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Home Health vs. Personal Care

Home Health vs. Personal Care

After an illness, injury, or surgery, you may find yourself needing some extra help. It’s important to talk to your doctor about what to expect during recovery when deciding whether you need a home health agency or personal care.

Home health is different than personal caregiving. Home health nurses are trained medical professionals who can provide high-level skilled care. Personal caregivers can help with lower-level tasks like errands or housework. After an illness, injury, or surgery, home health can assist you with getting back to your highest level of functioning. Personal caregivers can assist you with tasks you aren’t able to do while sick or recovering.

Home health is made up of skilled medical professionals. For most insurances, including Medicare, to pay for home health, you’ll need a physician’s order and will need to meet specific medical requirements. Your home health team may include nurses, nursing assistants, physical and occupational therapists, case managers, and more. The team will work together on a care plan with a goal to return you to the activities you enjoyed prior to your illness, surgery, or injury. Home health is great for people recovering from knee or hip replacements, after cardiac surgery, or those who need IV antibiotics or medication management.

Personal caregiving is not skilled medical care. You do not need a doctor’s order for a personal caregiver, and insurance typically does not pay for personal caregiving. A personal caregiver cannot provide medical care, but they can help you with personal grooming, cooking meals, doing housework, or running errands. A personal caregiver is a great option for someone who does not need medical care or medication management, and just needs a little extra help performing daily tasks.

Mary Washington Home Health has served the Fredericksburg region for more than 40 years and is committed to helping you on your road to recovery. Please visit us at or talk to your doctor to learn more.