“Home care”, “home health care” and “in-home care” are phrases that are used interchangeably in the United States to mean any type of care given to a person in their own home.
Home care aims to make it possible for people to remain at home rather than use residential, long-term, or institutional-based nursing care. Home care providers render services in the client’s own home. These services may include some combination of professional health care services and life assistance services. Professional home health services could include medical or psychological assessment, wound care, medication teaching, pain management, disease education and management, physical therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy. Life assistance services include help with daily tasks such as meal preparation, medication reminders, laundry, light housekeeping, errands, shopping, transportation, and companionship.
Activities of daily living (ADL) refers to six activities: (bathing, dressing, transferring, using the toilet, eating, and walking) that reflect the patient’s capacity for self-care.
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) refers to six daily tasks: (light housework, preparing meals, taking medications, shopping for groceries or clothes, using the telephone, and managing money) that enables the patient to live independently in the community.
While there are differences in terms used in describing aspects of home care or home health care in the United States and other areas of the world, for the most part the descriptions are very similar.
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.