Aging In Place

12/3/2020 | By Seniors Guide Staff

At some point in their lives, older adults may suffer an illness or injury that will require additional support at home. Known as home care, licensed home care facilities will typically supply the in-home services. While there are various home care choices, the type of care can differ depending on the individual’s needs.

Individuals and their loved ones can be confused by the difference between medical and non-medical home care. If you are among those with questions, here is what you should know to make the best decision for you or a loved one.

What is the difference between medical vs non-medical home care?

The short answer: Medical home care is provided by a medically trained professional, such as a registered nurse; non-medical home care, on the other hand, refers to support and services at home that do not require medical skills.

Medical home health care

A doctor will prescribe medical home care to help meet the needs of anyone requiring professional medical assistance at home. Most of the care will be administered by a registered nurse, a certified nurse’s assistant, or a doctor. They will provide medications, injections, pain management, wound dressing, and physical therapy.  

Medical home health care is critical to older adults’ treatment when they prefer to recover in their home. A senior coming home after surgery, for instance, will need the assistance of a medical health care professional to recoup in their residence. Some of the professional services they may require include:

  • Physical therapy to enhance mobility and help regain strength
  • Occupational therapy to improve daily living activities
  • Supervising medication dosages and dietary restrictions
  • Drug therapy such as IV treatments
  • Cleaning and dressing wounds
  • Catheter care

Family members might not be aware of many of these medical procedures, making medical care so essential to a patient’s healing process.

Non-medical home care

When people, such as older adults, can no longer sustain their lifestyle independently, non-medical home care can assist with their daily routine. For example, a 90-year-old woman whose physical or cognitive condition prevents her from shopping for food, preparing meals, and doing light housekeeping is a typical candidate for non-medical home health care.

Many elderly individuals struggle to get out of bed, bathe, dress, and use the bathroom without help. A non-medical caregiver trained to provide this type of support can help them accomplish these tasks at home. They might help their client with physical and occupational therapies that a professional therapist recommended and set up previously. They can also provide transportation to the grocery store, a doctor’s appointment, or an exercise class.

Family members turn to non-medical home care when they cannot provide constant care for their loved one because of work demands, caring for children, or other responsibilities. The care provider works with the family to develop a plan that meets their client and the family’s needs.

A combination of both types of health care is often appropriate

Though there is a difference between medical vs non-medical home care, many families often choose to use both. In the case of an older adult who has been discharged after surgery, a non-medical home health care worker can provide help with dressing, meals, light housekeeping, and toileting. The medical professional would administer medications and provides rehabilitative support. The combination of both types of care is usually alternated to meet the client’s needs.

Knowledge is power

When you and your loved one know the difference between medical and non-medical home care, you can make informed choices. Even more important, you are protecting your loved one from injuries and complications in their home.  

Families overwhelmed with their responsibilities rely on these invaluable home care services to help them attend to aging loved ones. The flexibility of home care makes it available for a few days or indefinitely.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff