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What Is Home Health Care? 9 Things to Know

If you or a loved one have experienced a change in health, you might be looking for ways to cope. You might likewise be wondering what is home health care and if it can benefit you. As the name suggests, it is intended to keep patients in their homes for as long as possible. But this only skims the surface of the many services available; it’s also highly flexible and can range from minor household tasks to care that requires more extensive knowledge.

What Is Home Health Care? 9 Things to Know

1. Encompasses Many Activities

Home care is a broad term under which many support services fall. The goal is to help patients safely and effectively manage chronic health concerns, recover from an injury or illness, or live independently with special needs or disabilities. Durations can range from short- to long-term, and a number of professionals – including certified therapists, aides, and nurses – can comprise the team.

The level of care provided depends on a patient’s specific needs. Some of the most common services include:

  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Help with daily activities like bathing and dressing
  • Assistance completing tasks around the house, such as cooking and cleaning
  • Companionship
  • Nursing care, including dressing wounds and checking vitals

2. Makes Sense of Medical Directives

The path to healthy living is rarely straightforward; instead, it often requires patients to remember numerous tasks that must be correctly executed. Examples include taking medications at the right time and in the correct doses and taking and recording blood pressure readings. Remembering everything the doctor orders is challenging, especially when he or she wants a continual cycle of feedback.

Home health care providers bridge the gap between doctor and patient to seamlessly translate orders into efficient treatment plans. In short, they can help you make sense of medical directives and stay on track. And when you’re not feeling well enough to record and deliver the information your doctor wants, your home health care provider can step in and do this for you.

3. Reduces Hospital Visits

Because home health care comes to you, it’s perceived as very convenient; but equally important, it also allows professionals to monitor your progress. This means preventing setbacks that can impede your recovery or compound existing conditions. In many cases, home care is comprised of a clinical team rather than just one individual. Their job is to assess your attitude, identify obstacles, and inspire you to live as independently as possible. 
The combined elements of regularly monitoring your health and improved self-sufficiency reduce repeat hospital visits. This statement is rooted in science, as studies confirm home health care can dramatically lower readmissions and reduce overall health care spending for patients newly released from the hospital.

4. Is for People of All Ages and Circumstances

Many people associate home health care with patients who can’t get out of bed. The reality is much different, as services are designed to help a variety of people facing many different situations. These include patients who are homebound, defined as:

  • Needing assistive devices like walkers or crutches to leave the house
  • Able to leave only for short periods
  • Under physicians’ orders to stay home so their conditions do not worsen

But in answering what is home health care, we must also discuss those forced to complete daily activities in different ways. These patients can be of all ages, from elderly to young, and can reflect a variety of circumstances, including those recovering from accidents as well as those adjusting to new medications or new diagnoses. And, finally, care can be tailored for those suffering from age-related cognitive disorders, such as dementia.

5. Focuses on Your Comfort

Many patients feel isolated after being discharged from the hospital, especially as they no longer have regular contact with their team of doctors. This is true even of those who haven’t been admitted to the hospital but need ongoing care; they feel disconnected from their providers and, without guidance, can suffer medical setbacks.
Home health care ensures you are both mentally and physically comfortable. It’s designed to provide support in the environment where you spend most of your time: home. But you receive more than routine care; professionals also work with you to improve your health and wellness. If a physician later determines home care is no longer necessary, social workers can assist you and your loved ones in continuing to safely and effectively manage your health.

6. Provides Holistic Care

Health care tends to be very segmented in delivery; one provider focuses on heart health, another examines your eyes, and still another treats skin disorders. Home health care, however, approaches patients from a more holistic perspective. 
These professionals can teach you valuable skills, such as learning to recognize symptoms, and arm you with stress reduction techniques and/or nutritional counseling. They can also help you manage your living environment so any hazards or safety concerns get immediately addressed. Home health care providers can even facilitate family dynamics to ensure you recover in the most nourishing way possible.

7. Can Be Initiated by You

As a patient’s health care needs evolve, it’s not unusual to grapple with new medications or growing physical limitations. Rather than contend with these factors in a way that diminishes your quality of life, you can ask your physician if home health care is right for you. This discussion is one that patients often wait for doctors to initiate, but taking control of your health care can get you the services you need when you need them.
Some signs suggesting this care may be right for you or a loved one include:

  • Increased risks of falling in the home
  • Difficulty getting to and from doctors’ appointments
  • Frequent lapses in medication as they are forgotten or skipped
  • Rehabilitative needs after a hospital stay

8. Can Support Family Members

Family members play increasingly pivotal roles in caring for loved ones. These individuals, however, sometimes feel unprepared to complete the tasks they are faced with, and resources can be hard to find. A study by AARP confirms that 80% of caregivers want more information on caregiving topics, including keeping family members safe and coping with their own stress.
Home health care providers can ease these burdens by giving family caregivers much-needed breaks. These professionals can also:

  • Ensure loved ones receive the best care possible
  • Arm family members with the support they need
  • Reduce family caregiver burnout

9. Requires Trust to Be Successful

Trust is integral to building a successful relationship between a patient and his or her chosen home health care provider. You and your family alike must believe the provider will always act in your best interests. With this key component, you can enjoy greater peace of mind; without it, you’re only adding to existing concerns.

We therefore recommend you first meet with a provider, ask them questions, and then make your decision. If the partnership doesn’t feel like a good match, continue meeting with additional providers until you feel you can place your trust in that person.

What is home health care? A way to keep patients in their homes, with safety and dignity, for as long as possible. Patients and their family members select the services they need, with physician approval, and enjoy benefits like coordinated care and increased information. Learn how we can honor you or your loved one today by calling Parent Care in Brooklyn, NY.

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