Common questions about home health care

Q: What is home health care?

A: Home health care encompasses a wide range of health care services provided in the patient’s home with the purpose of maintaining his or her maximal level of function, health, and comfort. Home care is a collaborative effort involving family, physician, and an interdisciplinary home care team. It is a cost-effective alternative to extended hospitalization, rehabilitation, or a nursing home stay. Patients are usually more comfortable in their own home and studies have shown patients recover quicker at home.

Q: Who would benefit from home health care?

A: You or a family member may benefit from home care if you are:
· Recovering from a recent illness, surgery, or hospitalization.
· Recently discharged from a nursing home or rehabilitation unit, but need additional care. 
· ln need of education regarding your health condition and how to manage your disease effectively.
· In need of medication management.
· A doctor is monitoring a person’s pain management.

Q: Who pays for home health care?

A: Medicare, private insurance, and HMOs typically cover certified home care services when the criteria are met. Home care agencies will assist in determining your specific coverage and any copays. Private duty and nonmedical care services are usually on a private pay basis.

Q: What is the Medicare criteria for home health care?

A: In order to receive home health care services under Medicare, the patient must require skilled, intermittent nursing care, physical or speech therapy, have a physician’s order for home health care, and be in a condition that it is difficult for the person to physically leave their home without significant help, or cannot leave at all at this time. Medicare allows for home health services to come to the patient if leaving the home would require a considerable and taxing effort, and if the patient has a condition due to an illness or injury which restricts the ability to leave home except with the aid of devices such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, walkers, special transportation, or assistance of another person. Home health patients may leave their home if absences from the home are infrequent or for periods of relatively short duration.

Q: Can you only get home care in a private residence? 

A: No. Home care services can be provided wherever home is—a private residence, a senior living community, or while staying with a friend or family caregiver.

Q: Who comes into my house to provide the care?

A: Different types of care require different certifications and training. Depending on your specific needs, the caregivers and clinicians coming into your home can vary. You could have different caregivers at different times of the day, week, or month as part of your care. Personal care services are most often provided by a home health aide who is a certified nursing assistant. Home health care services are provided by registered nurses or licensed practical nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, or speech language pathologists. A medical social worker can help individuals and family members connect with community resources.

Q: How long does home care last?

A: There is no set length of time for home care—it can vary greatly based on a person’s unique needs. Some home care services may last for a few weeks, while others may be lifelong. If a physician is prescribing your home care, he or she will oversee services until your recovery goals are met. 

To learn more about Cedar Community’s Home Health, call 262.306.2691.