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What is home health care?

Home health care includes a wide range of health services that can be provided in your home. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and can be as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. These services help you or your loved one get better, regain your independence, and become as self-sufficient as possible. In general, home healthcare includes part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care and other skilled care services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Services may also include medical social services or assistance from a home health aide. Usually, a home healthcare agency coordinates the services your doctor orders for you.

What are examples of home health services?

Examples of home health services include: Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wounds, physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, patient and caregiver education, intravenous or nutrition therapy, injections, and monitoring serious illness and unstable health status. NOTE: In order to cover home health care, Medicare and other health insurance plans have certain requirements. 

What can our family expect?

Once your doctor refers you for home health services (a doctor's orders are necessary to begin care), the home health agency will schedule an assessment at your home. During that appointment, the agency representative will talk to you about your needs and ask questions about your health. The resulting, personalized Plan of Care is a combination of doctor's orders, the home health assessment and recommendations, and your needs.

What is a Plan of Care and how is it developed?

Your home health agency staff member will work with you and your doctor to develop your Plan of Care. The Plan of Care consists of written doctor's orders for home health services and treatments based on your condition(s). The home health team keeps the doctor up-to-date on your condition and updates the Plan of Care as needed. You are the focus of the Plan of Care along with the doctor, the home health care team, and your family, but ultimately it is the doctor who authorizes what services are needed and for how long.

What does a Plan of Care include?

The Plan of Care includes what services you need and what health care professionals should provide these services, as well as how often you will need the services. It also includes the medical equipment you need and what results your doctor expects from your treatment. All of this is mapped out in a written plan provided by your home health agency that includes services and medical supplies.

What does a home health care check include?

Our home health care checks review what you are eating and drinking as well as your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and breathing. We also check on how you are taking prescriptions and other drugs and managing prescribed treatments. While visiting you in your home, we also check on your pain and comfort levels, home safety, and your knowledge of prescribed treatments so you can take care of yourself.

Additionally, our services help organize how your care is coordinated. This means home health care staff must communicate regularly with you, your doctor, and anyone else who provides care to you, such as your family. Your doctor and home health agency staff review your Plan of Care as often as necessary (at least once every 60 days). If your health changes, the home health staff should tell your doctor right away. Your Plan of Care will be reviewed and may change but only with your doctor's approval and your knowledge. An important outcome of home health care is your ability to care for yourself at home. You will learn medication, disease, and wound-care management. You will also learn to recognize potential healthcare problems, some of which may be managed without skilled home health care.

What are the differences between Skilled Home Health Care and Private Duty Home Care?

Skilled home health care may be combined effectively with personal support services (also known as Private Duty) to keep you safe, healthy and comfortable at home. Private duty home care provides a secure, quality and affordable option for families. A private duty home care company offers home care aides, companion care, homemaker services, and in some cases nursing services within a client's home or place of residence. The caregivers provide a wide variety and range of services that are needed by seniors or their families in order to allow an aging person to remain at home. Private duty home care offers many unique benefits and provides peace of mind and security to you and your loved ones. Payments for care are paid privately, as opposed to through Medicare. As baby boomers age, there is a growing market for home healthcare, whether it is skilled home health care (ordered by a doctor and approved by Medicare) or personal support services in your home.

What do home health aide services include?

Our home health aides offer help with basic daily activities, such as getting in and out of bed, dressing, bathing, eating regular and healthy meals, and hygiene. Our aides also help with light housekeeping including laundry, shopping, and meal preparation. The powerful combination of these two options equals cost-effective ways to allow senior loved ones to remain healthy and at home for as long as possible.