HOME HEALTH CARE: HOW TO KNOW WHAT YOUR NEEDS ARE
Whether you are a patient or a health care provider, knowing about home health care and the different types of services offered is not always easy. Home health care can incorporate a wide range of health care services given in your home following an illness or injury. It is generally less expensive — and more comfortable — than receiving the same quality and level of care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
November is Home Health Care and Hospice Month. Ethos Home Care is the Fargo-Moorhead, Grand Forks and Detroit Lakes’ home for quality care that is provided with compassion. Whether you are seeking home health care or hospice care, we offer a wide range of services that can help you with chronic disease management, receive skilled nursing care, monitor you for signs of active recovery, and supply you with the latest in at-home health care technology to ensure you are protected and can receive assistance around the clock.
Examples of Skilled Home Health Care Services
Home health care services can include, but are not limited to:
- Wound care: Services meant to promote wound management and accelerate the healing process
- Patient and caregiver education: Educational information, tools, and resources for patients and caregivers to help them control and care for chronic health conditions
- Intravenous or nutrition therapy: Parenteral nutrition delivered intravenously using a variety of methods
- Injections: Injections of drugs or biologicals, and port catheter injections
- Health status monitoring: Ongoing care to help a person’s transition from the hospital to the home
All of these services are aimed at helping the patient:
- Get better
- Regain independence
- Become as self-sufficient as possible
- Maintain current conditions or level of function
- Slow any decline in physical or cognitive abilities
What Should You Expect From Home Health Care?
Since home health care bridges the gap between a healthcare facility and improved health and independent living, you should expect that your home health care providers will use a variety of tools and techniques to care for you or your loved one.
- A doctor’s order will begin health care. Once you are referred to a specialist like Ethos, the home health agency will schedule an appointment and come to your home to assess your health, your needs, your living conditions, and what you may need to get started on the road to recovery.
- Your home health agency will work with you, your doctor and, if needed, other specialists to coordinate care and update parties on progress.
- You should expect that your home health staff will see you as often as your doctor orders.
A home health care specialist may carry out a wide variety of tasks to ensure your comfort and healing. Those can include:
- Asking about what you are eating and drinking
- Checking your vital signs, including blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and respiration rate
- Ensuring that you are taking your prescriptions and other drugs and treatments according to the doctor’s orders
- Asking if you have any pain and how severe it is
- Teaching you about care so you can take care of yourself
- Communicating regularly with you, your doctor, and any other specialists who may be called in to provide care
Not All Home Health Care Is Created Equally
While they may all look the same, there are in reality many types of home health care workers. They include:
- Personal care and companionship workers: These are usually non-medical specialists who help with everyday activities such as waking up, bathing, dressing, personal care, meal preparation, and household tasks to enable your independence and safety.
- Home health care nursing care staff: These are trained medical specialists who conduct long-term home-based skilled nursing, as well as long-term nursing, care for a chronic illness, injury or disability, and care for ventilators, tracheostomies, and other specialized nursing needs. These professionals can also care for diseases and conditions such as spinal cord injury, ALS, and traumatic brain injury, as well as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Visiting nursing services and intermittent skilled care: This is generally short-term, physician-directed care that helps the patient recover from an illness, injury, or hospital stay.
How Is Home Health Care Paid For?
Depending on your age, injury, income, background, and other factors, there can be a variety of ways to pay for skilled home health care, and a quality provider like Ethos will help you find the best coverage for you at the least cost (and maybe even no cost!).
The main ways to pay for personal care at home include:
- Private pay: You pay out of pocket
- Medicaid: Health coverage for low-income people, families and children, the elderly, and people with disabilities
- Medicare: People who are 65 and older, some younger people with disabilities, and people with conditions such as end-stage renal disease
- Long-term care insurance: A specific kind of health insurance coverage
- Health insurance: Health insurance through an employer, a health exchange, or bought on the open market
- Veterans benefits: Enrolled veterans
- Workers compensation: People injured on the job whose employers have workers comp insurance
How Do I Select the Right Home Care Provider
In some cases, you may be able to choose the home health care provider that you want. In this case, you will want to learn more about their services and reputation. Factors to look at include:
- How long they have been serving your community
- How well they can explain their services, if you are eligible, and how it is all paid for
- Certification and training the staff have
- How the provider ensures patient confidentiality
- If the provider includes family members when developing a care plan
- What procedures are in place to handle emergencies
How to Find Out More About Home Health Care
Are you interested in learning more? Click the link below to take a short assessment and learn about your care needs.