Understanding Options for Help: Home Health

Home Health Care services, frequently dubbed “Home Health,” is an array of services that are usually covered by Medicare. These services are designed to treat an injury or illness for which some level of recovery is reasonably expected. Services are short-term and traditionally assigned in an initial segment of six weeks, with weekly evaluations performed to lengthen or shorten the duration of care.

Home Health visits are made several times weekly. Depending on the purpose of the care provided, exercises may be prescribed and administered, treatments are given, and basic vital signs checked. RN’s or LPN’s usually monitor vital signs, provide wound care for pressure sores or surgical incision sites, and injections or intravenous and nutritional support. Certified therapists will give a range of therapy exercises such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, gait training, and speech therapy. Education may be offered to the patient receiving care as well as the Family Caregiver for how to manage a prescribed exercise regimen daily when the therapist does not come. Home Health Aides may also be assigned to assist with bathing, dressing, and toileting while in your home, but these visits are rarely more than an hour in length.

Home Health does not assist with housework, prepare meals, do laundry, or run errands for the patient. It is not a Home Care Provider. Most Home Health agencies will partner with one or more reputable Home Care agencies in the area to provide supplemental home care services that will enhance recovery time for the patient and lighten the load for the Family Caregiver.

Home Health has many values for the patient and their family. First, it enables the patient to be at home in a comfortable environment while receiving care that should be equal to what they would get in a hospital or Skilled Care Facility. Second, Home Health services are much more affordable than being in the hospital or facility. Third, the patient has control over their schedule, their meals, and their environment. Research shows that most patients recover much more quickly at home than those who are in a more clinical setting. And finally, most patients have a much more positive outlook when they are in their own home. A positive outlook leads to a better quality of life for the patient and their family members.

Home Health services are a valuable and somewhat underutilized service in the spectrum of aging care. These services were invaluable to my mother when she needed gait training to improve her ability to walk and to minimize the risk of falls. Home Health kept her on her feet for probably more than a year thanks to the exceptional physical therapists who came to her home and worked with her. She liked the therapist, enjoyed the weekly visits, and worked a little harder on the exercises because of this. Home Health allowed her to maintain her independence and her mobility.

If you think the person you care for could benefit from home health services, check out this website for more details:

https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/home-health-care/home-health-care-what-is-it-what-to-expect.html

 

 

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