Different Types of Home Care9 minute read

9 minute read


Updated for August, 2019

For some seniors, living independently requires a little extra help. These older adults may benefit from one or more types of home care. As the name suggests, home care is when a personal caregiver or medical professional comes directly to the patient’s home to provide service. Home care can range from high specialized care like a neurologist’s visit, to generalized care like companionship or housekeeping. Whatever you need to live alone with confidence, there is a home care professional to help. 

Home care is usually divided into three categories: non-medical personal care, private duty nursing care, and home health care. Here’s a breakdown of what each category entails. 

Some of the links on this page may link to our affiliates. Learn more about our ad policies.

Home health care may be helpful for seniors who have lived through a significant medical event but still need discernible care to return to their normal levels of self-sufficiency.

Home Health Care

Home health care is similar to nursing care, although it tends to focus on patients with short-term health problems like an illness or injury. In addition to nurses, home health care professionals can include physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, speech pathologists, and physicians. The goal of home health care is to help patients return to living independently.


Home health care must be prescribed by a doctor. Typically, a physician orders home health care to help a patient recover from a major health event like a stroke or heart attack. Once ordered, the physician and other medical team members will work to develop a plan of care. The health professionals will each visit the patient at home to assist with their part of the medical care. For example, if a senior has a stroke, they will likely need several different types of medical care, from a speech therapist to a physical therapist to a neurologist. Home health services are most often used to continue care after a patient is discharged from the hospital.

Home health care may be helpful for seniors who have lived through a significant medical event but still need discernible care to return to their normal levels of self-sufficiency. It can also be beneficial if the senior is not yet able to drive after their medical event or needs help coordinating care from a large team of medical professionals.


The cost of home health care can be high, but luckily, much of the expense is covered by private health insurance or Medicare. However, in order to receive coverage, a doctor must determine that the patient needs home health care. Insurers may also require that the home health agency meets certain standards in order to qualify.

Finding a Home Health Care Agency

Once your doctor has ordered home health care as part of your recovery, you can begin the search for the right team. Here are a few considerations for choosing a home health care agency.

Make sure the agency qualifies for Medicare or is covered by your private insurance. You may ask your hospital healthcare team to recommend an agency before you’re discharged. You can also use online reviews as a guide to see if you company has positive reviews from previous patients. If you will need a personal caregiver to help with daily tasks in addition to your medical providers, make sure your agency also offers them.

Seniors who value their independence can benefit greatly from home care. Personal caregivers can assist seniors who need help with daily tasks like cooking, laundry, and bathing. In-home nurses can help older adults with chronic conditions to manage their health issues. Lastly, seniors recovering from a serious illness or hospital stay can use a home health care team to expedite their return to self-sufficiency. Whatever your specific needs, you’ll likely be able to find a solution in the growing field of home care.