Home-health-care agencies offer services from complex medical care to housekeeping services in the home. These services make it possible for their clients to remain independent in their own home. Home-health-care, however, is generally not cost effective if the client requires medical care on a 24 hour basis.
Not all home care agencies are created equal. Some agencies provide only non-medical services such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation and assistance with personal care. Such services are provided by home health aides under the supervision of a licensed nurse and are for the most part private pay.
Home health aides are assigned based on the needs of the patient. A plan of care is developed and the supervising nurse will periodically visit to follow-up on the plan. Some common duties that home health aides perform can include:
Skilled home care agencies, sometimes called Medicare agencies, provide a wide range of complex medical services in addition to the personal care services. Care provided by these agencies may include part-time or intermittent skilled nursing services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy services, as well as wound care. All such services are under the direction of your physician. Services may also include medical social services.
The following is a brief summary of the role of each of these professional caregivers:
Medicare will pay for home-health-care that is medically necessary for a limited time. You must be homebound during the duration of your illness as a prerequisite to qualification for Medicare Part “A” or other insurance coverage. You can leave your home during a “spell of illness” for a short time for medical treatment. There are other exceptions but a good rule of thumb is to avoid the problem and stay home until Medicare coverage terminates.
Many home-health-care patients are private pay. The Veterans administration has an “Aid and Attendance” benefit for in-home care that can be used to offset the cost of home health for qualifying veterans. Additionally, some long term care insurance policies cover home health.