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What Is Home Care?

Home care services fall into five general categories, although some home care agencies may offer multiple services and have more than one service provided by the same person from their agency.

  1. Homemaker Services provide home management assistance, such as grocery shopping, light housekeeping, laundry, and changing beds.
  2. Personal Care Services provide assistance with daily routines, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, using the toilet, and getting around.
  3. Meal Services provide meals to seniors either in their own homes ("Meals on Wheels") or in senior centers, churches, synagogues, schools, and other community locations ("Congregate Meal Programs").
  4. Home Health Care Services assist people with health and medical conditions that are being treated at home. Home health aides will assist with basic health care such as taking vital signs (temperature and pulse), changing bandages and dressings, and assisting with medications.
  5. Skilled Health Care Services provide registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists to give skilled nursing care and rehabilitative therapies at home. Medicare will pay for short-term home care when skilled services are needed, usually following surgery or acute care stay in a hospital. For more information, see Insurance and Hospitalization & Discharge.

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