Senior Health What Does Home Health Care Do? 3/16/2020 | By Seniors Guide Staff If you or your loved one is homebound and not able to travel to a doctor’s office for medical tests or therapy, they may take advantage of home health care. Sometimes also called skilled home health services, this refers to health care services provided in a patient’s home instead of in a doctor’s office or hospital. Because most older adults prefer to stay at home, instead of in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, home health care is a vital service. It is more convenient than traditional in-office care and it is often less expensive. And because of emerging technologies and advances in portable and “smart” medical equipment and monitoring devices, more and more medical services can be provided in home. Services Provided by This Care A patient can begin home health care after a physician orders it. At this point, a representative from a home health agency will come to the patient’s home and ask about their health – their medical condition, needs, and medications. Professionals work with the patient’s doctor to create and maintain a written plan of care. A “plan of care” details what services the patient needs to get better or slow the progress of their condition. These services can include: Patient and caregiver education. The medical provider will help the patient and their caregiver understand the patient’s medical condition so they can take care of themselves. Therefore, they’ll also make sure the patient is safe in their home.Injections and assistance with the administration of other medications. They will make sure the patient is taking their prescription and other drugs and any other treatments correctly.Nutrition therapy. The nurse checks what the patient is eating and drinking.Monitoring of condition. This type of nurse will administer any necessary tests, like blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and breathing. They will ask if the patient is in pain, and provide wound care if necessary.If ordered by a doctor, it can also include physical, occupational, and speech therapy.Care coordination. This means that the home health care nurse is in contact with the doctor, the patient, and anyone else who provides care for the patient. This regular communication is important to make sure the patient is well cared for. Provided by Medical Professionals These services are provided by registered nurses, therapists, and other medical professionals who have been trained and certified in home health care. These professionals are usually affiliated with a home health care agency, and are in contact with the patient’s doctor and caregivers. Different From In-Home Care Home health care refers only to medical services provided by registered nurses and therapists. A patient living in their own home might also need non-medical in-home care, sometimes called custodial care, as well. These types of services could include help with house cleaning, preparing meals, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, or transportation. While Medicare can cover the costs, it doesn’t cover non-medical in-home care. The Goal The ultimate goal is to help the patient get better. Most home health care is intermittent and part time, meaning that this is not necessarily a long-term solution. The goal of home health care is to help the patient regain their independence and stay as self-sufficient as possible. Home health providers educate the patient and their caregivers on the patient’s condition and treatment. This way they can learn to take care of themselves and live with their illness or disability. Read More 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. Related Resources The Psychology of Food Choices A salad or a cheeseburger? A fruit bowl or chocolate cake? A milkshake or a diet soda? There are many ... [Read More] 3/16/2020 | By Densie Webb Ph.D. RD Former Smoker? Screen For Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My 70-year-old father-in-law smoked for more than 30 years. I read that men who used to smoke ... [Read More] 3/16/2020 | By Young Erben, M.D.