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Professionals providing home health care include licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and social workers. Rehabilitation services may be provided by physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists and dietitians. Professionals can be independent practitioners, part of a larger organization, or part of a franchise.
Home care aides, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), and caregivers are trained to provide non-custodial or non-medical care, such as help with dressing, bathing, getting in and out of bed, and using the toilet. They may also prepare meals, accompany the client to medical visits, grocery shop, provide companionship and do various other errands.
"Home care", "home health care" and "in-home care" are phrases that have been used interchangeably in the United States to mean any type of care - skilled or otherwise - given to a person in their own home. There is, however, a distinction made on a state-by-state basis according to how each state regulates the home care industry. In New York State, for example, "home health care" is used to describe medical services performed at home by a healthcare professional, whereas "home care" describes non-medical, private duty care. Other states do not make the same distinction, but the difference between the two must be accounted for when dealing with Medicare reimbursements.
Home care aims to make it possible for people to remain at home rather than use residential, long-term, or institutional-based nursing care. Home health care providers deliver services in the client's own home. These services may include some combination of professional health care services and life assistance services. Professional home health services may include medical or psychological assessment, wound care, medication teaching, pain management, disease education and management, physical therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy. Home care services include help with daily tasks such as meal preparation, medication reminders, laundry, light housekeeping, errands, shopping, transportation, and companionship. Home care is often an integral component of the post-hospitalization recovery process, especially during the initial weeks after discharge when the patient still requires some level of regular physical assistance.