What is Home Health Care?
Home Health Care encompasses a wide range of health care services provided in the patient’s home with the purpose of maintaining his or her maximal level of function, health, and comfort. Home care is a collaborative effort involving family, physician, and an interdisciplinary home care team. It is a cost-effective alternative to extended hospitalization, rehabilitation, or a nursing home stay. Patients are usually more comfortable in their own home and studies have shown patients recover quicker at home.
Who would benefit from home health care?
You or a family member may benefit from home care if you are:
- Recovering from a recent illness, surgery, or hospitalization.
- Recently discharged from a nursing home but need additional care.
- ln need of education regarding your health problem and how to manage your disease effectively.
- Terminally ill and wish to receive end-of-life care in your home.
- ln need of assistance in order to live independently at home and to enhance the quality of life at home.
What kinds of agencies provide home health care?
- Medicare-certified home care agencies
- Private duty agencies
- Nonmedical home care agencies
- Home medical equipment companies
- Home infusion companies
- Mobile diagnostic companies
- Visiting physician agencies
Who pays for Home Health Care?
Medicare, commercial insurance, and HMOs typically cover certified home care services when the criteria are met. Home care agencies will assist in determining your specific coverage. Private duty and nonmedical care services are usually on a private pay basis.
What is the Medicare criteria for home health care?
In order to receive home health care services under Medicare, the patient must require skilled, intermittent nursing care, physical therapy, or speech therapy, have a physician’s order for home health care, and be essentially homebound. Medicare considers a person to be homebound if leaving the home would require a considerable and taxing effort and if s/he has a condition due to an illness or injury which restricts the ability to leave home except with the aid of devices such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, walkers, special transportation, or assistance of another person. Homebound patients may leave their home if absences from the home are infrequent or for periods of relatively short duration, or for the purpose of receiving medical treatment.
Who makes up the Home Health Care Team?
The home care team is interdisciplinary and usually includes nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, registered dietitians, and home health aides.