Homemakers assist the elderly and disabled with general housekeeping and daily tasks. Typically, homemakers require no training, and are not allowed to do any personal or medical care.
Home Health Aides
Home health aides and personal care assistants assist patients with activities of daily living. They may help patients with bathing, dressing and feeding. In most states, home health aides must take a training course to become certified.
There are many specialties within home nursing careers. Nurses may visit newborns after they've been discharged from the hospital, follow up on patients who are recovering from surgery or care for the elderly or terminally ill. Nurses who work in the home must meet state requirements for licensing and registration.
Physical, occupational and speech therapy aides work with three basic populations: children under 3 who need special services, patients recovering at home after an injury, illness or stroke, and elderly patients who do not require nursing home care. They generally work under the supervision of a licensed therapist and must be certified.
Licensed therapists provide speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy to many different populations. The most common are special needs children, especially those from birth to 3 years, and patients recovering from surgery, accidents or stroke. They may work directly with patients throughout their care, or meet with patients to develop a care plan which will be carried out by certified therapy aides.
Case managers are an essential part of the home health care delivery system. They work with patients and their families to determine what care each family needs, then coordinate schedules and assignments to ensure that the needed services are delivered.
In-home health care used to be reserved for patients who could afford to pay for private nursing, but that's no longer true. Research by the health insurance industry has found that treating patients in their homes is usually less expensive than a lengthy hospital or nursing home stay. Patients who don't require round-the-clock medical care or supervision often recover faster than patients treated in hospital settings. The cost savings and improved outcomes have made managed home health care an attractive option for both patients and providers, and opened the door to many home health care careers.