As we age, we’re more prone to illnesses and falls. Unlike during our younger years, a fall or illness, no matter the severity, is more likely to need extended care and treatment. Though some opt for care from family and friends, sometimes doctors recommended a professional care provider. This type of care is known as home health care and is used as a method of keeping a patient out of the hospital or other similar facility for most or all of the duration of assigned care. Because home health care can be a bit confusing, we’ve complied a short summary of what home health care is, who provides it, what to expect during care and lastly, when care should begin.
What is home health care
Essentially, home health care covers a wide range of health care services that are given within the compounds and comforts of one’s own home. Home health care can be provided both after an injury as well as during an illness and is known as being the cheaper alternative to a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay. This type of care is also known as being just as effective as hospital and nursing facility care.
With the help of home health care, seniors are allowed to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible. With home health care, seniors receive help in regaining confidence, independence and self sufficiently all while recovering.
Who provides home health care
Unlike in-home care, where care can be provided by family members or friends, home health care is provided solely by skilled medical professionals that come straight to the home. These professionals include nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists. Qualified home health aides can also provide non-medical care for those who have suffered a debilitating fall or are struggling due to a recent illness. This care usually includes assistance in bathing, dressing, eating, cooking, cleaning and other daily household chores and activities.
What to expect during home health care
Before care can begin, a doctor, whether it be your own family doctor, specialist or ER doctor, must give out medical orders describing what care is needed. Then a member of your chosen home health agency, hospital or public health department will schedule an appointment in your home. This appointment will be used to target the areas of medical care needed, how often it will be needed and length of care.
Once care has begun, the assigned staff member(s) will generally monitor your fluid intake and eating patterns and amounts, check your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and breathing on a normal basis, check to make sure that all prescriptions and other drugs are taken as prescribed, make sure you’re not in any unexpected pain and help to teach you about your health care plan of action. If a therapist is needed, the therapist will follow a therapy schedule that has been agreed upon with the doctor who ordered the care.
When home health care should begin
The overall goal of home health care is to treat an existing illness or injury, meaning that care doesn’t start until after a fall or after an illness has been diagnosed. Generally, home health care should start right away so that a routine and treatment plan can be established before the condition worsens. This also helps to allow the medical professional to successfully monitor care from the very beginning to the end, whether that end be placement into a hospital or nursing facility or a full recovery to where outside care is no longer needed.
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