Maryland Home Health Care:
What kind of agency do I need?

topics:What is the difference between Home Health Agencies, Residential Service Agencies and Nurse Referral Service Agencies?

Staying in your home when you need care, wether it be on your own or with other family members, has proven benefits. It is usually less expensive and just as effective as the care given in nursing homes or hospitals. But even more important, you will probably be more comfortable in the familiar surroundings of your own home. And you'll probably have other family members and friends close by.

Depending on what type of care you need, there are different categories of agencies to choose from. In Maryland, they are Home Health Care Agencies, Residential Services Agencies, and Nurse Referral Service Agencies.

In short, think of it this way: Home Health Agencies are for nursing and medical services; Residential Services Agencies are for supportive, but non-nursing help; and Nurse Referral Service Agencies can be for both type of services.

We have provided more complete explanations of each type of agency below:

What do Home Health Agencies do?

Home health agencies provide nursing services, which could include home health aides or assistants. They are usually licensed to also provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, and social services. Depending on your needs, different kinds of health care staff may provide your care. Some home health agencies are certified by the Medicare program, and might accept Medicare payments for their services. Private health insurance might cover a home health benefit. A doctor's referral is required so it is a good idea to talk to your doctor if you think you might need this type of care. Medicare or private insurance usually requires a medical reason for these services to be reimbursed.

Home-based health care is usually a good choice when a person wants to stay at home but needs ongoing care that cannot easily be provided by family and friends. The federal web site Home Health Compare has information that describes home health care, patient rights, and advice on what what to expect when home health staff.

What is a Residential Services Agency?

It is an agency that provides support services, such as, assistance with Activities of Daily Living and/or housekeeping services. They might provide services such as providing oxygen or medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers and hospital beds. A Residential Services Agency cannot participate in the Medicare Program and nursing services are not provided. The person needing assistance contracts with the agency. The person needing services usually pays the agency directly, but insurance might pay under some circumstances.

Residential services agencies cannot provide skilled nursing, or home health aides.

What are Nurse Referral Service Agencies for?

This is a placement agency that refers licensed nurses, home health aides, homemakers, live-in caretakers, and companions for people needing help in their home. The person needing assistance contracts directly with the individual who will provide the service and may pay the agency or the provider for services.



This page is about the types of agencies for Home Health Care in MD

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