What is Home Health?

In a never ending effort to contain rising medical care costs patients find themselves discharged from hospital stays before healing is complete and in some cases even begun.

Like it or not, this trend is here to stay. Many times people are discharged home with new medications or newly diagnosed medical conditions with little or no teaching about how to manage their health or medications. Many patients return home only to bounce right back into the hospital through the emergency room due to some complication which wasn’t caught while hospitalized or didn’t exhibit until days after a discharge.

Home health nurses and therapists to the rescue!

While still in the hospital, the medical provider will write a referral to home health. If you or a loved one is about to be discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor if he or she thinks home health services are indicated.

Home health services are paid for by private insurance companies, Medicare or through state agencies as long as there are two conditions met. One is the patient has, “skilled needs”. That is a medical condition which requires teaching or a task done which must be done or monitored by a registered nurse or physical, occupational or speech therapist or medical social worker. The second condition is that the patient be, “home bound”. That is to say that the patient is unable to leave their homes independently or that they are still too weak or sick to go out for recreational purposes. The thought behind this stipulation is that if the patient is well enough to go shopping or out to lunch, then they are well enough to get care or therapy services in an out patient clinic.

A patient sent home with a newly prescribed diet, medication, wound care or diagnosed with a new medical condition are all examples of individuals who wound benefit from some home health services. The home health nurse or therapist schedules a time to visit the patient and then comes to the home of the patient. Visits range from thirty minutes to an hour or so. There is plenty of time to teach the patient about any new treatment, medication or dietary changes.

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