The Benefits of Home Health Services in a Senior Living Facility

Many seniors wish to live as independently as they can for as long as they can. However, when health conditions begin to decline and independent living is no longer appropriate, assisted living becomes an option. In an assisted living facility, residents are provided with an environment that allows them to have the independence they need, while having the supervision and assistance necessary to promote their safety and well-being.

Assisted living facilities have caregivers and trained staff available to monitor, supervise, and/or assist with activities of daily living. They also provide assistance with medication administration or intake. They coordinate with the appropriate health care providers for the residents to ensure their health and safety.

Many assisted living facilities do not directly employ the medical professionals necessary to provide the assistance that many of their residents may need. Therefore, the relationships between home health agencies and other medical service providers are very important. Home health agencies can provide medical services for many of the conditions that residents in an assisted living facility commonly have.

Some of the most common conditions are:

1. Hypertension
2. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and other respiratory illnesses
3. Abnormality of gait or dysfunction of the nervous system and/or musculoskeletal systems
4. Declining functions including those who are at high risk for falls and those who have difficulties with activities of daily living.
5. Those who need post-hospitalization treatments
6. Those who need assistance with management of medications
7. Blood draw and laboratory support
8. Catheter management
9. Diabetic teaching
10. G-tube and colostomy care
11. Infusion therapy
12. Nutrition assessment and support
13. Palliative care
14. Wound care

Home health professionals are commonly those who are certified and/or licensed with the following positions:

- Skilled Nursing
- Physical Therapy
- Medical Social Worker
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Dietitians
- Home Health Aide

Home health can promote a better rapport with their residents and future clientele by providing the service necessary to reduce the incidents of re-hospitalizations, maximizing the health and independence of patients through extensive patient education to empower health maintenance within the facility, and by providing patients with assistance and rehabilitation to ensure their safety, health, and well-being.

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What is Home Health?

In a never ending effort to contain rising medical care costs patients find themselves discharged from hospital stays before healing is complete and in some cases even begun.

Like it or not, this trend is here to stay. Many times people are discharged home with new medications or newly diagnosed medical conditions with little or no teaching about how to manage their health or medications. Many patients return home only to bounce right back into the hospital through the emergency room due to some complication which wasn’t caught while hospitalized or didn’t exhibit until days after a discharge.

Home health nurses and therapists to the rescue!

While still in the hospital, the medical provider will write a referral to home health. If you or a loved one is about to be discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor if he or she thinks home health services are indicated.

Home health services are paid for by private insurance companies, Medicare or through state agencies as long as there are two conditions met. One is the patient has, “skilled needs”. That is a medical condition which requires teaching or a task done which must be done or monitored by a registered nurse or physical, occupational or speech therapist or medical social worker. The second condition is that the patient be, “home bound”. That is to say that the patient is unable to leave their homes independently or that they are still too weak or sick to go out for recreational purposes. The thought behind this stipulation is that if the patient is well enough to go shopping or out to lunch, then they are well enough to get care or therapy services in an out patient clinic.

A patient sent home with a newly prescribed diet, medication, wound care or diagnosed with a new medical condition are all examples of individuals who wound benefit from some home health services. The home health nurse or therapist schedules a time to visit the patient and then comes to the home of the patient. Visits range from thirty minutes to an hour or so. There is plenty of time to teach the patient about any new treatment, medication or dietary changes.

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Guidelines for a Quality Home Health Service

Home Health is what a physician recommends on a short-term basis. This might be when a person is recovering from a severe illness or surgery, and needs assistance. Even after the hospital stay is over and they are in their house, the person might continue to need a period of nursing and medical assistance. This is what Home Health services offer. If you need the assistance of qualified Home Health personnel for yourself, or a loved one, here are a few frequently asked questions and answers.

In what situations can Home Health be recommended?

It is a specialized recommendation by the physician. The medical practitioner might determine that you need the services of nursing practitioners while you recover in your own home.

Is it covered by Mediclaim programs?

It is focused on providing medical assistance. It is usually paid by Medicare. It is meant to provide financial assistance to homebound people who are temporarily unable to leave their home without assistance. According to Medicare guidelines, if the person leaves home for “…short, infrequent trips…such as a trip to the barber…more than once a week” they are not eligible for Mediclaim coverage.

What kind of services could be covered under it?

It usually focuses on different kinds of specialized therapies to help you while you are rehabilitating. Often a person might temporarily lose the functions of certain parts of his body, or the ability to speak properly due to certain medical conditions. Health practitioners can offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, or therapy for speech or language fluency, to assist the person in their recovery. It is completely medical and does not include services to assist with basic ‘sitter’ functions such as dressing or grooming. If you require a service that assists the person with everyday functions on a long-term basis in home surroundings, in-home care could be an option.

How long does the trained nurse remain everyday with the person being cared for?

A Home Health nurse usually does not stay more than an hour. Their services focus on the medical assistance that has been recommended by the physician to help the person recover. A home care giver on the other hand offers to assist the person with everything that they find difficult to do on their own, including preparing food and going on errands. They might also escort the person for medical appointments.

