Home care for individuals experiencing a health challenge has existed for as along as there have been homes, although not in a formal capacity prior to the early to mid 1800s. While home care providers did not have the kind of medical equipment and supplies that exist today, they certainly provided care to their loved ones.
These days, millions of people across the United States receive health care in the comfort of their homes and there are thousands of home health care providers. It’s both convenient and practical, eliminating barriers that some patients would have otherwise experienced when they needed health care but were unable to visit a healthcare facility.
There are a variety of different kinds of health care providers that include long-term home health care aides and hospice care workers. Although the length of time in which they provide care is different, they both require the appropriate credentials, as well as the appropriate medical equipment and supplies in order to fulfill their job requirements and provide sufficient support.
Conditions For Which Patients Receive Home Health Services
They broad range of services provided to patients requiring home health services varies greatly and may include nursing, physical therapy, social work, respiratory therapy, nutritional services, occupational therapy and speech therapy service, among others. In many instances, specialized knowledge is required. For example, individuals suffering from kidney failure have the option of home dialysis. As of recent years, advanced equipment is easy to use by patients and their caregivers.
In addition to chronic illnesses, home health services are used to allow patients an opportunity to recover from a hospital stay. This provides them with a level of independence while still having the support they need. Another benefit of home health services is that patients who receive care in their home are far less likely to be readmitted to a hospital.
How Home Health Services Are Paid
Medical equipment and supplies are sometimes paid by Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Medicaid or Medicare. Whether or not equipment and supplies are paid for by a healthcare organization varies and is dependent upon many factors. Some of the most common conditions for which home health services are provided include heart failure, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and ulcers. It’s common for caregivers to spend approximately 20 hours each week providing home health care. They often become a trusted and valued resource to both the patient and their family members.
Challenges Associated With Home Health Services
Although there is clear value in the use of home health services, there have been some challenges in recent years with the efficiency of processes for patients who receive care through Medicare. Essentially, Medicare beneficiaries are required to visit a doctor before and after starting home health services as part of the approval process. During this visit, the patient’s doctor is required to certify that home health services are necessary. In prior years, an actual doctor visit was not required for a prescription to be valid – the usual doctor visit would suffice. The approval process may vary for HMOs and PPOs.