Home Health Care encompasses a wide range of health care services provided in the patient’s home with the purpose of maintaining his or her maximal level of function, health, and comfort. Home care is a collaborative effort involving family, physician, and an interdisciplinary home care team. It is a cost-effective alternative to extended hospitalization, rehabilitation, or a nursing home stay. Patients are usually more comfortable in their own home and studies have shown patients recover quicker at home.
All patients’ home health care needs are evaluated during the first visit by a RN or therapist. Under the direction of the patient’s physician and with input from the patient and family members, an individualized care plan is initiated. The care plan is continually assessed and updated as the patient’s needs change and as progress is made. All of this is documented in the patient’s chart.
In order to receive home health care services under Medicare, the patient must require skilled, intermittent nursing care, physical therapy, or speech therapy, have a physician’s order for home health care, and be essentially homebound. Medicare considers a person to be homebound if leaving the home would require a considerable and taxing effort and if s/he has a condition due to an illness or injury which restricts the ability to leave home except with the aid of devices such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, walkers, special transportation, or assistance of another person. Homebound patients may leave their home if absences from the home are infrequent or for periods of relatively short duration, or for the purpose of receiving medical treatment.