Our web pages about the costs of home health care list two different job titles: Home Health Aide and Homemaker Aide. Depending on your specific needs, you might need help from one or the other, or even both. As you've seen in the data, in most cases there is a difference in cost between the two.
Skilled Care vs. Supportive "Non-medical" Care
After a serious medical event, such as a hip fracture or stroke, an older adult who recuperates at home probably needs skilled care from medical professionals such as nurses or therapists. These services are NOT included in our "cost of home health care" web pages.
Most home care is non-medical, however. The home-bound person may be recuperating from an acute event such as surgery, suffering from a chronic disease, or simply elderly and frail. In any case, they likely require help with the Activities of Daily Living (ADL's) such as dressing, bathing, eating and toileting. In addition, there usually are other tasks-laundry, shopping, and light cleaning, to name a few-which are beyond the capabilities of the sick or elderly person. This kind of assistance is referred to as Supportive "Non-medical" Care.
Home Health Aides
The home health aide is usually trained to give hands-on help with ADL's. They often help with bathing, shaving, dressing, toileting, and eating. They might also help with other services such as assistance with walking, turning in bed to a new position, exercising, changing bed linen, and light housekeeping. They frequently work under the supervision of a nurse or physician.
The national average for a home health aide according to the study* in 2012 was $21.00 per hour. The range of prices ran from a low of $13.00 per hour to a high of $32.00 per hour.
Homemaker Aides (personal care aides)
Homemakers (or companions) give help on a more basic level. They might prepare meals, do shopping or errands, and provide the security of having someone to watch over the elderly home-bound. In many states, this type of service is called personal care, and personal care aides.
The national average for a homemaker aide according to the study* in 2012 was $20 per hour.
Home Care Nurses
A registered nurse will cost about three times as much as a home health aide, according to CNNMoney. Based on the range given above, you could expect a registered nurse to cost $40 to $100 an hour. These estimates are based on averages, and will certainly differ depending on your location and needs.
*MetLife Mature Market Institute®. The full report is available at the Institute's website.