Understanding Private Duty Care vs. Home Health Care

Updated 5/12/2021

The demand for home care is at an all-time high as more adults age. By 2030, 19.6%, or nearly one in five, Americans will be over the age of 65. By 2034, that number is expected to rise to 23.4%, marking the first time in U.S. history that older adults are projected to outnumber children. Moreover, this wave of seniors wants to remain in their own homes as they grow older and are seeking services that will allow them to do so as long as possible. 

The 2020 COVID pandemic further solidified the preference among seniors for in-home care over other alternatives. Given the newfound awareness around how quickly a virus can spread through a care facility, it’s likely that increasingly more seniors will seek help from a home health care business. 

Private Duty Care Services

Seniors, depending on the level of patient support needed, have available to them private duty care or home health care – each providing different services. Seniors living with disabilities and who need help while recovering from an illness or injury often to turn to private duty home care services for assistance. Private duty care is designed to assist senior adults with their daily lives and activities. This includes bill paying, light housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation services to and from appointments and events, and companionship services. A private duty home caregiver can also provide respite care to relieve family members who care for their loved ones on a regular basis.

The goal of a private duty caregiver is to provide whatever support a senior adult needs to remain independent and safe for as long as possible in his or her own home. The private duty company will assess the needs of both the client and his/her family to make the right match when it comes to the appropriate caregiver and level of care. Most private duty home caregivers have years of experience, training, and, for safety and compliance reasons, have also been vetted using criminal background checks.

Private duty care does not include medical care and is typically not covered by Medicare. Care is typically provided by the private duty company in blocks of time and is paid for by the client or family members or a long-term care insurance policy. With private duty care, there are no eligibility requirements, and clients are free to use the service on a short-term or long-term basis.

Home Health Care Services

Home health care services, on the other hand, are medically driven, prescribed by a patient’s primary care physician (PCP), and involve a variety of caregivers who provide assistance and care to adults and seniors recovering following a hospital or facility stay, or are in need of additional support to remain safely at home and avoid unnecessary hospitalization. Home health care is often covered by Medicare and may include short-term nursing, rehabilitative, therapeutic, and/or assistive home health care. This type of care is provided by registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, home health aides and medical social workers. Medicare will not cover homemaker services including assisting clients with personal shopping or errands, doing laundry or cleaning, or providing companionship when no other care is required.

Common patient issues that may require home health care include congestive heart conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, stroke, recovery from a hip or knee replacement, general muscle weakness, infusion and many other therapies and treatments as deemed necessary by a patient’s PCP that may be best delivered at a patient’s home.

About Manchester Specialty

Manchester Specialty provides total insurance solutions to both private duty care companies and home health care providers. We provide agents and brokers with the ability to offer a totally integrated business insurance solution around the specific needs of Home Care, Allied Health and Human/Social Services organizations fundamental to communities.  Our partner insurance carriers and agents/brokers offer coverage tailored to the needs of the current and emerging care delivery environment.  For more information about our products, please contact us at 855.972.9399.