What Is Medical Home Health Care?

Medical home health care, also just called home health care, provides you with the same type of care you would receive in a facility like a nursing home right in your own home. This type of care can include skilled nursing care, physical therapy, and assistance with medications, but really depends on what’s been prescribed by your doctor.

Medical home health care is licensed medical care provided in your home. It is very different than non-medical home care, in which caregivers help with daily activities such as bathing, getting dressed, grooming, moving about, and managing and taking medications.

Medical home health care is typically provided by licensed medical professionals like nurses or physical therapists, who will only perform specific tasks that have been prescribed by your doctor.

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What Is Medical Home Health Care Like?

With medical home health care, licensed medical professionals such as RNs and LPNs will give you the medical care you require right in your home. However, they will only provide the specific services prescribed by a doctor. The medical professionals who come to your home to care for you are typically assigned by a state-licensed home health care agency.

It’s important to note that your doctor’s orders are typically needed to begin home health care. Once your doctor refers you for services, the home health care agency will usually schedule an appointment and come to your home to talk to you and your family about your needs, and to ask questions about your health. And as the agency’s staff cares for you, they will provide the doctor with updates on your progress.

Home health care is often used following surgery, when you are able to leave the hospital, but still require medical attention. If that’s the case, the nurses caring for you will perform tasks like changing bandages on wounds, inserting and removing catheters and IVs, giving you injections for pain and monitoring your progress. You may also need home health care if you’re suffering from an illness or have an unstable health status, and want to stay in your home.

Besides medical care, home health care services will often include educating the patient and family on how to provide ongoing care and on things like diet and nutrition.

Medical home health care may be delivered in conjunction with other types of home services, such as companion care, in which a home companion spends time with you and helps with household chores, cooking, errands and transportation; and non-medical home care, which is when a home care aide assists you with personal care like bathing, grooming, going to the bathroom, and moving about in your home.

Is Medical Home Health Care Right for Me?

Consider these statements below to determine if they describe you:

Independence

  • I need medical or nursing care on a regular basis.
  • I like having my own living space.
  • I like being independent.
  • I do not want to leave my home.
  • I prefer to live on my own, but do not have a relative or friend who can stay with me all the time.
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Daily Living

  • I need help getting in and out of the bathtub or taking a bath or shower.
  • I need help getting dressed.
  • I need assistance with personal grooming.
  • I get my medicines mixed up or can’t remember when to take them.
  • I can no longer cook or need help preparing meals.
  • I can no longer drive or can only drive very short distances.
  • I no longer feel safe in my home.
  • I feel isolated in my home.

If most or all of the above Independence statements apply to you, then medical home care is a good option if you are able to stay in your home.

  • If you are unable to stay in your home, then also consider skilled nursing care.
  • If most or all of the Daily Living statements also apply to you, then you should consider companion care, in addition to medical home health care, if you are able to stay in your home.

 If most or all of the above Independence and Daily Living statements apply to you, but you do not need nursing or medical care on a regular basis, then companion care may be a good option for you if you are able to stay in your home.

  • If you are unable to stay in your home, then you may want to consider assisted living.
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What to Expect from Medical Home Health Care?

Services

According to Medicare, home health care staff should typically perform the following tasks when caring for you:

  • Check what you’re eating and drinking.
  • Check your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and breathing.
  • Check that you’re taking your prescription and other drugs and any treatments correctly.
  • Ask if you’re having pain.
  • Check your safety in the home.
  • Teach you about your care so you can take care of yourself.
  • Coordinate your care. This means they must communicate regularly with you, your doctor, and anyone else who gives you care.

If you receive home health care following surgery, they may also  provide the following types of services:

  • Changing bandages on wounds
  • Inserting and removing catheters and IVs
  • Giving you injections for pain
  • Administering medication
  • Monitoring your progress

Keep in mind that services will vary depending on what your physician has ordered.

Costs

Home health care costs can vary based on where you live and the length of time you need care. Home health care that is ordered by a doctor is typically covered by Medicare, but only for a limited amount of time.

According to Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the National Daily Median cost of Home Health Care in the United States is $127 per day.