Home health care is the first part of the recovery process when overcoming an injury or illness.
Home health care is for patients who are considered homebound. Medicare defines homebound as, needing the help of another person or medical equipment such as crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair to leave the home, or a doctor believes that one’s health or illness could get worse when leaving the home. The patient is homebound if it is difficult to leave the home and they typically cannot do so.
Home health care is often provided after a recent stay within the hospital. Along with the care provided via physicians, specialists, and nurses the hospital also provide case managers to oversee the care. The case manager is in in charge of putting together a discharge plan after speaking with members of the healthcare team.
Within this discharge plan there may be appointments already set with home health care providers, as well as supplemental services that may have been discussed such as private duty care or various alternatives. Case managers typically hold strong relationships with the providers that they feel have helped the hospital’s patients in the past.
If a patient is not being discharged from the hospital home health care may still be provided. However, a patient cannot receive home health care services without an order from the physician. Therefore, an in-home assessment or visit with the physician may be necessary prior to start of care.
Many agencies have developed ongoing relationships with the care team in and outside of the hospital including physicians, specialists and case managers. With that being said, hospitals and care agencies may be reimbursed based on low readmission rates. Therefore, the healthcare team is going to recommend an agency that has a great track record, and will provide the right care to get the patient back to normal functioning. However, patient choice is very much existent, therefore the patient may choose to interview or review various agencies to determine what might be best.
Home health care is a relatively quick part of the recovery process. Many times service will only last two to four weeks depending on the rate of recovery for the patient. Unfortunately, many involved in the care team believe this is insufficient. However, due to Medicare guidelines there is only so much that can be done. Therefore, individuals have three choices following the discharge from home health,
As the recovery process continues on, it is important the patient moves forward at a comfortable pace. Recovery is not something that is rushed, nor should it be taken lightly. At the end of it all, all providers want to see the patient or client return to the activities and joy they had prior to injury or illness.