With more people choosing to age in place, home care is a rapidly growing industry. Starting your own home care business is a great opportunity to not only make a living but also make a difference by helping others age healthily and happily.

If this is a path you’ve been thinking about, the first step is understanding the differences between a non-medical vs. medical home care business and the benefits of each. Everything from the legal and licensing requirements to the hiring process will be informed by the type of business you decide to run.

As the experts in Happier Aging™ with over 200 franchise partners, Nurse Next Door is here to help you weigh your options.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • What are the two types of home care agencies?
  • What are the benefits of starting a non-medical home care business?
  • What are the benefits of starting a medical home care business?
  • Your next steps

What are the Two Types of Home Care Agencies?

Home care agencies can be divided into medical and non-medical businesses. They vary by what types of services they provide, as well as the regulations and licensing requirements they need to follow. (Here is a full guide on How to Get a License for Your Home Health Care Business that goes into more detail.)

Non-Medical Home Care Agency

A non-medical home care agency focuses on allowing people to age comfortably at home instead of going to assisted living facilities or living with relatives. Clients are usually senior citizens who don’t have significant medical concerns but need help with their daily activities.

A home care agency employs professional caregivers, home care aides or other non-medical personnel. While caregivers do not provide medical care, they give the client’s family peace of mind knowing their loved one is getting the assistance they need to live independently.

Common services offered by a non-medical home care business include:

  • Companionship
  • Assistance with bathing, personal care, oral hygiene, feeding, toileting, dressing, etc.
  • Transportation to medical appointments or activities
  • Light housekeeping
  • Preparing meals
  • Shopping for essentials
  • Medication reminders

When running a home care agency, potential clients may be:

  • Senior citizens who need assistance with the activities of daily living (i.e., bathing, personal care, dressing), whether due to mobility issues or general age-related changes
  • Seniors requiring transportation to and from doctors’ appointments, friends’ houses, stores or activities
  • Elderly individuals who are isolated and can benefit from companionship
  • Loved ones who need help with their caregiving responsibilities

caregiver in a non medical home care business

Medical Home Care Agency 

When comparing a non-medical vs. medical home care business, the difference is, that in addition to supporting aging in place, a medical home health care agency provides clients with medical care as well.

A home health care agency employs or contracts registered and licensed practical nurses, physical therapists and/or other licensed medical professionals to deliver skilled care. Because of this, regulations are stricter.

Though a medical home care agency may provide assistance with daily activities, services will also include things that would normally be provided in a hospital or medical setting.

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  • Discovery Video – 15 min overview of this opportunity
  • Franchisee Testimonials
  • The Nurse Next Door opportunity
  • Access to our calendar to book a 1×1 call.
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Home health care businesses commonly offer:

  • Nursing care
  • Administration and management of medications
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Wound care
  • Blood pressure checks
  • Palliative care
  • Assistance with medical machinery

Typical clients of a medical home care agency include:

  • Seniors who have significant or chronic medical conditions
  • Senior citizens who were recently discharged from a hospital, rehab or skilled nursing facility but need additional care
  • Terminally ill individuals who wish to spend their final days at home
  • Seniors who need monitoring after a recent injury or medication change
  • People who are not healthy enough to safely travel to a doctor’s office
  • Seniors who have had a decline in function and require help to regain independence

nurse from a medical home care business

What are the Benefits of Starting a Non-Medical Home Care Business?

One of the most common questions we get from potential agency owners at Nurse Next Door is, “Do I need medical experience?” The answer is no! While, of course, having a medical or healthcare background can be helpful, it’s not necessary.

A non-medical home care agency can be successful as long as you’re passionate and sales-oriented.

The benefits of starting a non-medical home care business include:

  • It’s easier.

    While you will want to check the licensing requirements of your state or province, even if you do need a license for your agency, the regulations are much less stringent when medical care isn’t being provided. You’ll face fewer obstacles when setting up your business and getting proper accreditation.

  • There’s less overhead.

    Compared to a medical home health care business, a non-medical home care agency will have less overhead. Your professional liability insurance premiums will be lower and you’ll require fewer supplies. You also won’t need to hire a clinical supervisor or licensed medical caregivers, which will keep your staffing costs lower.

  • You’ll be able to provide most of the necessary care.

    About 80% of the care provided by any agency is non-medical. As a home care business, you’ll be able to address the vast majority of your clients’ needs and retain a large market share.

What are the Benefits of Starting a Medical Home Care Business?

Regulations for medical home health care agencies are stricter and, if you’re in the United States, you’ll likely need Medicare and Medicaid certifications. That said, once your home health care agency is off of the ground, there are a number of advantages.

The benefits of starting a medical home health care business include:

  • You’ll have a one-stop-shop.

    A medical home care business is able to offer full-spectrum care. You can provide a much larger array of services that go beyond assistance with daily activities to include skilled nursing, wound care, palliative care and more. Having overlapping medical and non-medical services will expand your client base and create more revenue streams.

  • Ensures better retention.

    As clients age, their needs often change. As a medical home health care business, your services can evolve with each client and you won’t risk losing them when something medical pops up.

  • Helps you get your foot in the door.

    Many people choose in-home care as a temporary measure after a relative is discharged from the hospital, say, for example, after having surgery. A professional from a medical home health care agency comes in and helps with things like administering medication, supporting rehabilitation and light housework while the client recovers. This lets you develop relationships with these clients and their families, expanding your network and increasing the likelihood they’ll call you down the road if long-term assistance is needed.

  • Gives you peace of mind.

    Even seniors who are relatively healthy can experience a medical emergency. With licensed medical professionals on your staff, you’ll have peace of mind knowing they’ll be able to handle any and all scenarios professionally and safely.

Your Next Steps

After comparing the benefits of a non-medical vs. medical home care business and deciding on the option that aligns with your goals, the legwork begins. For many entrepreneurs, franchising makes sense.

At Nurse Next Door, we have franchise partners across the United States, Canada and Australia. We provide each of our franchise partners with a business coach who helps navigate the complexities of starting a home health care business.

Once your agency is up and running, we also handle the scheduling, marketing and paperwork, giving you more time to focus on building your business and providing the best home health care services possible.

Access Your Welcome Package which includes

  • Discovery Video – 15 min overview of this opportunity
  • Franchisee Testimonials
  • The Nurse Next Door opportunity
  • Access to our calendar to book a 1×1 call.
Watch Now