Imagine being disabled, too ill to care for yourself or having a condition that requires regular medical attention. Most people assume that a hospital or nursing home is the only option for care. However, with assistance from a home health care agency, you can receive care in the comfort of home. Home health care is an excellent, cost-effective alternative to hospital or other institutional care. Service is based on the individual's need and may range from 24-hour-a-day care to monthly visits from skilled nurses, therapists, social workers and/or home health aides.
What are the advantages of home health care?
In many cases, home health care permits a person to be discharged earlier from a hospital, reduces hospital admissions, assists with a more rapid recovery and fosters patient/physician relationships. Most importantly, the patient is often happier at home and receives more care and attention from family, friends and home health care professionals.
Who uses home health care services?
People of all ages use home health care services—from senior citizens to young children. Some examples include:
· those who are able to be discharged from a hospital or nursing home but need additional caret
· those who are terminally ill and want to live their final days with dignity surrounded by their loved ones in the comfort of their own home
· those who have short-term health needs
· those who need assistance, due to age or disability, to remain at home.
Who provides home health care?
In Michigan, there are two main types of home health care agencies— certified agencies and private duty agencies.
What types of professionals comprise the home health care team?
The home health care team consists of physicians, nurses, home health aides, medical social workers and therapists who coordinate care based on an individual's needs.
Physicians may recommend home health care services. They also authorize a coordinated treatment plan and periodically review services.
Nurses provide skilled services for the patient, supervise other caregivers and coordinate patient care with the physician. They may also train family members and friends to assist the professional caregivers and to help care for the patient. Home
Home health aides assist with a patient's personal care needs and are supervised by a nurse from the home health care agency. Typical assistance may include bathing, dressing, grooming, companionship, meal preparation and light housekeeping.
Medical Social Workers
Medical social workers assist the patient and family in a variety of ways by providing counseling services and directing them to other resources relevant to their situation. For example, medical social workers may help the patient obtain financial assistance or help him/ her meet certain emotional needs.
Physical, occupational, speech/language and respiratory therapists provide essential services based on the individual patient's needs. The therapist also may train other caregivers to assist the patient with exercises and routine care.
Who pays for home health care?
Medicare, Medicaid or other health insurances may cover the cost of home health care services. Some insurance policies will not cover all home health care services unless certain conditions are met. You can still obtain care without insurance coverage through a private duty agency on a private pay basis. Additionally, some agencies may have funding to help people who cannot afford the private pay option. The home health care agency will be able to assist in determining if the services you need are covered or if you need to make other arrangements.
Please review the differences between private duty and certified agencies as defined on pages 1 and 2 of this guide. Your insurance policy may specify what type of agency will be covered.
How is service initiated?
A physician, patient or family member can initiate service. However, Medicare, Medicaid and most insurances require physician involvement. Once the physician prescribes home health care, he/she authorizes a coordinated treatment plan, commonly called a "plan of care," and periodically reviews services and the patient's progress. If a physician does not prescribe home health care, but the individual still desires services, a private duty agency can suggest a plan of care to meet a wide variety of needs and budgets.