Home health care services may be an option for you and you may not even realize it. A lot of people think home health is only for individuals that are physically restricted to the confines of their home. Even some physicians may not realize their patients qualify for home health care.
Home health services are available for individuals facing a multitude of different health situations. Maybe you were just diagnosed with diabetes, or your chronic illness is worsening. Or perhaps you need rehabilitation after surgery, or you need help with your new medications.
You don’t have to go through this journey alone. Home health services can improve your health and help you adapt to a new normal. Read these five things you may not know about home health care so you can determine if it’s a good fit for you or a loved one.
1. Home Health Services Can Benefit Many People
There’s a misconception that home health services are only for people who are bed bound. But the reality is that home health is designed for a multitude of people in many different situations, such as those who are:
- Homebound, defined as:
- Unable to leave their home without the help of assistive devices such as crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair.
- Able to leave home for only a short period, but requires an enormous effort.
- Under physician’s advice to stay home because leaving home could cause their health to worsen.
- Experiencing difficulties in how they’re able to complete daily activities.
- Suffering from memory loss due to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or age-related cognitive changes.
- Adjusting to a new diagnosis or a new medication.
The individuals described above often require specialized care, such as nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. Home health covers these services and they’re able to evaluate the individual in the comfort of their own home.
2. Home Health Is Designed To Keep You In the Comfort Of Your Own Home.
Home health is not a lifelong service, the goal is to help you feel comfortable and confident caring for yourself. Home health professionals get to know you and your specific needs and preferences so they can customize a home health plan that is specific to you. You learn to improve your health and wellness from the comfort of your own home.
If you’re recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery, skilled nurses will work with you in the comfort of your own home to help you feel better and get back to your daily activities. You will receive all the care that is required, from wound care to orthopedic rehabilitation, without having to leave your home.
Once your physician determines that you no longer need home health care services, social workers are still available to help. They assist you, and your loved ones, for the next step in your recovery program and will help you find ongoing community resources.
3. Home Health Provides Care for the Whole Person
Home health will help people, and their loved ones, adjust to new health needs in a holistic way. Also, home health professionals will help individuals manage their living environment and their chronic conditions.
Home health professionals are the eyes and ears for the physician. They make sure a person’s living environment is safe and can recommend when someone would benefit from additional services, such as physical, speech, or occupational therapy.
The end goal of home health is to help individuals take care of themselves:
- Maintain your health and well-being: Learn how to recognize signs and symptoms so you can prevent a condition from getting worse and avoid unwanted trips to the hospital.
- Take medications appropriately: If your medications cause side effects, you’ll learn safe, practical ways to manage them. Home health professionals also check that you’re not taking two medications that do the same thing. They work with your physician to make sure the medication schedule is correct.
- Approach health holistically: In addition to medical advice and clinical support, you may benefit from learning stress reduction strategies as well as from nutritional counseling, where you learn how to eat a nourishing diet.
4. You Can Ask Your Physician About Home Health Services
Many people struggle with changing health needs because they don’t know that they can inquire about benefits. Talk to your physician about whether home health is right for you. If it is, your physician can order the home health services for you.
Ask your doctor about home health if you or a loved one:
- Has difficulty getting to or from doctors’ appointments
- Needs help with rehabilitation after a hospital stay
- Is at risk of falling in the home
5. Not All Home Health Agencies Are Equal
Before you sign with a home health agency, make sure it’s certified and that employees are vetted to ensure they’re providing high-quality care. Not sure where to start? Websites such as Medicare’s home health compare allow you to search for an agency by name, location, or even the quality of their rating.
When researching agencies, make sure to address when you or your loved one needs the care to begin. For example, if your mother needs physical therapy after a hip replacement, ask the agency: “How soon can your physical therapist come?” If a nurse says they have to assess the person first, the agency may not have a physical therapist readily available.
Agencies will sometimes recommend a care plan, but they may not have adequate staff to begin the plan immediately. At Heritage, we have physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and social workers on staff, so we’re equipped to meet individuals’ needs promptly.
Home Health Services at Heritage
If you feel you need more education about your health, talk to a doctor or nurse about your concerns.
Learn more about home health services at Heritage. We offer the full spectrum of care including:
- Skilled nursing, therapy, and medication management
- Compassionate, customized care for patients living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- A comprehensive fall prevention program called
If you’ve discussed home health with your physician, and you’re still not sure whether you or your loved one is eligible for services, give us a call. We can answer questions related to home health, rehabilitation and care following a hospital stay.