There’s no place like home

There’s no place like home

When it comes to recovering from an illness or injury, there’s no place like home.

Healthcare organizations understand that, and many have added home health to their services offerings. Whether it is called home health or home care, which are sometimes used interchangeably, the concept is similar: To provide the comfort and convenience of home-based care to patients who quality for the service.

Home health includes a wide range of patient care services: skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Home health aides can assist with personal care needs, including bathing and meal preparation.

Skilled nursing care, which is the same level of care someone would receive in the hospital, can include diabetic care, wound care, intravenous (IV) therapy, medication assessment, observation and evaluation, and patient and family education. Many people transition to home health after a stay in a hospital, rehab center, or skilled nursing facility. The primary goals are to help people recover and stay as independent as possible.

Traditional Medicare covers eligible home health services for people who are considered “homebound” and need part-time or intermittent skilled care. Services must be medically necessary and ordered by a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse practitioner, and must be provided by a Medicare-certified home health agency. In addition to skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, Medicare covers durable medical equipment and medical supplies for use at home.

Commercial health insurance plans typically cover some home care services when a person is recovering from surgery or illness. Benefits for long-term services vary from plan to plan.

The earliest organized effort to care for the sick at home was in 1813 by the Ladies Benevolent Society in Charleston, South Carolina. The women entered homes of the poor and dependent to provide care and domestic comfort.

Home health was included in the Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act in the 1960s. Over the years, legislative, judicial, and regulatory changes resulted in expansion of home health benefits.

Horizon Health has a home care program serving several Illinois counties. A provider’s order is needed to participate in the service. For more information, call 217-466-4466.