Senior Care Options: Home Health Nurse or Home Health Aide?

You may have a home care routine for your elderly loved one that has served you both for years. You’re able to help when needed or have a neighbor check in every now and then, and it works.

But now things have changed. Your loved one recently experienced an illness or is showing more signs of aging or just can’t get around like they used to. You’re worried they might be mismanaging their medications, are having difficulty completing regular tasks or need regular medical assistance.

A home health aide or home health nurse might be the right solution. Both can provide a level of care you can’t, but which one is right for you and your elderly loved one? Here are some facts to consider.

senior care options home health nurse vs home health aid

What is the difference between a home health aide and a home health nurse?

The biggest difference between a home health aide and a home health nurse is the level of medical expertise and care they provide.

What is a home health aide?

A home health aide, also known as a state tested nursing assistant (STNA), provides basic medical expertise and care, like monitoring vital signs (e.g. temperature, blood pressure), providing medication reminders and assisting with transfers (e.g. moving a patient from a chair to a walker, or into/out of bed). They can also assist with other daily activities (errands or grooming routines) and can observe and report on general physical and emotional condition.

What is a home health nurse?

A home health nurse provides advanced medical expertise and care, like starting and maintaining intravenous lines or caring for wounds, catheters, dressings and drains. They can educate both patients and caregivers on medications, illnesses and treatments. They also provide care and symptom management for illnesses like respiratory disease, diabetes and heart disease. Finally, a home health nurse can coordinate care with all medical professionals, including your loved one’s physicians and specialists.

Which senior in-home care provider is right for my loved one?

The care provider that is right for your loved one is dependent upon the level of medical support needed. You’ll likely want to speak with your loved one’s physician and care team; they can give you an accurate idea of the kind of support your loved ones needs.

The following lists can also help with your decision-making process.

Responsibilities of a home health aide

A home health aide or state tested nursing assistant (STNA) can be responsible for:

  • Basic medication management (e.g. daily help with pills, liquid medications or topical creams)
  • Transfers and changes (e.g. moving from a walker to a chair, getting into bed, help with toilet routines)
  • Taking vital signs
  • Basic physical and emotional observation
  • Daily activity assistance
  • Daily nutrition support

Responsibilities of a home health nurse

A home health nurse can be responsible for:

  • Advanced medication management and administration (e.g. injections)
  • Wound care, colostomy care, catheter care, drain and dressing care
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Management of respiratory illness, diabetes, cancer care and heart disease
  • Education for patient and caregivers
  • Coordinating and executing care with your loved one’s medical team

No matter which professional is right for you, this type of senior in-home care can be an enormous boost to your loved one’s well-being, happiness and overall health as they remain at home.

In-Home Health Aides and Nurses for Seniors in Akron, Ohio

My Family Home Health Care in Akron, Ohio offers a variety of in-home care options for seniors including home health aides and home nurses. Our goal is for seniors to remain at home for as long as possible. Contact us today for an assessment and let My Family take care of your family.