What is Home Care? Frequently-Asked Questions

Recently, Maplewood Home Care was asked to present at an event held by Professional Eldercare Network (P.E.N.). We were pleased to discuss the defining characteristics of home care and the different kinds of home care services available to clients and families. We thought it would be helpful to our website readers to offer the same information in Frequently-Asked Question, or FAQ, format. We hope you find this information helpful. As always, if we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is Home Care?

Home care (sometimes referred to as in-home care), is supportive care provided in the home. Care may be provided by licensed healthcare professionals who deliver medical care or by professional caregivers who provide daily care to help to make sure the activities of daily living (ADL's) are met. [1]

What is meant by the term “Home Health Care?”

In home medical care is often and more accurately referred to as home health care. Often, the term home health care is used to distinguish it from non-medical care or private-duty care which is care that is provided by individuals who are not nurses, doctors, or other licensed medical personnel. [1]

Home health care is a wide variety of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care services help adults, seniors, and pediatric clients who are recovering after a hospital or facility stay, or need additional support to remain safely at home and avoid unnecessary hospitalization. These Medicare-certified services may include short-term nursing, rehabilitative, therapeutic, and assistive home health care. [1]

It seems like there is a range of services within the home care umbrella. Where are agencies like Maplewood Home Care positioned within this range?

Maplewood Home Care is a Licensed Home Care Services Agency (or LHCSA). Caregivers help the individual with daily tasks such as bathing, eating, cleaning the home and preparing meals. Caregivers work to support the needs of individuals, and this work helps them stay at home versus a facility. [1]

Through our licensure, which is granted through the New York State Department of Health, Maplewood Home Care is able to provide medical care through Home Health Aides (HHAs) and Nurses in our clients’ homes. In addition, Maplewood Home Care provides non-medical, companion care services. Companion care is offered to clients in need of daily assistance that do not require hands-on care.

What are the primary differences between LHCSAs like Maplewood Home Care and Medicare-certified agencies that offer home health care?

The goal of many LHCSAs, depending on their specific licensure, is to help clients maintain their ability to live safely at home for as long as possible. You can think of this as long-term care in the home. LHCSA clients sometimes pay privately or have private insurance coverage.

The goal of the Medicare-Certified Home Health Care Agency (or CHHA) is to treat an illness or injury. Home health care helps you get better, regain your independence, and become as self-sufficient as possible after a hospital or facility stay. [2] You can think of this as short-term care in the home. This being said, Maplewood Home Care can also provide assistance for those with illness or injury to regain independence and self-sufficiency, at which time they will be discharged.

What are the advantages of home care?

  • Home care improves the quality of life by enabling individuals to stay in the comfort and security of their own homes.
  • Home care maintains the client’s dignity and independence.
  • Home care is at times less expensive than other forms of health care provision.
  • Home care offers a customized plan to meet the needs of every individual on a personal provider-to-client basis.
  • In many cases, home care is the more efficient form of health care.
  • In many cases, home care reduces stress.

The bottom line on home care:

  • Companion Caregivers provide non-medical services that ease the burden of caring at home for an older adult or an adult with a disability.
  • An HHA or Nurse can provide everything from companionship to assistance with daily activities such as transferring, bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication reminders and light housekeeping.
  • LHCSA services are not covered by Medicare. They may, however, be covered by private forms of insurance. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for assistance from the New York State Elder Caregiver Support Program [3] offered by your local Area Agency on Aging.


  1. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_care. Retrieved 03 September 2014.
  2. www.Medicare.gov. http://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/home-health-care/home-health-care-what-is-it-what-to-expect.html.  Retrieved 03 September 2014.
  3. New York State Office for the Aging.  http://www.aging.ny.gov/Caregivers/Index.cfm. Retrieved 03 September 2014.