How to Pick the Right Home Health Care Agency (Part 1:Difference Between Personal Care and Skilled Services)

How to Pick the Right Home Health Care Agency

Part 1: What's the Difference Between Personal Care and Skilled Services?


Finding the right home care agency can seem like a daunting task. As soon as you type “home care” into a search engine a massive list of agencies and suggestions appears. As you scroll through the listings, you become more and more frustrated. It’s all confusing! It’s filled with lingo that’s not consistent and services you’ve never heard of. 

In this article, we will discuss the first step to determine what home care agency is right for you. This step is simple once it’s broken down. 

Choosing the Right Home Health Care Agency Part 1


Do you need someone to help with medical needs? Have you recently been discharged out of the hospital? Does your doctor want your vital signs or an injury/wound monitored? Are you needing rehabilitation or therapy?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you probably need an agency that offers skilled services. 

But what if you didn’t answer yes to the questions?

Well, do you need someone to drive you places or deliver you things? Are you having trouble with memory loss ? Do you struggle with proper hygiene or light house chores?

If you answered yes to one of those questions or have a similar need, you should searching for personal care services. 


If you’re still confused, an easy way to look at it is: 

  • If you need services that you would associate with having to go to a doctor’s or other office to get, then you need a skilled service agency. 
  • If you have non-medical needs that are caused by disability, old age, or certain lifestyles, then you’re looking for personal care services.


Health Fact 33

How to Search Online for Skilled Services:

When looking for agencies that have skilled services, try typing one of these phrases into Google:

  • Home Health Care
  • Home Health 
  • Home Therapy
  • Skilled Nursing
  • Home Wound Care
  • Medication Adherence
  • Pain Management 
  • Therapy services
  • Medical Social Work
  • Skilled Therapy
  • Diabetes Management

Once you find an agency that offers skilled nursing or therapy services, make sure they offer the specific service you need. Most agencies, only offer certain types of services so it’s a good idea to check before calling. 

Most of the time, your doctor will have a list of agencies that they recommend based on your needs and people they trust. Before you talk to a home health care agency, you will need a doctor’s order or referral before having your 1st home visit. 

If you think you might need skilled home health care and don’t have a doctor’s order, then you should schedule an appointment to talk with them and discuss options and why you think you qualify. 

How to Search Online for Personal Care Services: 

Phrases you can type into the search engine to get results in your area are:

  • Home Health Aide
  • Home Care
  • Personal Care
  • Custodial Care 
  • Home Assistance
  • Care Transition 

Unlike home health care, personal care services do not need a doctor’s referral, and if they offer the type of service you need then you can contact them immediately to find out what their plans and options are. 


No matter what agency you choose, it is important to pick one that has the right qualifications and services you need. If you are unsure what an agency offers, speak with your doctor or call the agency to find out. 

Once you have found two or three that offer the services you need and looks good, then you already half way to finding the right home care agency for you. 


Thanks for reading!

If you liked this blog, please give it a like or share it on social media, and don't forget to come back next week when we release Part 2!