Choose home-health-care for independent Living

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:

  • Assistance with bathing, mout care, and dressing.
  • Hair and nail care
  • Skin care and shaving
  • Preparation of simple meals
  • Housekeeping chores
  • Assistance with simple exercises and ambulation
  • Assistance with transfer to bedpan, commode or toilet

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:

  • Skilled nurses including both Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses working under the supervision of the Registered Nurse provide the treatments and clinical teaching that will assist the patient in managing their healthcare needs.
  • Physical therapists address the rehabilitation needs of large muscle groups. Some of these services include improving balance, increasing walking ability, and decreasing or preventing the loss of range of motion. Physical therapists are also often a part of the wound care team.
  • Occupational therapists provide treatments to improve the patient’s ability to care for themselves, such as bathing and dressing. They often recommend adaptive equipment to improve the patient’s ability to care for him or herself.
  • Speech therapists help patients increase their ability to express themselves or receive communications. They can also work with patients to improve their thinking and memory capabilities and improve their swallowing function.
  • Medical social workers provide assistance for patients and their families to adjust to the changes related to illness or injury. They also assist with coordinating referrals to community resources.

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.

Return to Home Page from home-health-care.

Return to senior-health-care.

New! Comments

Like to comment on what you just read? Leave me a comment in the box below.