What Is Home Health Care?
Home health care is doctor-ordered care that can be given in the home. Elder home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient and just as effective as care given in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The goal is to treat an illness or injury, helping an individual to get better, regain independence, and become as self-sufficient as possible.
For instance, a senior who suffers from a fall may need recuperative treatment, medication management, assistance with ambulation and/or transfers, and physical therapy – all services that fall under the umbrella of home health care. An older adult diagnosed with COPD who requires breathing treatments, someone challenged by a GI disease who needs help with tube feedings and infusions, or a senior recovering from a heart attack who requires monitoring of vital signs, diet, and medications throughout recovery can all benefit from home health care services as well.
In general, home health care includes intermittent, doctor-ordered home visits to provide skilled nursing care or other skilled services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services. Services may also include medical social services, dietician services or assistance from a home health aide, and these services are typically covered by Medicare. Nightingale Homecare is the preferred home health care agency serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Maricopa County, AZ. We work closely with each of our clients’ physicians to determine which of these services is required and are responsible for providing all of the in-home nursing care needed.
In order for Medicare or other insurance to cover home health care, there are generally four requirements that must be met.
- Care must be ordered and overseen by a physician
- The individual must have been seen by a physician for the condition requiring home care no more than 90 days prior to the start of home care services or no later than 30 days after the start of home care services
- The individual must be “homebound,” meaning that leaving the home to receive care is unsafe, requires the assistance of other people and/or requires considerable and taxing effort
- The care needed is “skilled” and not “custodial.”
Skilled Nursing Care at Home
Skilled care is care that can only be delivered by a trained professional, such as a nurse or home health aide. For example, this would include services such as:
- Care of a complicated wound
- Development of a home exercise program to be implemented after a hip replacement
- Ostomy and catheter care
- IV and nutrition therapy
- Ventilator/tracheotomy care and support
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
- Education on chronic conditions for patients and their family caregivers
- Vital signs monitoring
- And more
While many people consider skilled nursing care to require a nursing home or long-term facility admission, these services are just as readily available – and, preferred – in the comfort of the senior’s home. In fact, care at home has been linked to reduced hospital admissions and re-admissions, better and faster healing, and other health benefits, in addition to the peace of mind and comfort that come from being in a familiar environment, with one-on-one personalized care.
Custodial care is a type of non-medical in home care that can be given by a non-professional home caregiver, companion, or aide. Generally, it is the help given to an individual to allow him or her to complete daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, eating, using the toilet, walking, etc. It also covers services such as:
- Running errands
- Household chores, laundry, and organization
- Providing motivation to maintain an active lifestyle, such as engaging in exercise programs
This type of care is not provided with the goal of helping someone heal from an illness or injury. It is provided to make sure daily activities are completed safely. While Medicare will cover custodial care given by a home health aide during the time that someone is receiving skilled care, ongoing custodial care is not paid for by Medicare. Many individuals utilize long-term care insurance policies to meet custodial care needs, or they pay privately for this type of care.
Read more about the difference between private pay services and home health care or contact our care team to learn more about our home care services throughout Arizona!