At a basic level, "home health care" means medical care provided in a patient's home. Home health care includes a type of broad level of care given by skilled medical professionals, including physicians, skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, licensed social worker, and certified nurse assistant.
Home health care helps patients and older adults live safely at home with medical conditions like acute chronic illnesses, terminal illnesses, post-surgical events, and short-term health needs . It's services offer a wide range of care which can delay the need for long-term nursing home care.
Home health care agencies vary tremendously in terms of what services they offer to clients. There are literally dozens of different services that a home health care agency can provide. The best agencies helps a patient identify their needs and goals, and then create a care plan listing services that meets the needs. Below are some of the most common categories of services offered by home health care companies.
Home health care and home care services may sound similar (home health care offers some of the same services provided by home care companies), home health care is medically inclined.
While home care typically includes chore and housecleaning services, home health care helps seniors and older adults recover from an illness or injury. The staff of working for home health care providers are (mostly) physicians, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, licensed social workers, therapists, certified nurse assistants and home health aides.
Home health agencies, like hospitals, require a state license to operate. Most states require that home health care agencies perform criminal background checks on their workers, the actual regulations vary depending on where you live.
RNs or LPNs provide more advanced skilled care, including:
Depending on the needs of the client and the resources of the home health care agency, additional services may include:
The purpose of home health care is to treat an acute chronic illness, terminal sickness, an injury or post-surgery hospital or rehab event. Home health care helps patients heal, recover, reclaim independence, and become self-sufficient again.
According to Medicare.gov, if you get your Medicare benefits through a Medicare health plan, check with your plan to find out how it gives your Medicare-covered home health benefits.
If you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy or other health insurance coverage, tell your doctor or other health care provider so your bills get paid correctly.
If your doctor or referring health care provider decides you need home health care, they should give you a list of agencies that serve your area, but must tell you whether their organization has a financial interest in any agency listed.
When seeking home health care services, talk with friends, neighbors, and the local area agency on aging to learn about home health care agencies in your community. Here are questions to ask that help guide your search: