What is the difference between in-home care and home health care?

Although similar in name, in-home care and home health care are different types of services. In-home care is non-medical care that promotes independent daily living, such as dressing and bathing, assistance with household tasks, and companionship. Home health care is skilled medical care that is provided by medical professionals and requires a written order by a physician.

Is in-home care covered by Medicare, Medi-Cal, and/or private insurance?

No - since in-home care is non-medical, it is not covered by Medicare, Medi-Cal, and most private insurances. However, most comprehensive long-term care policies pay for in-home care if you need assistance with activities of daily living like dressing or household tasks like cooking and light housekeeping.

Can in-home caregivers administer medications or perform wound care?

No, administering medication and performing wound care are considered skilled medical care and cannot be performed by an in-home caregiver.

Can in-home caregivers cook and/or clean?

Yes, an in-home caregiver can be expected to provide light housekeeping services as part of their duties. These services include:

  • Meal planning and cooking
  • Grocery shopping
  • Wiping up the kitchen floors, counters and appliances
  • Wiping up the bathroom sink, tub, and toilet
  • Emptying the kitchen and bathroom trash
  • Sweeping and mopping
  • Making the bed and changing the bed linens
  • Laundry (clothes and linens)
  • Dusting and vacuuming
  • Watering plants

What are some housekeeping services that an in-home caregiver cannot perform?

  • Cleaning the entire house
  • Washing windows or walls
  • Moving furniture
  • Hanging drapes
  • Caring for other family members
  • Cleaning the attic, closets, or cellar
  • Raking leaves, mowing the lawn, or other outdoor chores
  • Banking and financing, including paying bills, filling in checks, accepting signed-over checks, conducting credit transactions of any type, safeguarding valuables, and handling cash in excess of what is needed to cover requested items (such as groceries)