My mom needs in-home caregiver assistance in St. Louis County, does she need “home health care” or “home care”?

My mom needs in-home caregiver assistance in St. Louis County, does she need “home health care” or “home care”?

home care


Is StaffLink a St. Louis “home health care” company or a St. Louis “home care” company?

The home care industry has a lot of terminology that is used interchangeably but really means different things.

To experienced industry professionals the terms home health care and home care mean different things.  St. Louis providers like, StaffLink, understand that the general public uses these terms as an umbrella.

When a family calls our St. Louis office and asks about “home health care” for a senior, we know what questions to ask, to determine if they need home health care or home care.

Home health care is the industry term for home care that is delivered via visits to a client’s home for the SOLE purpose of rehabilitation AND is paid for by Medicare or their health insurance entity.

Via a home health care provider, a recipient will receive visits from a registered nurse (RN), physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT), speech language pathologist (SLP), or a bath aide.  Home health care services will usually last from three (3) to eight (8) weeks.  The patient is required to make “progress” for the services to continue.  The intent is to provide the patient with in-home rehabilitation services for a specified and limited period and NOT with maintenance care for an indefinite period. Maintenance care, custodial care or age-in-place services are home care services.  Industry experts will also call home health care “skilled care” because services are delivered by skilled and licensed professionals.  Registered nurse (RN), physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT), and speech and language pathologist (SLP) are all licensed or skilled professionals.  The only non-licensed service delivered by a home health care agency will be bath assistance, delivered by a home health aide.

Skilled care, from a licensed professional, can be delivered via other home care vehicles like private duty nursing.

Home Care

StaffLink does not deliver home health care services paid for by Medicare.

When a home care business calls itself ABC Home Health Care, but does not deliver home health care rehab visits via Medicare or an insurance company, they have used the wrong term to describe their business.  It would have been more accurate to be named ABC Home Care.

Sometimes a business will use the phrase, home health care, knowing it is not the accurate term because they know the general public uses the term as a “catch all” for all in-home assistance.  On the recommendation of our web designer, we use the term on our website in several places.  We know the difference between home health care and home care.

The term home care is a very inclusive term.  It is global, but not specific to any particular type of service.  Some of the terms that are included under home care are home health care, private duty nursing, Consumer Directed Services (CDS), in-home care, personal care services, chore worker services, skilled care, licensed care, non-medical home care, medical home care, custodial care, and MORE.  Most of the services that StaffLink provides are under this broad umbrella of home care.

If a family intends to pay for their in-home services with any type of insurance, terminology is very important.  When talking to the insurance firm or any third- party payer source about what type of home care services might be covered, it is VERY important to pay attention to terminology and description of those services. Insurance companies use the term custodial services to describe home care services.  Take detailed notes and ask clarifying questions about exactly what services are covered. StaffLink’s administrative team encourages our clients to allow us to speak directly with their payer source to flesh out what is or is not covered by their insurance policy.

In summary, StaffLink provides a variety of home care services in the St. Louis region.  We have done so since 1987.  StaffLink offers a variety of ways for a client to pay for their in-home care assistance including private pay, insurance, and several federal and state programs, including Medicaid (not Medicare).  Remember, it is not a big deal to StaffLink what you call our services, we answer to any name and will figure out what home care service best meets your needs during our first chat!

To learn more about how to pay for your services, visit

To learn more about our services visit types of services or please call our office at 314-997-8833.

For more information on Medicaid Services for Seniors in Missouri visit MO Healthnet.


Gretchen Curry, MSPH