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The Differences Between Medical and Non-Medical Senior Home Care

NOVATO, CA - FEBRUARY 10:  Registered nurse Jo...


For those starting to seek senior home care, the differences between medical and non medical home care may seem confusing at first. Which services fall under which category? Which specific home care services do I need? How do I choose what I need? This article hopes to clear up some of that confusion and give you a better idea about the differences between these different home care services.

A Doctor's Orders

The main difference between medical and non-medical home care is that one is voluntary while the other is mandatory. In other words, the only way to properly gain medical senior home care is if it is ordered by a doctor. If your doctor declares you need medical home care, then you can get it from licensed professionals.

Once again, you can only gain this type of treatment under a doctor's orders, so before you seek out medical home care services, be sure you have been allowed to do so.

Non-medical home care, on the other hand, covers less pressing concerns, things such as companionship and other home care services that serve to assist in activities of everyday living, or ADLs.

The Costs of Medical and Non-Medical Home Care Services

Non-medical senior home care is often cheaper because those in the field are not authorized to do the sort of medical work asked of their medical counterparts. They are not allowed to administer medication or provided skilled care in the way that a nurse, certified nursing assistant, or specialized therapist can. The closest thing they can do is provide reminders to take medication or assist in reading labels and opening containers or other types of companion care; they are not, however, allowed to administer it themselves.

What Home Care Services Will Medicare Cover?

Your most important question here may be whether or not your insurance or Medicare can cover either form of senior home care. Medicare can cover medical senior home care but will not cover non-medical in home care unless this home care service is needed in addition to medical care. Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans Benefits will also cover medical home care. In certain cases, Medigap will cover non-medical in home care. It will often cover medical home care services.

The key thing to remember is that you can only seek medical senior home care if ordered by a doctor. Also, while non-medical home care can offer help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as shopping, cleaning, and transportation, they can not administer medication or offer any type of medical care.

Lastly, Medicare's financial assistance can help pay for medical senior home care services but will not help with non-medical home care unless it is needed in addition to medical care.

Please let us know if you have any other questions about this issue! Would you like to know more about the differences between the two? Do you have personal experience with the difference between the two home care services and want to share more on the topic? If so, please leave a comment below.