Home Care vs. Personal Care - What Is the Difference?

Home care vs. personal care - This article explores the differences between these two types of aged care services, helping you figure out what services you need.

Haisey Home Care
September 11, 2023
x min read

When it comes to helping elderly people who need support, there are two terms we often hear: "home care" and "personal care." These two terms might sound similar, but they refer to different types of aged care services for older Australians.

In this "Home care vs. personal care" article, we'll talk about the most important differences between these two types of aged care services so you can be better familiarised with aged care services in general and decide which services would best suit your needs.

Home Care vs. Personal Care

Home care and personal care are similar terms that apply to aged care support services for older adults.

Home care is a broader term that includes a range of services provided to individuals in their homes. It includes both medical and non-medical support designed to help elderly people maintain their independence and quality of life while staying in their own homes.

On the other hand, personal care only applies to those services associated with personal hygiene and grooming needs.

Both home care and personal care aim to improve the overall well-being and quality of life of individuals who want to remain at home and not move to a nursing facility.

Home Care Services

Home care can be divided into two main categories:

  • Medical home care: This involves medical services provided by trained healthcare professionals, such as registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Medical home care services might include wound care, medication administration, IV therapy, monitoring chronic conditions, pain management, and post-surgery recovery.
  • Non-medical home care: This type of home care involves non-medical assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). Non-medical home care services are typically provided by caregivers or home care aides and may include assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation, household duties, grocery shopping, and companion care.

Personal Care

Personal care is a type of non-medical home care that specifically focuses on helping individuals with their personal hygiene and grooming needs.

Personal care services are designed to support individuals who may have difficulty performing these tasks independently due to age, illness, disability, or other factors.

Personal care services can include:

  1. Bathing and showering assistance
  2. Dressing and grooming assistance
  3. Brushing teeth
  4. Toileting and incontinence care
  5. Mobility assistance
  6. Skin and hair care

These services can be provided by home care aides, also known as personal care aides.

What Is a Home Care Aide?

A home care aide or a personal care aide is a professional caregiver that provides essential assistance to those who need support with daily tasks and personal care.

Personal care aides typically cater to:

  • Older adults
  • Those recovering from medical procedures
  • Individuals with disabilities that prevent them from completing everyday tasks

In addition to helping with everyday tasks, personal care aides offer companionship and make sure that their clients are safe and comfortable at all times. Home care aides play a crucial role in improving the quality of life for those who need assistance but want to continue living comfortably and independently at home.

Home care aides can also provide other types of support. While they don't typically administer medication, home care aides can provide reminders for clients to take their medications as prescribed.

Some home care aides may help clients with transportation to medical appointments, social outings, or errands, helping them stay engaged in the community.

They may also communicate with family members, providing updates on the client's well-being and discussing any changes in their condition or needs.

What Is a Home Health Aide?

A home health aide is a trained professional who provides comprehensive care and support to individuals in their homes, particularly those who require both personal assistance and basic medical services.

The primary objective of home health aides is to ensure the well-being and comfort of clients who may be recovering from medical conditions, managing chronic illnesses, or dealing with age-related challenges.

Home health aides possess a skill set that extends beyond that of a personal care aide. Apart from assisting with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and meal prep, they are trained to perform certain medical tasks under the supervision of licensed healthcare professionals, such as registered nurses or licensed practical nurses.

These medical tasks include monitoring vital signs, administering medication, providing wound care, and assisting with prescribed exercises or therapies.

The role of these licensed medical professionals is integral in bridging the gap between medical and personal care needs. By delivering a combination of medical assistance and personal support, they contribute to the overall health and well-being of clients within the comfort of their own homes.

This dynamic role not only aids in physical recovery but also promotes emotional and psychological comfort for individuals who may prefer to receive care in a familiar environment.

Home Care Aide vs. Home Health Aide

Although these two terms might sound familiar, they can apply to two very different roles in the healthcare system.

They differ in the following aspects:

  • Role
  • Responsibilities
  • Training
  • Medical skills
  • Settings

A home care aide (also known as a personal care aide or caregiver) provides non-medical assistance to those who need help with daily activities but do not require medical care. On the other hand, home healthcare services include both personal care and basic healthcare services to clients who require medical attention in addition to assistance with daily tasks.

In terms of responsibilities, home care aides assist with personal care tasks such as:

  1. Bathing
  2. Dressing
  3. Grooming
  4. Meal preparation
  5. Light housekeeping
  6. Medication reminders
  7. Transportation to appointments
  8. Companion care

In addition to tasks performed by home care aides, home health aides may also be trained to perform basic medical tasks under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN).

As opposed to home care aides, home health aides usually require formal training, which includes learning about basic medical procedures, safety protocols, and medical knowledge.

When it comes to medical skills, home health aides have a broader scope of responsibilities compared to home care aides, as they're trained to provide certain medical services alongside personal care assistance.

Finally, home care aides often work in a client's home or a residential care setting, while home health aides often work with clients recovering from illnesses, injuries, or surgeries. They may work in the client's home, a skilled nursing facility, or hospice care settings.

Understanding Home Health Aides vs. Personal Care Aides

It's important to know the difference between home health aides and home care aides (or personal care aides) to figure out what type of services you need.

If you or your elderly loved one need specialised aged care services, Haisey Home Care is here for you. We're a dedicated home care provider, and we offer a wide range of both home care and home health services for our elderly clients.

If you want to know more about our services or if you would like to book a free in-home consultation, don't hesitate to reach out to us