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Clarifying “Home Care” terminology

Here’s an excerpt from an article recently published on the Oklahoman newspaper web site:

By Gary A. Brown
Vintage Visions

To most people, the terms “home care” and “home health care” are synonymous. Yet, in reality, they are different services addressing different needs and often provided by different agencies.This understandable confusion is compounded when seniors look for services in the Yellow Pages. “Home Care” and “Home Health” are both listed under “Home Health Services.”

Here’s an easy way to remember the difference: Home health is medically oriented, and home care is nonmedical and functionally oriented.

Unfortunately, Mr. Brown himself is perpetuating the terminology problem. He’s right about home health. However, “Home Care” means more than non-medical home care. By our definition, “Home Care” includes a range of services for patients and clients in their homes, including “home health,” Hospice, Home Medical Equipment, Home Infusion, and Non-medical or Private Duty Home Care.

It seems like the non-medical home care sector is trying to own the term, “Home Care.” But they do so without a full understanding of our industry.

What do you think? What terms do you use? How can we clarify this for our patients, clients, physicians, and referral sources?

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