How to Pick the Right Home Health Care - Part 2

Home Health Agencies vs Private Duty Nursing

Pick the Right Home Health Care Agency - Private Duty Nurses vs Home Health Care Nurses 

Pick the Right Home Health Care Agency - Private Duty Nurses vs Home Health Care Nurses 

If you need home health care, there are 2 main types of agencies: home health care agencies and private duty nursing agencies. While they both provide home health care, the length of the visits, skills offered, and types of patients is different. 

If you are unsure if you need skilled services or home aide, please refer to our previous article -


So what’s the difference?


Home Health Care Nurses

Home health care nurses help a patient recover from an illness or injury. Their goal is to help a patient recover so that the patient can become independent again. 

These nurses provide temporary care to patients who have trouble leaving their home. Their services include teaching preventive steps for the future, educating them on their medical equipment/bandages, and monitoring a patient’s recovery. 

Skilled nursing is intermittent care; it is normal for a nurse to be at the home for a couple of hours every week (sometimes more depending on the extent of the wound/illness) until the patient is stable or recovered. 

A type of patient that would need home health care is someone with a chronic wound. They should expect the nurse to teach them how to change the dressing when they aren’t there, educate them on preventative measures in the future, and give them medication as needed. Over time, the wound heals and the nurse is no longer needed at all. 

Private Duty Nurses

Private duty nurses’ goal is to monitor patients and assist with medical needs in their daily life. Patients that require private duty nursing have medical needs that require continuous medical support. 

Private duty nurses work in shifts with other nurses to provide 24-hour care or care when caregivers aren’t around. These nurses work with a single patient, and are often needed for long term/life care.

A person on a ventilator at home is a normal type of patient for private duty nurses. Due to the amount of skill and knowledge needed to maintain medical equipment and monitor the patient, a full time nurse is needed. The patient could expect a nurse to help them with mobility, change feeding tubes, and monitor vital signs. 

Private duty nursing is not private duty care. Private duty nursing is a type of skilled nursing service for people who need medical help that needs to be monitored by a licensed professional. Private duty care is another term for home care aide (services not performed by a nurse but a worker to help with mobility, hygiene, and house work).


Which Type of Nurse Do I Need?


If you need someone with medical expertise to be around at all times, you need private duty nurses.

Home health nurses care for patients that have a sickness or illness, but don’t require a full time nurse to help them.


How Do I Find A Nurse?


Home Health Care Nurses

  • Ask your doctor for a recommendation
  • Search for home health care agencies in your area
  • Search for skilled nursing agencies in your area

Private Duty Nurses

  • Ask your doctor for a recommendation
  • Search for private duty nursing agencies in your area
  • Search for home health care agencies in you area


Insurance Concerns


Private Insurance

Private insurances have different plans so you will need to get in contact with an insurance representative to see what your policy covers. When searching for a nurse, you will need to check to make sure you are in network, and what you will be expected to pay based on your plan of care. 


Medicare will cover home health care if you meet certain qualification:

  • If you have a doctor’s order 
  • You have trouble leaving you home
  • You need part time nursing/therapy services
  • The agency you use is Medicare certified
  • To find out more of what Medicare will cover, check out our article on Medicare here -

Medicare will not cover private duty nursing since the amount of time a nurse works is considered full time and most patients need long term care. 


Medicaid will cover home health care as long as you meet the state requirements. 

Medicaid can cover Private Duty Nursing or long term care if you meet certain criteria:

  • You meet your state’s functional eligibility requirements for home and community-based services
  • Your income and assets fall below their guidelines
  • Each state has different level-of-care standards and income levels so you will have to see your states requirements


Now that you know what type of agency to contact, come back next week when we look at 7 important questions you should ask! 

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