Home health care encompasses a broad spectrum of services:
• Skilled Nursing Care
• Physical Therapy
• Occupational Therapy
• Speech-Language Therapy
• Medical Social Services
The purpose of home health care is to make these services available to patients at home. The home health staff coordinates the care and the professionals performing the services. The ordering physician determines the level of care provided as part of home health care. Home health aims to help patients maintain or improve their social, physical and mental well-being.
Home health staff stays in constant communication with the physician and provides regular updates on the progress of the patient. Changes to the personalized care plan can be made as needed, as long as the responsible physician authorizes it. There are a couple of reasons why the utilization of home health care has increased over the past years.
1. Advancements in medical science and technology
Trained medical staff can now safely perform at home many of the treatments that once confined patients to hospital beds. Physical therapy, speech-language therapy, for example, can easily be delivered outside of the hospital in the comfort of the patient’s home.
2. Home health care is less expensive than receiving care in the hospital
Home health care is significantly less expensive than care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. Even more importantly, in the majority of cases, patients and their families prefer to stay at home. Instead of getting admitted to a hospital or a nursing home to receive certain medical services, when the choice is given, patients choose to receive them at home.
Education is also a much-appreciated aspect of home health. Home health staff educates patients and their caregivers on how they can continue their care after home health care. Learning how to self-administer medication, care for wounds, or manage stress are an essential component of home health. Home health is not permanent and is typically not intended to provide 24-hour care. The primary objective is to provide access to care on the short-term, to help recover from injury or illness.