The Difference Between Home Health Care and
Private Duty Home Care
What's the Difference Between Home Health and Private Duty?
If you or your loved one need a little extra help around the house, you're probably wondering about the differences between home health care and private duty care and which one might be better for you or your loved one. Here's what you need to know about home health and private duty.
What Is Home Health Care?
Home health care is skilled medical care provided in the home by a medical professional such as a nurse, physical therapist, or occupational therapist. Doctors must prescribe home health care, usually after an injury or illness, to help a patient recover. Many conditions must be met for a patient to qualify for home health care, including being homebound and requiring skilled medical care at least intermittently.
Home health care typically lasts 30 to 60 days to help somebody recover well enough to care for themselves again. However, it usually is not a long-term solution for chronic health conditions.
Examples of Home Health Care Services
Some examples of home health care services include:
- Wound care
- Intravenous or nutrition therapy
- Monitoring unstable health or a serious illness
- Patient or caregiver education
What Can I Expect from Home Health Care?
Typically, home health care involves intermittent visits from a medical professional for specific services that require skilled care. Home health care usually lasts no longer than 60 days.
What is Private Duty Home Care?
Private duty home care generally refers to nonskilled help to keep seniors at home longer, although skilled help may also be available through some home care services. Visits may be as infrequent as a few hours per week or as much as 24 hours a day. Private duty home care assists with activities of daily living (ADLs), companionship, light housekeeping, transportation, and more.
Examples of Private Duty Care Services
A few examples of private duty care services include:
- Assistance with bathing, toileting, dressing, walking, feeding, and more
- Light housekeeping
- Planning and preparing meals
- Transportation to appointments or shopping
- Medication reminders
- Specialized care for Alzheimer's, dementia, hospice, or other comfort needs
Don't underestimate the importance of companionship when deciding how to help you or your loved one stay at home rather than moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home for care. According to Anthony D Ong, Bert N Uchino, and Elaine Wethington (1):
"Increasing evidence suggests that perceived social isolation or loneliness is a major risk factor for physical and mental illness in later life."
What Can I Expect from Private Duty Care?
Here are some things you can expect from private duty care:
- Personalized service
- Proper nutrition
- Assistance with activities of daily living
- Medication reminders
Are you or your loved one taking all your medication on time every day? According to Ashley Kirzinger, Tricia Neuman, Juliette Cubanski, and Mollyann Brodie (2):
"Nearly nine in ten (89%) adults 65 and older report they are currently taking any prescription medicine…More than half of adults 65 and older (54%) report taking four or more prescription drugs…."
Private Duty Care Vs Home Health Care - What's the Difference?
Private duty care is customizable, non-skilled care in the home. You can get help as few or as many hours as you need, for as long as you need the help. Home health care is skilled care offered for a limited time under strict requirements. You may get one or the other or both, depending on the needs of you or your loved one.
Benefits of Private Duty Vs Home Care
Private duty care has many benefits versus home care, including:
- Choose the level and frequency of care needed
- Service continues as long as you need it
- Help seniors age in place better
- The doctor isn't required to order services
- More consistent care
Who Pays for Private Duty Nursing?
Some long-term care insurance plans will pay for private duty care. Usually, people who need the services (or their caregivers) pay for private duty care themselves.
How Much Does Private Duty Care Cost?
The costs of private duty care vary widely depending on where you live and how much care you need. In many cases, private duty care is less expensive than a nursing home. To give you a general idea of the current cost of care around the United States (3):
- The national monthly median cost for 44 hours a week for a home health aide is $4,576, while the national monthly median cost for a private room in a nursing home is $8,821.
- The monthly median cost for 20 hours a week for a home health aide in Louisiana is $1,473, while the monthly median cost of an assisted living facility is $3,639.
- The monthly median cost for 40 hours a week for a home health aide in California is $5,026, while the monthly median cost of an assisted living facility is $5,000.
- The monthly median cost for 56 hours a week for a home health aide in Hawaii is $7,280, while the monthly median cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is $12,015
- The monthly median cost for 80 hours a week for a home health aide in Colorado is $9,707, while the monthly median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $9,733.
The national monthly median cost for 44 hours a week for a home health aide is $4,576, while the national monthly median cost for a private room in a nursing home is $8,821.
Finding a Private Duty Care Provider
It may seem intimidating to find the right private duty care provider for you or your loved ones. Here are some questions you can ask to help guide your decision (4):
- What type of employee screening do you do?
- Do your aides each have at least two references?
- Will I receive a written care plan before services start?
- What procedures do you have in place for emergencies?
- How are problems addressed and resolved?
- Are the caregivers licensed, insured, and accredited?
If you need help finding the best private duty care provider for you, contact us today. We'll help you find the exact services and care you or your loved one need to age in place and avoid going to an assisted living facility or nursing home.
- Anthony D Ong, Bert N Uchino, and Elaine Wethington, Loneliness and Health in Older Adults: A Mini-Review and Synthesis, PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26539997/
- Ashley Kirzinger, Tricia Neuman, Juliette Cubanski, and Mollyann Brodie, Data Note: Prescription Drugs and Older Adults, KFF, https://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/data-note-prescription-drugs-and-older-adults/
- Cost of Care Survey, Genworth, https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html
- Home Care Services: Questions to Ask, Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/home-care-services/art-20044609