Do I need a Homemaker, PCA, Nursing Assistant, or Home Health Nurse?

What's the difference between a Homemaker, PCA, Nursing Assistant, or Home Health Nurse?

Have you been told you need home care services to stay safely at home? Homemaker, PCA, nursing assistant and home health nurse - each provide different types of ongoing assistance and it can be confusing. Do you know what services each provide and which is the right level of care for your needs?

We're here to help. Minnesota Quality Care will aid you as you determine which level of service is right. Not only that, we will strive to get you as much insurance coverage as possible.


What does a homemaker do? Homemakers help with all the household jobs a client is no longer able to perform. Are once-easy chores like laundry, cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping now a challenge? A homemaker helps with tasks around the house, allowing seniors to continue to live independently.

A homemaker cannot provide medical services; nor can a homemaker help with personal care, such as bathing or brushing of teeth. For those services, you will need a Personal Care Assistant (PCA).

Minnesota Medical Assistance (MMA), long-term care insurance, and some programs may cover homemaker services. MMA might cover homemaker services if you are on a waiver program, like the Elderly Waiver (EW) or Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) Waiver. In order to keep a loved one in their own home, some families also choose to pay cash for homemaker services.

Minnesota Quality Care provides homemaker services. Coverage is complicated; however, we work through coverage issues every day. Contact us today to get started.

Personal Care Assistants (PCAs)

Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) require more training than a homemaker. If required, a PCA helps with personal care tasks. If you or a loved one need help with mobility or support to dress, groom, bathe, eat, transfer, position, or toilet, a PCA can provide these services. A nurse from Minnesota Quality Care provides the training.

Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, and long-term care policies usually cover a PCA. Medical insurance you have through work generally will not provide PCA services though.

Coverage for a PCA is complex, so allow us to work through the details for you.

Certified Nursing Assistants

For a higher level of care than PCA services, you might need a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). A nursing assistant provides personal care - like a PCA - but can also do some health checks. They can take and record vital signs, set up medical equipment, and assist with medical procedures.

Certified Nursing Assistants must complete a state-approved program and pass a certification test.

Insurance might cover nursing assistant services. In a home care setting, the care may need a prior authorization; however, many insurance policies will not cover ongoing nursing assistant services if the only care provided is personal care.

Registered Nurses

A registered nurse (RN) offers the highest level of care. Insurance companies generally cover home care services from an RN with a prior authorization.

An RN must complete a 2 or 4-year degree program and pass a state registration exam. The Minnesota Board of Nursing licenses all registered nurses.

At Minnesota Quality Care, our RNs supervise and train the PCAs and homemakers. In addition, our RNs develop the "plan of care" for all PCA services.

So, what's right for you: Homemaker, PCA, Nursing Assistant, or Nurse?

We know that care is about more than just the body - it's about the mind and heart too. Whether it's help with a senior, tending an individual with a disability or a chronic illness, or aid with recovery care, we are here to help you and your family.

As you can see, it's not easy to decide what level of service is right for you or your loved one. But rather than stress about your choices, why not contact us instead? At Minnesota Quality Care, we are proud of the service we provide to families. Our goal is to provide excellent home health care and keep people in their homes.

Let us help. We have served as a home care agency in Minneapolis & St. Paul since 2000. In that time we have faithfully served thousands of families. Let us serve you too.