Information Source on Home Health Care



Home health care give seniors the opportunity to live independently for as long as possible, given the limits of their medical condition. It covers a wide range of services and can often delay the need for long-term nursing home care.

More specifically, home health care may include occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, and even skilled nursing. It may involve helping the elderly with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Or it may include assistance with cooking, cleaning, other housekeeping jobs, and monitoring one’s daily regimen of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

It is important to understand the difference between home health care and home care services. Although they sound the same (and home health care may include some home care services), home health care is more medically oriented. While home care typically includes chore and housecleaning services, home health care usually involves helping seniors recover from an illness or injury. That is why the people who provide home health care are often licensed practical nurses, therapists, or home health aides. Most work for home health agencies, hospitals, or public health departments that are licensed by the state.

When is Home Health Care Necessary?

Because it is not always clear to the average person when an ailing senior needs home health care and when he or she needs nursing home care, it is usually best to consult a medical professional for advice. The following case study describes one situation in which home health care proved to be the right choice.

Francis is 84 years old and recently had a stroke. She was hospitalized briefly and then discharged to continue recovering at home. To enable her to return home, her doctor called a home health care agency, and the agency gave Francis a complete home health care plan for six weeks. Since the doctor ordered the home care for Francis, Medicare paid for it.

For the first week after Francis went home, a nurse visited her every day. The nurse met with Francis’s family to discuss her special dietary needs and to arrange for exercise therapy to help Francis regain her strength. Once that was done, the nurse visited Francis twice a week to check on how well she was recovering. The home health care agency also sent a homemaker, a personal care attendant, and a physical therapist to visit Francis several times during the week. The homemaker would do the shopping and cook light meals. The personal care attendant would help Francis bathe, get dressed, and walk. The physical therapist would keep Francis moving and see to it that she got some exercise to aid in her recovery.

Is the Home Health Care - Qualtiy Care?

As with any important purchase, it is always a good idea to talk with friends, neighbors, and your local area agency on aging to learn more about the home health care agencies in your community.

In looking for a home health care agency, the following questions can be used to help guide your search:

When purchasing home health care directly from an individual provider (instead of through an agency), it is even more important to screen the person thoroughly. This should include an interview with the home health caregiver to make sure that he or she is qualified for the job. You should request references. Also, prepare for the interview by making a list if any special needs the senior might have. For example, you would want to note whether the elderly patient needs help getting into or out of a wheelchair. Clearly, if this is the case, the home health caregiver must be able to provide that assistance. The screening process will go easier if you have a better idea of what you are looking for first.

Another thing to remember is that it always helps to look ahead, anticipate changing needs, and have a backup plan for special situations. Since every employee occasionally needs time off (or a vacation), it is unrealistic to assume that one home health care worker will always be around to provide care. Seniors or family members who hire home health workers directly may want to consider interviewing a second part-time or on-call person who can be available when the primary caregiver cannot be. Calling an agency for temporary respite care also may help to solve this problem (see the Respite Care fact sheet for more information about these services).

In any event, whether you arrange for home health care through an agency or hire an independent home health care aide on an individual basis, it helps to spend some time preparing for the person who will be doing the work. Ideally, you could spend a day with him or her, before the job formally begins, to discuss what will be involved in the daily routine. If nothing else, tell the home health care provider (both verbally and in writing) the following things that he or she should know about the senior:

Health Care Professional Screening

Although most states require that home health care agencies perform criminal background checks on their workers and carefully screen job applicants for these positions, the actual regulations will vary depending on where you live. Therefore, before contacting a home health care agency, you may want to call your local area agency on aging or department of public health to learn what laws apply in your state.

What is the Cost of Home Health Care?

The cost of home health care varies across states and within states. In addition, costs will fluctuate depending on the type of health care professional required. Home care services can be paid for directly by the patient and his or her family members, or through a variety of public and private sources. Sources for home health care funding include Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the Veterans' Administration, and private insurance.

Medicare is the largest single payer of home care services. The Medicare program will pay for home health care if all of the following conditions are met: 1. The patient must be homebound and under a doctor’s care, 2. or the patient must need skilled nursing care, or occupational, physical, or speech therapy, on at least an intermittent basis which is, regularly but not continuously.

More Topics on Home Health Care

home health care
home health care services
in home health care
what is home health care
home health care agencies
home health care austin tx
at home health care
home health care employment
how to start a home health care business
medicare home health care
alliance home health care
home health care insurance
cambridge home health care
home health care agencies in chicago
home health care supplies
home health care agencies in arizona
premier home health care
right at home health care
home health care providers
home health care forms
starting a home health care business
home health care san diego
home health care mn
home health care jobs
home health care products
home health care agencies in illinois
home health care agencies in georgia
home health care business
home health care agency
home health care agencies in maryland
home health care agencies in michigan
home health care software
home health care equipment
home health care franchise
home health care training
home health care houston
home health care agencies in houston texas
in home health care jobs
heartland home health care
home health care agencies in florida
home health care agencies in columbus ohio
home health care jobs in michigan
home health care costs
home health care san antonio
home health care companies
abc home health care
home health care agencies in california
home health care agencies in missouri
home health care aide
home health care utah
pediatric home health care agencies
home health care jobs in dallas tx
how to start a home health care agency
home health care agencies in colorado
home health care agencies in atlanta ga
home health care nurse
home health care agencies in dc
home health care agencies in pa
home health care jobs in georgia
home health care tampa
starting home health care business
home health care indianapolis
griffin home health care
home health care certification
home health care nursing
accessible home health care
home health care kansas city
how to start home health care business
home health care aides
live in home health care
home health care jobs in houston texas
home health care of middle tennessee
home health care business plan
home health care agencies in virginia
in home health care for elderly
new york home health care
home health care denver
home health care provider
home health care nj
senior home health care
home health care marketing
home health care franchises
home health care cincinnati
home health care agencies in new york
home health care las vegas
home health care charlotte nc
home health care albuquerque
home health care industry
hudson home health care
home health care agencies in cleveland ohio
all valley home health care
home health care cost
private home health care
texas home health care
home health care jacksonville fl
home health care chicago
cost of home health care
home health care franchise opportunities
medicaid home health care
marketing home health care
home health care michigan