What is Home Care

What is Home Care
Dawn Allcot, 9/25/2015
Are you thinking of hiring a Caregiver also known as a Home Health Aide to assist you in your duties of caring for a senior family member or friend? Seventy percent of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care, according to the CDC.

It is not just the elderly who rely on home care. Across the United States, 12 million people currently receive care from more than 33,000 senior care and home care agencies – those Caregivers drive more than 4.8 billion miles each year to reach homebound seniors and others in need of care.

Learn the questions home care agencies don't want you to ask

Defining Home Care


Home care is a $75 billion dollar a year industry, employing more than 1.5 million people. Home care workers range from companion caregivers all the way to skilled nurses and occupational therapists. In-home caregivers focus on assisting their clients with their activities of daily living (ADL's) such as going to the bathroom or maneuvering around the house. Caregivers can also provide companionship, transportation to doctor's appointments, and light housekeeping.

Top questions about paying for home care

The home care industry also includes hospice care, which involves palliative care for those who are in their last days or weeks of life. Hospice staff have a very important job as they serve not just their patient but also the family by providing emotional support during a difficult time.



What type of Caregiver do you need?


If you are looking into hiring a caregiver, it is important to note the difference between home health care, nursing care, and Caregivers who provide non-medical services. For a moderate wage, you can find a Caregiver to provide housekeeping services including meal preparation, companionship, and assistance with ADLs. Medical professionals cost more because they provide additional medical care.

Let’s examine some specific Caregiver duties, what Caregivers are not permitted to do, and the certifications that may come with home health care titles to help you select the right professional based on your loved one’s needs.

Permitted Home Care Services


It is important to understand the services a Caregiver provides versus the tasks they are not legally permitted nor able to perform. A Caregiver can:

  • Help your loved one with bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene;
  • Assist your loved one with mobility;
  • Perform light housekeeping and laundry;
  • Prepare meals;
  • Run errands and take the person to physician’s appointments ; and
  • Provide companionship, conversation, and social activities.


Sometimes, a person requires more care than a Caregiver can provide. In those cases, it makes sense to hire someone with certificaitons or credentials. A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is trained to perform services in addition to ADL support.

A CNA can:

  • Take and record vital signs;
  • Assist with certain medical equipment, including oxygen, walkers and wheelchairs;
  • Remind someone to take medications, but not administer medication;
  • Feed some one who can sit upright and swallow, but cannot feed themselves; and
  • Change ostomy or catheter bags.


A CNA cannot treat cuts or wounds, give injections, administer medication, or change catheters. If these services are required, a Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN) may be required, depending on the person’s needs. A separate specialist may visit the home for these services.

However, because of their medical knowledge, a CNA can play a valuable role in monitoring patients for any changes in their condition. Additionally, a CNA can, and typically does, perform all the tasks another Caregiver would perform, including housekeeping, errands, and assisting with ADLs.

Families sometimes hire more than one Caregiver – a full-time Caregiver may assist with ADLs, while a healthcare professional, such as a CNA, LPN, RN or physical therapist may visit the home daily or weekly to assist with additional tasks.

Choosing a Caregiver

As you can see, a Caregiver is virtually anyone who offers care, assistance, and companionship to someone in the home. A Caregiver does not require any specific advanced education or certifications, which means it is important to conduct research and vet candidates.

How HomeCare.com Can Help

At HomeCare.com, we alleviate the burden of vetting potential Caregivers. The Caregivers, CNAs, LPNs, and RNs on our network have undergone a rigorous credentialing process, which includes a thorough background screening and reference checks as well as our Quality Assurance rating. Our Care Advisors help families assess the care needs of their loved ones and we help interview and match the right Care Provider based on their requirements.

Caregivers often become an extension of families. The chosen candidate will likely spend a lot of time with your loved one. There’s no need to worry. Let HomeCare.com help you find the right Caregiver, at the right time, based on your needs.
Dawn Allcot

Dawn Allcot

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and social media specialist who excels in getting businesses noticed online through informative, accessible content marketing. With more than 20 years editorial experience, she’s written and published thousands of articles on topics that include parenting, personal finance, technology, health, business, and senior care.