The Difference Between Home Care and Home Health Care

Elderly Couple Embracing while Sitting on a Sofa

When an older relative needs some assistance at home, the words “home care” or “home health” suddenly become relevant. While both terms sound similar, there is a stark difference between the two services. If you want to give your loved one the best kind of assistance, you need to distinguish one from the other. This guide should give you an idea of what home health in Denver is and how it is different from home care services.

What is Home Care?

Home care provides compassion and assistance for seniors who are having trouble accomplishing their daily activities. Levels of care vary by need and can span from weekly meal prep to incontinence help. Professionals working as home care aides can be hired privately, or they can be contracted through agencies. What makes home care aides different from a family member that acts as a caregiver is that they are trained to understand the nuances of senior care. However, they are not licensed to provide any medical services. Some of the activities home care aides can help with are:

  • Transportation to appointments
  • Cleaning and organizing
  • Help writing checks or managing finances
  • Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) like bathing or dressing
  • Companionship
  • Meal preparation or delivery
  • Medication schedule management and reminders

Who Needs Home Care?

Home care is designed for a wide variety of seniors aging in place. If you have an older relative who needs more social interaction and companionship, so they don’t feel alone and isolated, then a home care aide can be of great help. Some elderly individuals are still quite active at home but can no longer go from place to place outside without supervision. A home care aide can easily help them go to their appointments safely.

What is Home Health Care?

Unlike home care, home health care is clinical and involves medical supervision from a licensed professional. They’re mostly registered and licensed practical nurses, occupational therapists, and physical therapists that are trained and authorized to provide home health care to senior individuals. The responsibilities of a home health care professional include:

  • Medical tests
  • Administration of prescription medications or shots
  • Wound care
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Monitoring of health status and much more

Who Needs Home Health Care?

While a lot of home health care recipients are the elderly, the service itself isn’t exclusive to seniors only. Individuals who require assistance with recent injuries, who are prone to falls, or who have been diagnosed with a chronic condition can all benefit from home health care. If you have a family member that’s been discharged from rehabilitation or has been hospitalized for a long time, then a licensed home health care professional can help them transition back to normalcy through close medical supervision.


Home care and home health care are often mistaken to be the same thing by a lot of people. While there are those who provide a combination of both services, there is still some distinction to them, especially on who is providing the service. It’s important to know that only licensed medical professionals can provide home health care.

Through Gateway Home Health & Hospice, you can work with a team of highly trained and compassionate health care professionals to give you the care you deserve. We provide home health care and specialty programs to serve our community. If you need home health care in Denver and Colorado Springs, CO, feel free to reach out to us.

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