Aging In Place

4/12/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Home health agencies provide numerous services for clients in their homes or wherever they reside, such as independent care and assisted living facilities. The goal of these agencies is to allow clients to remain safely in their place of residence and continue to be as independent as possible; tasks done by a home health agency would follow these protocols. While clients are mostly older adults, they could also be individuals recovering from either an accident or surgery, or those with chronic health problems or physical disabilities.

A home health agency’s services include medical or psychological assessment, wound care, medication teaching, pain management, disease education and management, speech therapy, physical or occupational therapy. These services typically require a physician’s order and are provided by licensed personnel.

Are home health agencies and home care agencies the same thing?

In the sometimes-confusing world of medical terminology, the terms “home health care” and “home care” were often used interchangeably. However, recently those two terms have become discrete. Home health care is considered to be providing professional medical assistance, and home care refers to non-clinical help, such as the activities of daily living (ADL’s), independent activities of daily living (IADL’s), and companionship.

Here are some of the primary tasks done by a home health agency:

Skilled nursing tasks

The most common tasks of home health care come from skilled nursing care. Depending on the client’s needs, a registered nurse, perhaps working with a doctor, will set up a care plan. Some of the skilled nursing services include:  

  • Medication management
  • Wound dressing
  • Intravenous therapy
  • Cardiopulmonary assessment
  • Pain control
  • Ostomy care

Physical therapy

A trained physical therapist knows specific healing techniques and can draw up a plan of care to help a patient regain or strengthen muscles and joints. With the help of a physical therapist, they will see benefits, including:

  • Increased mobility and strength
  • Better endurance
  • Rehabilitation following surgery
  • Enhanced gait after training

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapists can offer support to a new caregiver or family member who might not understand their patient’s needs, or they could help them identify any safety hazards around the house. An occupational therapist visiting the home can provide the following benefits:

  • Provide recommendations for adaptive equipment in the home
  • Improve the client’s ability to perform regular self-care, such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Restore the client’s independence in their home

Speech therapy

A speech therapist is essential for helping a patient with impaired speech regain the ability to communicate while improving cognitive deficiencies. If a senior loved one has trouble responding to questions or is showing signs of being unable to avoid potentially dangerous situations, regular sessions with a speech therapist can help. Speech therapy is beneficial after a stroke.

Clients under the care of a speech therapist should notice the following:

  • Improvement in the ability to speak
  • Improvement in swallowing
  • Improvement in cognitive deficiencies

Laboratory and X-ray imaging

Specific laboratory tests, such as blood and urine tests, can be performed at home. Also, portable X-ray machines allow lab technicians to perform this service at home.

Pharmaceutical services

Medicine and medical equipment can be delivered to the client’s home. Training can be provided on taking the medication or using the equipment, including intravenous therapy.

Nutritional support

One of the most simple tasks done by a home health agency includes diet and nutrition. Dietitians can come to a patient’s home to provide dietary assessments and guidance that support the treatment plan.

Physician care

A doctor may visit a patient at home to diagnose and treat an illness. They will also review the home health care needs of a patient.

These are just some of the tasks done by a home health agency. Medical social workers could provide services to the client. Some companies will also provide transportation for those who need to get to and from a medical facility for treatment or physical exams that cannot be done at home. Also, specialized programming might be offered for those with COPD, pain, and congestive heart failure.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff