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Skilled Home Health Or General Home Assistance: What's The Difference?

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Blog Graphic - Skilled Home Health Or General Assistance

When it comes to choosing the right kind of care for yourself or a loved one at home, it’s important to know what options are available, and which option provides the kind of care you need. While some care benefits and services are similar and can sometimes overlap, there are still important differences to understand.

In short, skilled home health is nursing and rehab services designed for the recovery process and ordered by a physician, while general home assistance, or private duty care, provides help with everyday activities, like cooking, cleaning, and companionship.


To qualify for skilled home health care, a patient would have a limited ability to leave their home, and be in need for skilled nursing services, rehabilitation, or therapy. Skilled home health care is designed for anyone recovering from a serious injury, surgery or illness, such as a stroke or hip replacement surgery. The patient’s primary care physician can recommend or prescribe home health services as an alternative to going into a rehab facility or outpatient clinic for care.

Families may choose to hire a private duty company if they feel their loved one needs help with daily activities, especially if the person lives alone or if the primary caregiver needs to leave frequently to run errands or work. The levels can vary based on the individual’s needs and budget. The service is usually elected by the family or could be recommended by their doctor, rather than being prescribed like a type of treatment.



Skilled home health provides services aimed at getting the patient up and moving again, helping them regain independence and find solutions to fit your lifestyle. These services can include:

  • Physical, occupational or speech therapy
  • rehabilitation services
  • balance training to prevent falls
  • wound care
  • medication management
  • injections
  • and other skilled nursing services.

General home assistance, or private duty care, provides help with everyday activities and is focused on making sure the person is safe at home. These services can include:

  • meal preparation and cooking
  • housekeeping and basic cleaning
  • personal care, like bathing and grooming,
  • companionship
  • transportation to appointments
  • and other services as needed.


One of the major benefits of receiving skilled home health care is the team providing the care. The need for nursing care requires those providing it to have proper training, certifications and degrees, depending on the services being provided. When licensed medical professionals are the ones providing the care, families and caregivers can feel more confident that their loved one is getting the quality care they need to get them healthy and safe at home.

The team members making visits can depend on the types of services being provided, but generally, they are licensed medical professionals. At Gulfside, the home health care team includes:

  • Licensed therapists to provide the needed therapy treatments, including physical therapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists
  • Registered nurses to provide medication management, skilled nursing care, wound care, injections and more
  • Home health aides to assist with personal care as needed
  • Social workers to assist with finding community resources and assistance for the family and caregivers


If you believe that medical, skilled home health care might be appropriate for you or your loved one, the team at Gulfside is available to answer your questions and start the enrollment process. Even if you’re not sure, our team is happy to meet with you for a services evaluation to determine how Gulfside can best serve you.

To get started, call us anytime at 800-817-9941 or click the button below to complete the online referral form.Submit A Referral Today