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Recuperate at Home with Home Health Service

For people who need extended care after surgery, a fall, or who are experiencing health problems, home health service offer a new avenue of rehabilitation beyond the hospital or nursing home that allows patients and clients to stay in their own home, recover, and get well. Years ago, there were relatively few choices for a patient who needed after surgery or recovery care and who might not have someone at home to provide it. That has now changed, and the options available to patients continue to expand and grow.

In recent years, there has been a boom in the Home Health Industry due to an aging population. Research suggest that people recover more quickly from injury and illness in their own homes, around familiar surroundings, and where friends and family can visit more often. Because of a higher demand to be at home, and because home care service is typically cheaper than a hospital or nursing home, home health services have expanded their offerings to include a variety of services that allow patients to stay at home and retain their independence.

A home health service offers the traditional nursing functions that are found in a hospital or nursing home environment: basic medical functions such as giving medications, helping with bandage and dressing changes, checking vital signs; moving patients, giving baths, physical therapy, etc. Many now offer services beyond that: extended socializing with the patient (reading books and magazines, playing cards, talking), running errands, preparing meals, helping with exercise, shopping – the list goes on. Performing these extended functions really helps those patients who don’t have families, or whose families can’t be with their loved one around the clock.

Because home health service is typically cheaper than staying in the hospital or nursing home, insurance companies and Medicare will cover many of the costs of home care. It is important to check your policy carefully, and understand what services are covered for your type of illness, and for how long. A reputable home health service will work very closely with patients and families to determine exactly what is or isn’t covered, and to determine the best course of care for a particular patient.

If you are looking for home health service, make sure to shop around and carefully evaluate the different companies to find a good, reputable company. Make sure that the medical employees such as doctors, nurses, and therapists are registered and have experience in providing services needed. Ask for the average length of employment for employees. A good service should offer local and reliable references who can comment on the company and the services provided. Make sure to call references, and also ask around the community for references. Ensure that the provider has the services you are looking for, and that they are flexible enough to meet your needs. It is important to interview several health care providers, and to make your decision based on quality and cost, so that you get the absolute best care for the money you spend.

Home health service today offers so much to patients who are recuperating from surgery or illness. These services offered allow patients to recover comfortably in their own home, without stressing families who can’t provide many of those services, and they provide peace of mind and independence for recovering individuals. Investigating home health service options is something all patients should do if they are ill, or are experiencing health problems. Many patients and their families are pleasantly surprised by the different services many of these care services offer.

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Home Health Services

Home health services are now becoming popular as a response to the growing need for trained medical personnel to attend to family members’ needs for care and attention. The services can be given to the elder or to a family member who has just returned home from hospital treatment but still needs direct medical attention to monitor the condition. With home health services, the home can become an extension of the hospital in terms of care, attention, support and expertise. Here, high level of medical assistance and quality care are given at the most convenient and comfortable place – the home.

There are many home health services that can be availed of. Most hospitals already provide such services when requested by patients. These services include the following:

1. Professional Services

These services include the traditional nursing care and attention, occupational, speech and physical therapy, health aides or caregivers and social workers. As these professionals practice their profession in your home, they will also provide the necessary education to the patient for better understanding of the illness and how to best recover from such.

The medical personnel are trained in all aspects of patient care and they know the specific treatment and attention needed at the given time. This is what makes home health services different from ordinary care giving services. The medical expertise assures you of high level of quality and experience in handling different medical situations.

2. Pharmaceuticals and Infusion Therapy

Skill and compassion go together as trained medical personnel administer home health services to your loved one. The treatments can include transfusions, pain management, antibiotic care and chemotherapy. The treatments include the practice of psychology for patient preparedness and acceptance. This is the expertise that only trained medical personnel can provide and this is part of the home health services given by reputable agencies.

3. Hospice

Pain control, symptom management, bereavement and other needs for those who have terminal conditions are given as part of home health services. Compassion and care are always present to help families cope with difficult situations.

4. Respiratory Care

Since respiratory system illnesses are delicate and would need the expertise of certified respiratory therapists, this is included in the home health services provided by agencies and hospitals. This allows a comprehensive approach to the treatment of the condition with the therapeutic procedures administered with utmost care and expertise.

5. Management of Chronic Illnesses

Conditions that include asthma, pulmonary disease, coronary failure, wound care, cystic fibrosis and diabetes would need expert management. You cannot just entrust your loved one to somebody who does not understand the nature of these diseases. It is best to have personnel to administer all necessary treatments to help ease the condition and at the same time practice good psychology for patient understanding. This is one of the home health services that require high level of patient attention.

With home health services, you can make your ailing or old family member enjoy the comforts of the home and not dwell too much on the sickness. Hospital setup can sometimes add to the negative psychological condition and can make the situation worse. With the home environment, personalized and sincere attention is given as part of home health services that you can avail for your loved one.

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