative rehabilitation
It is prescribed by a doctor and allows seniors to recover in the comfort of their own homes more safely and effectively. The home health provider ensures they are following the established treatment plan and can identify potential problems or complications.
Non-Medical Home Care
This type of care focuses on supporting seniors with activities of daily living and maintaining their independence. It does not require a doctor’s order and can be scheduled for a few hours a week or several hours per day depending on the individual’s needs.
Non-medical in-home care may include services such as:
- Light housekeeping
- Meal preparation
- Bathing, dressing, or toileting
- Assistance with errands
- Escorting on outings
- Medication reminders
- Nighttime and wake-up routines
- Respite care
Caregivers tailor care to each senior’s unique needs, allowing them to function independently as much as possible while offering the appropriate level of support. They can also spend time with aging adults reminiscing, playing games, or discussing current events to provide socialization and companionship to reduce loneliness and isolation. However, they do not offer direct medical care.
There are instances where a senior may receive both medical and non-medical home health care, especially if they have recently been ill or are recovering from surgery. A medical caregiver assists with their rehabilitation and medication administration, while a non-medical caregiver helps with tasks around the home that they may not be able to perform on their own yet. There can be some overlap in services.
Non-medical home care can be extremely flexible to fit the senior and their family’s needs and goals. Services can be scheduled for times when other family members are unable to be there, or when there is the greatest need for assistance.