Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
How can Home Health support you in wellness?
Watch the WZZM13 On Your Side Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
November is Home Care and Hospice & Family Caregivers month.
This is the perfect time to reflect on how the medical community care support people living in the community and family caregivers.
Home Health is a benefit offered by most insurances for member that are homebound. Homebound means leaving your home is a considerable taxing effort and absences are infrequent or of short duration. Some examples of outings that would not exclude someone from being homebound would include:
- medical appointments
- infrequent, unique social gatherings (i.e. funeral, wedding, graduation).
While the benefit is meant to be used on an intermittent basis, there are many ways in which it can be beneficial. Home Health is often referred when a person is discharging from the hospital after an illness or injury, but primary care physician and rehabilitative centers can also get these services in place. When recovery at home is a viable option, having a Home Care involved ensures that you recover safely and to your fullest potential.
After an acute illness or surgery, people are often weaker than they were prior to a hospitalization. One may also need help to set up their home so they can move around more safely living with their new condition. Home Health services include Physician Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Language Therapy.
- Physical Therapy will help with strengthening, gait and balance training, setting up the environment so it is safer, recommendations for medical equipment to improve safety and reduce the risk for falls. PT can also develop a Home Exercise program that is unique to a person’s needs in their environment and train them on how to use their new medical equipment.
- Speech Therapy can help improve speech/language, in some cases cognitive function and swallowing or advance a diet as someone’s swallowing ability improves.
- Occupational Therapy are often thought of as the MacGyver of therapists. They are very creative in helping find the right adaptive equipment to allow a person to be as independent as possible in their environment. OT can develop Home Exercise Programs, typically for upper body and make recommendations for modifications to the home environment for safety and accessibility, especially for people living with low vision or impaired eye sight. OT can also help to improve some cognitive conditions.
Home Care nurses can manage your care in collaboration with your physician and an interdisciplinary team to ensure you have all the supportive services in place needed for your recovery as well as provide education regarding your medications, disease process and management. Nurses can provide teaching regarding disease processes and management, perform wound care and draw blood in the home. Nurses can also teach patients and family members how to administer IV antibiotics, tube feeds or IV hydration fluids in the home as well as manage ostomies and catheters. Home Care nurses educate people regarding their medication regimen and how to manage their medications. Nurses can coordinate telemonitoring and even perform an EKG in the home.
Mental Health nurses can work in collaboration with your Primary Care Provider or psychiatrist to ensure you have adequate coping strategies and the right combination of medications if you are struggling with depression or other mental health complications. If needs are identified that surpass the scope or length of what Home Care services can provide, the team works with people and their families to create a long term plan and find resources that can help once Home Care is complete.
While the Social Work benefit cannot used alone in the home without the need for Nursing or Therapy, they are instrumental in providing support to people in the community that need support and direction in putting the pieces together. If a person’s needs exceed the support Home Health can provide, MSW can provide advice for long term planning and coordinate community resources. MSW can also provide brief intermittent counseling if a person’s condition or situation is affecting their ability to make progress toward goals. They can also facilitate discussion and assistance with Advances Directive and advanced care planning which can be a difficult discussion for families to have without support.
Home Health Aide:
Sometimes when a person is experiencing a health complication some additional support with bathing and hygiene may be needed. While the home health aide benefit is not meant for custodial care, it can make a big difference when a caregiver needs some relief or a person is working towards gaining their strength back. They can help prevent falls and provide reassurance for people and their families while providing great care.
As you can see there is a lot to the Home Health benefit than meets the eye. Navigating the health care system when you are recovering from an illness or an injury can be challenging and confusing to say the least. In many cases the right supports at the right time can be a game changer in the recovery process. Regardless of your need you can be confident that Home Health services can help you on your path to recovery or help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.