Home Health Care Services – Types and Expectations

Whether you’re a new mother, have recently had surgery or are heading into your twilight years, you may need some level of home health care. Ranging from simple companionship to skilled nursing, there are solutions out there to meet every need and budget.

Types of Home Health Care

There are several different types of home health care services that vary based on location, level of care required and number of hours of care needed.

* Companion or Homemaker Care – This is relatively low to no-skill and is generally very affordable. Typically the worker would assist with day-to-day activities, such as errands, light housekeeping, watching the patient self-administer medication or set up a pill box (but not actually administer medication), but would not assist with toileting or bathing.
* Nursing Assistants – A certified nursing assistant (or CNA) has had some clinical training and is licensed by the state. They can offer all of the same services as a companion care giver but can also assist with toileting or bathing, feeding and range of motion exercises. A check for safety issues, what the patient is eating and or/drinking, pain levels and vital signs should all be performed at each visit.
* Licensed Practical Nurses or Registered Nurses – Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN’s) or Registered Nurses (RN’s) both are state licensed after attending a college or hospital nursing program and completing extensive clinical training. They can provide a much greater level of care up to wound, tracheotomy, colostomy and IV care. In addition, any self-care techniques that need to be learned should be taught and additional care and communication with health care providers should be coordinated.
* Occupational or Physical Therapists – On some occasions, occupational or physical therapists are also required. Although fewer of these provide home visits than in the past, there are still some available. These are highly trained professionals and are required to be certified by the state.


The costs for home health care services vary based upon skill level of the health care provider. The companion or home care aide is at the lowest end of the scale due to the lack of formal education, training and licensing. CNA’s are slightly more expensive due to the certification requirement and training. LPN’s and RN’s round out the field and tend to be the most expensive of the three. Naturally, occupational and physical therapists are on a whole different level.

Depending on your HMO, some or most of the costs may be covered, although incidentals such as bandages, durable medical equipment, meal replacements and special dietary supplements will not be covered.

For information about quality home care services in the Bethesda, MD or Washington, DC area, whether on a short or long-term basis, visit Capital City Nurses.

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