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What Is Home Health Care?

 

Professional home health care includes a wide range of skilled medical and support services in the home, usually under a doctor’s orders.

The goal of home health care is to treat the illness or injury, and help an individual recover, regain independence, and become self-sufficient.

Who should consider home health care?

Home health care is for people of all ages. It is often ordered by a doctor after a person comes home from the hospital. However, others may find it helpful:

  • Individuals with complex medical needs, or whose treatment requires special medical equipment or careful monitoring.
  • Individuals who return home after surgery or an injury and need medical care or supervision, or assistance with self-care, household tasks, and errands or appointments.
  • Family caregivers who are concerned about loved ones’ cognitive impairment or behavioral health needs.
  • Seniors with disability or chronic illness, who can live independently with some help.
  • Individuals with terminal illness.
  • New mothers and their infants, who require assistance with the transition from a nurse skilled in maternal post-partum care.

What services does home health care include?

The skilled services may include nursing care, rehabilitation therapy, case management, or nutritional advice. Home health care can also provide specialized care, including:

  • Wound care for bed sores or a surgical wound
  • Pain management
  • Nutrition therapy (such as feeding tubes)
  • Infusion therapy
  • Behavioral and mental health counseling
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • Telemedicine and home equipment
  • Home safety education and advice
  • Supportive care for families of chronically or terminally ill individuals

Home health care may also include support and assistance from a home health aide, such as with eating or preparing food, bathing and dressing, or other activities of daily living.

Why should I consider home health care?

As hospital stays become shorter, many patients require ongoing professional medical care after they return home. Home health care provides these services, alleviating caregivers from the stress of learning or performing complex procedures that may be difficult or require care to avoid injuring their loved ones.

Home health care can be less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care you’d receive in a hospital or nursing facility. Care that is provided by a certified home health care agency (such as the Visiting Nurse Service of New York) may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance.

 

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