Home Health Care

Table of Contents

What Is Home Health Care?

Home health care, or medical home health care, is licensed medical care provided within a patient’s home. Care typically includes treatments like physical therapy, skilled nursing care, and assistance with medications, and is only provided by licensed medical professionals. It is often the same type of medical care given in communities such as nursing homes.

This type of service is different from home care, in which caregivers only assist with routine daily activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and medication reminders.

What to Expect from Home Health Care

smiling caregiver helping senior woman with walker

With home health care, licensed medical professionals – such as RNs, LPNs, or therapists – come to a patient’s home to administer medical care as prescribed by a doctor. Generally, these medical professionals are assigned by a state-licensed home health care agency.

In order to receive home health care, a doctor’s referral is typically required. From there, the home health care agency will schedule an appointment with the patient (and family, in some cases) to discuss their specific health-related needs, and to address any concerns. The agency staff member will also send progress updates to the referring doctor.

Home health care may be administered in conjunction with other types of home services, including:

  • Companion care, in which a home companion assists with household chores, cooking, errands, and transportation while also providing social engagement.
  • Home Care (non-medical), in which a home care aide assists with personal tasks such as bathing, toileting, and grooming.

Services often vary depending on what a patient’s physician has ordered.

Services

Home health care staff typically fulfill the following tasks:

  • Monitor food and drink intake
  • Check blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and breathing
  • Assist with medication administration
  • Monitor pain levels
  • Monitor safety levels of the home
  • Coordinate the patient’s care with their doctor, caregivers, and even case managers

Aside from medical care, services also include education for the patient and family members on ongoing care, plus diet and nutrition guidance.

This type of care is often implemented following surgery, when a patient is able to leave the hospital but still requires medical attention. The nurse or medical attendant will assist with tasks such as:

  • Changing bandages on wounds
  • Tending to catheters and IVs
  • Giving injections for pain
  • Monitoring progress

It may also be utilized for individuals suffering from an illness or living with unstable health, but who still want to remain in their home.

Please note: always ensure that a medical home health care agency requires background checks for their staff.

Is Home Health Care a Good Option?

Consider these statements below for yourself or on behalf of your loved one:

  • I want to stay in my home
  • I sometimes get my medicines mixed up or can’t remember when to take them
  • There are medical issues that require long-term attention
  • Medical treatments or procedures are needed on a regular basis
  • Health needs to be monitored daily
  • Care from a nurse is required regularly

If two or more of these statements apply, then Home Health Care may be a good option. You could also consider the following solutions:

If you or your loved one are in better health than these statements indicate, the following solutions may be a better fit:

Still not sure? Take our Care Assessment to see what care level may be best.

Cost of Home Health Care

Home health care costs can vary based on location, acuity level, and length of care time. 

According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, the National Median Costs are as follows:

  • Medical Home Care costs an average of $87.50 per visit. 

When prescribed by a doctor, care is typically covered by private health insurance policies and Medicare, but often only for a limited amount of time. Long-term care insurance, veterans benefits, and private funds are other sources that cover home health care costs. There are financial assistance programs available to families in need; these tend to be available on the state level. 

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