What’s home health care?

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What’s home health care?

Home health care is a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF). Some examples of skilled home health services include:

  • Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound

  • Patient and caregiver education

  • Intravenous or nutrition therapy

  • Injections

Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status In general, the goal of home health care is to treat an illness or injury, help you recover from it, and manage any chronic conditions you have. Home health care helps you:

  • Be independent

  • Prevent complications in a chronic illness or injury

  • Have better quality of life

Home health care does not include housekeeping, cooking, and other non-skilled services.

Home health care is most often used for elderly people who may be unable to perform ordinary tasks such as taking medicine, preparing food, bathing themselves, or getting in and out of bed without assistance. This type of elder care usually lasts only a short time, until you are able to do these things on your own again (also called “nursing home care”). It is also sometimes used for people who have a long-term illness or disability and living at home may be more helpful than staying in the hospital.

Wound care, which includes wound cleaning and dressing changes, can help heal chronic or serious cuts and injured areas of your skin.

Home health care workers can be either healthcare professionals such as nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, home-health aides (also called Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)), or personal care assistants (PCAs). They typically get background checks before they are hired to work in someone’s home.

In the US, Medicare covers home health care for people who are homebound. This means that you can’t leave your house without help from another person. Your doctor must say that you are homebound to qualify for Medicare coverage at Home Health Care Plan . In general to get Medicare coverage for home health care:

  • You have to be homebound for a period of time after a hospital stay of at least three days.

  • Your doctor must certify that you need skilled nursing care or physical, occupational, or speech therapy

  • The medical review process includes a decision-making group that considers your diagnosis and how long you will need treatment.

In some cases, Medicaid covers home health care if the person receiving services is certified as medically disabled under Title 16 Chapter 69 Section 5102 WAC. If the person receiving services has a primary diagnosis related to mental illness, developmental disabilities or substance abuse they would not qualify for Medicaid coverage under this section. In some cases, an individual may qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid coverage. To learn more about the programs and services offered in your area, contact your local County Aging, Disability & Veterans Services Office.

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