Health Library

Health Library

Home Health Care Overview

Picture of elderly woman and younger woman holding hands

What is home health care?

Before modern medicine, caring for someone medically in the home was quite common, and hospitalization was rare. Today, with a growing trend toward reduced hospital stays, home health care is gaining in popularity. While caregivers of the past were generally family members or friends, home health care today usually consists of a professional health care team working toward a common goal.

Today home health care may be considered for patients who are:

  • Recovering from an illness

  • Undergoing treatment

  • Disabled

  • Chronically ill

  • Terminally ill

Home health care is not an option for everyone. Generally, the patient receiving care or treatment at home must be well enough to be cared for in the home setting.

Types of home health care services

Many types of medical and social home health care services are available and may include:

  • Doctor care

  • Nursing care

  • Physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy

  • Medical social services

  • Care from home health aides

  • Homemaker or attendant care

  • Companionship

  • Volunteer care

  • Nutritional support

  • Medical equipment and supplies

  • Laboratory and X-ray imaging

  • Pharmaceutical services

  • Transportation

  • Home-delivered meals

A patient may receive one of these services or a combination of several services.

Who provides home health care services?

Various agencies and other companies provide home health care, including:

  • Home health agencies

  • Homemaker and home care aide agencies

  • Pharmaceutical and infusion therapy companies

  • Durable medical equipment and supply dealers

  • Staffing registries and private duty agencies

  • Independent providers

Home Health Care Overview - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
© 2014 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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