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Home Health Care

Home Health Care Services: Remaining at Home?

In the U.S., demand for home healthcare services is growing rapidly. In recent years, a variety of factors have contributed to this.

First, baby boomers have reached an age when they will need more assistance. The pandemic made people hesitant about living in senior communities. As a precaution, some seniors who live in retirement communities have moved back to a single family home (or their families have done so). One of the main reasons for this rise in demand for home healthcare services is that seniors have a long-held affinity for their “home.”

Home health care services

Home health care is a broad term that covers many different services. In its simplest form, however, it’s care given to someone in their home. This care can be delivered by someone who comes to the house for a few hours each week or by a person that moves in and offers around-the clock assistance.

It is important to note that there is a huge difference between a need for a little help with household tasks or dressing and a need for 24/7 nursing care. Home health care services can be divided into two main categories: non-medical and medical.

Medical Care

This type of home healthcare is provided by a healthcare professional. It could be a nurse, doctor or other medical professional, such as a respiratory therapist or physical therapist.

People who require medical home care have needs that are more complex than just self-care and household chores. These people may need services such as wound care, IVs or medicine injections, or tube feeding. A physician would usually prescribe and manage this type of care.

This type of home medical care can be either short-term (such as after an illness or surgery) or long-term (such as after a stroke, or during a terminal disease).

Non-medical Care

Non-medical home care is also available. Non-medical home care is typically provided by a Home Health Aide (also known as a Home Care Aide). This includes help with daily activities (ADLs). ADLs can include help with bathing, dressing or using the toilet. Also included are help with transportation, shopping, meal preparation, other housekeeping duties, and even helping to prepare meals.

Non-medical home care can also be temporary or long-term (as an example, if a person has had shoulder surgery or is unable to drive due to numbness in their right foot or needs assistance with bathing and dressing).

Find the Home Health Care Services You Need

Although there are some independent contractors that work as home health aids, most people work with a home care agency to coordinate services for themselves or a loved one. You can ask your doctor for recommendations on home health agencies in the area. Word-of-mouth from friends is also a good way to find reputable agencies.

If you choose to use an agency, a nurse will come to your home for a consultation to assess the situation. She will then determine the services that are required. The nurse will create a customized care plan, matching your needs to a caregiver with the right skillsets, availability and personality.

The benefits of home health care

Home health care can be an option for seniors who want to stay at home.

Home health care has other benefits. Regular, predictable home health care visits can help reduce loneliness and negative health effects that can be caused by isolation. Home health care can also reduce hospital admissions, as these caregivers are trained to spot potential health issues before they worsen.

Home health care can also reduce the burden of family caregivers, sometimes significantly. It can provide families with peace of mind and ease anxiety. It can also reduce other negative health and economic consequences.

The Bottom Line

Home health care can be a great solution for those who want to stay in their home as long as they possibly can. Seniors can receive exactly the level of care that they need, from assistance with household chores to full-time nursing. This service relieves family caregivers from some of their responsibilities, and it can also ease loneliness in the elderly.

Some people may find home health care prohibitively expensive, or may feel uncomfortable with the idea that a “stranger”, who is not a family member, will be in their house. If they wish to stay in their current home, these people will have to rely upon family or friends for their care.

Do your research before hiring a caregiver for home health care. Referrals from trusted doctors or friends are a great way to start. Ask all your questions to the caregiver or agency and make sure you are comfortable with their responses. Keep looking if it doesn’t feel right. You will find the provider that is best for you.