What is the Difference Between Medical and Non-Medical Homecare?

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Posted Aug 24th, 2021 in Caregiver Support, Homecare

What is the Difference Between Medical and Non-Medical Homecare?

When many people think of “homecare services” they envision a caregiver providing assistance with bathing or getting in and out of a wheelchair. The reality is that homecare services don’t just vary based on the unique needs of the individual, it depends on whether they require medical or non-medical support.

Keep reading to learn about these two different types of homecare and which one may be best for your needs.

Non-Medical Homecare

What is Non-Medical Homecare?

Non-medical homecare consists of caregiving that supports the safety, independence and wellbeing of an individual with the activities of daily living (“ADL”) without attending to specific medical needs.

The most common activities involved in non-medical homecare are:

  • Assistance with dressing and bathing
  • Meal preparation
  • Light housekeeping (such as washing dishes, putting on a load of laundry, tidying the living room or cleaning up the kitchen after a meal)
  • Companionship and recreational activities
  • Medication reminders
  • Accompaniment to appointments or other outings in the community such as grocery shopping

Who Can Provide Non-Medical Homecare?

Non-medical homecare in Ontario is done by caregivers trained as Personal Support Workers (PSWs) or equivalent certifications. While some caregivers do have other medical training or experience, it’s not a requirement and they are limited to providing non-medical support while working as a caregiver.

Note: In addition to the training and experience required to be a caregiver, ActivePro only employs caregivers with first aid training and a clear vulnerable sector and criminal background check.

Who Can Benefit From Non-Medical Homecare?

Homecare is most often associated with senior care. While this is no doubt the most common group to benefit from non-medical homecare, a wide range of individuals at any stage of life can benefit from the support of a caregiver.

People that can benefit from non-medical homecare include:
  • Older adults
  • New mothers
  • Persons with disabilities or chronic diseases
  • Individuals receiving cancer treatment
  • People recovering from surgery

As you may have noticed from the list above, homecare isn’t always a long-term endeavor. We love the relationships that come from our long-term clients, but homecare can be just as beneficial on a short-term basis, too.

Some examples of when someone may benefit from non-medical homecare on a short-term basis include support for new mothers after birth or when a partner returns to work, individuals recovering from surgery or injury who don’t require support with medical care, cancer patients who need extra support while dealing with the side-effects of active treatment and respite care for an individual when their family needs to go out of town.

Whether you’re looking for a caregiver for a long weekend of respite care or to support your family for years, ActivePro can help meet your family’s needs.

Medical Homecare

What is Medical Homecare?

Medical homecare, which you may also know as home healthcare or home nursing, is when certified nursing professionals (either RPNs or RNs, depending on the needs) provide direct medical care in an individual’s home.

Home nurses can provide a range of medical care including:
  • Changing wound dressings
  • Administering medications and therapies via IV
  • Administering injections or oral medications
  • Assisting with diabetes care and other chronic disease management
  • Catheter care and support with other medical devices

Who Can Provide Medical Homecare?

Medical homecare can only be provided by a certified healthcare professional (typically an RPN or RN) that is registered within the area that care is being provided (ie. Ontario). They must only provide care within the scope of their certification and the care directives prescribed by a physician.

Who Can Benefit From Medical Homecare?

Similar to non-medical homecare, medical homecare may only be needed on a short-term basis, such as post-surgical care or when recovering from illness or injury, or on a long-term basis for chronic disease management. It is beneficial for individuals who are unable to leave their home or when ongoing care would present too much of a burden for them to travel to a medical office on a daily or frequent basis.

Which Type of Care is Best: Non-Medical or Medical Homecare?

In summary, non-medical homecare is for individuals who don’t require care in their home for medical problems and only require support with the activities of daily living while medical homecare is for those with specific medical needs requiring the support of certified healthcare professionals. The type of care that’s best for an individual will depend entirely on their unique needs and whether or not they are of a medical nature. Sometimes, the two types of care can be combined and complement each other.

It’s also important to note that care needs can evolve over time; for example, a chronic condition may progress to the point where an individual is no longer able to manage it themselves and needs more direct medical care in their home. Alternatively, someone recovering from surgery may require medical homecare for a short time for assistance with wound management but may need non-medical care for a longer period of time for support with personal care and housekeeping as they continue their recovery.

If you’re unsure what type of care is best, you should always speak to your family physician or another healthcare professional who will advise you on the best level of support and care needed.

At ActivePro, we can support both medical and non-medical homecare needs wherever an individual calls home. Call our office in Toronto or Niagara today to learn more about how we can support you and your loved ones in leading a healthy and independent life.


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