Home Health Care Services
Home health care services help people of all ages recover from an illness, surgery or injury so that they can remain at home and avoid the need for hospitalization or long-term nursing facility placement. Patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, HIV/AIDS or pulmonary conditions like asthma require ongoing monitoring and care at home.
Elder Care Services may also be helpful for people with disabilities who need assistance managing their daily activities at home. Home health care can include a variety of medical services such as wound care, IV therapy or medication management as well as personal care and support services such as assistance with bathing and dressing, meal preparation and transportation.
Eligibility for home health care services depends on the patient meeting a doctor’s criteria. A physician must certify that the patient is “homebound,” meaning it takes significant effort or assistance to leave home, and that leaving could make their condition worse. In addition, the patient must have a need for skilled nursing or therapy services and be under the care of a doctor who can supervise their care. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance can all pay for some or all of the cost of home health care.
A home health care team includes licensed medical personnel such as physicians, registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs), physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and respiratory therapists. The team also includes unlicensed, but certified, workers such as home health aides and nursing assistants. In addition to the health care professionals, patients are typically assisted by case managers who assist caregivers and families with long-term care planning.
Before selecting a home health care agency, ask about their screening and hiring practices. It is important to find out whether they conduct background checks and drug testing on all employees and if they provide continuing education opportunities for their staff.
You should also ask how the agency monitors employee performance. A good practice is to have a supervisor drop by the client’s home – preferably unannounced – during the caregiver’s shift to observe and evaluate the worker.
Ensure that your loved one’s home is safe for workers to enter and to ensure that their valuables are protected. In addition, you should verify that the senior’s home is insured against accidents that could be caused by household workers.
It is also a good idea to talk to your family members and friends about their experiences with home health care agencies. Knowing what to expect can make the transition to home health care less stressful for everyone involved. Taking time to consider the best options early on can also reduce the need for crisis interventions and help your loved ones stay as independent as possible. In the end, staying at home is often the right choice for many seniors. Home is where they are most comfortable and surrounded by familiar people and memories. It’s a place they can look forward to spending their golden years.