Learn the difference between home health and home care services.

People often think home healthcare and home care are the same. While they are both delivered in the home, there are clear differences between the two. Knowing this difference can help you decide which type of care is right for you or your loved one.


What is home healthcare?

Home healthcare, also called home health, is skilled care provided by clinicians, like nurses or therapists, to help a patient manage their chronic condition or recover from injury, illness, surgery or hospitalization—especially if leaving home is difficult. Some patients begin home health services after being diagnosed with a serious or chronic medical condition. Patients may also qualify if their existing condition is worsening or becoming more challenging to manage. Most often though, healthcare providers refer patients to home health after a recent stay in a hospital, rehab center or skilled nursing facility. Home health services may include:

  • Nursing care
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Medical social work
  • Intravenous and nutritional support
  • Wound care
  • Patient and caregiver education

The home health team works with your healthcare provider to create a comprehensive plan of care. It explains what clinical services and therapies you will get to help you reach your health goals. The team will keep your healthcare provider and family informed on how you’re doing. They will also update your plan of care according to your healthcare provider’s direction.1 Home health is short-term and meant to help you recover and regain independence, so you can get back to living your life.

A patient must receive a referral to qualify for home health. Home health is usually less expensive, more convenient and just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.2


What is home care?

Home care, or in-home care, services are non-medical and primarily help seniors with activities of daily living and personal care. The goal is to keep patients safe and comfortable in their homes. Patients with chronic illnesses, disability or who are recovering from surgery often use home care. Services are typically provided by a home health aide and may include:

  • Personal grooming, like bathing or dressing
  • Medication reminders
  • Help with moving around, getting in and out of bed or the shower
  • Preparing meals
  • Light housekeeping like dishes, vacuuming and laundry
  • Companionship
  • Transportation

Home care is sometimes called personal care, community care, companion care, custodial care or homemaker services. Home care is provided in the home and can help patients around-the-clock, depending on budget and needs. Many patients pay for home care out of pocket. Home care may be needed for patients who don’t have caregivers or family members to provide daily support

Have questions about care?

Click here to connect with one of our nurses and learn more about the home health services offered by CenterWell Home Health. They are available 24/7 to help you determine if home health is right for you.


  1. “Medicare and Home Health Care,” U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, accessed Feb. 10, 2023, cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/HomeHealthQualityInits/Downloads/HHQIHHBenefits.pdf.
  2. “What’s home health care,” U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, last accessed Feb. 10, 2023, https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/whats-home-health-care