What is Home Health Care?

Home Health Care Services are care giving services that are provided to persons in their home environment. The need for services must be documented by the person’s primary doctor and the doctor is the only health care provider who can prescribe such services for the patient. These services are provided to the person while under a doctor’s care. If the patient is going to receive this care after being discharged from a hospital, that care is planned for the patient under the supervision of the Discharge Planning nurse.

Advantages of Being Cared For At Home: Being cared for in the home whenever possible, is much more beneficial for the patient. It is less costly. It decreases the risk of the patient picking up a hospital-acquired infection, which tens of thousands of patients die from each year. It is usually more comfortable for the patient to be at home. It is easier for family visitations. While most health insurance plans do not cover subscribers for purely custodial care, you should check out your own plan to see what you are covered for.

Most Home health care services include, but are not limited to:

  1. part-time or intermittent home nursing care given or supervised by a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse
  2. part-time or intermittent home health aide services, mainly for the care of the patient
  3. physical, occupational, hearing, vision and speech therapy
  4. medical supplies, drugs and medicines prescribed by a physician
  5. laboratory services provided by or on behalf of a hospital
  6. nutritional assessment and counseling

Sometimes, insurance plans will reimburse family members for the care they give a family member if they take some type of care giving course. Explore this with the patient’s insurance company when applicable. If the patient is on Medicare or Medicaid, call the local Medicare/Medicaid office to find out if they can provide coverage.

Your home health care is usually provided by a 3rd party company. Feel free to call your case manager with both positive and negative feedback. If you don’t like the nurse or nurse aide who is assigned to your care, call the agency and let them know. Let your doctor know. You have a voice…use it!

Terminology:

Custodial Care: care directed at meeting the patient’s activities of daily living, including bathing, feeding, dressing, & toileting.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): health care provider licensed by the state board of nursing in whose jurisdiction s/he works, after having completed an LPN curriculum of 14-18 months in length.

Licensed Registered Nurse (RN): professional health care provider licensed by the state board of nursing in whose jurisdiction s/he works, after having completed an RN curriculum of 2-5 years; most RN’s today are educated in either a 2 year community college setting or in a 4 year college setting.

Third Party Company: an organization that helps pay your medical bills; generally either a personal health insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid.

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