What is home health care? How do I know if it’s right for me?
When you or your loved one has on-going medical needs that cannot easily or effectively be provided by friends or family, home health care may be a good answer. Home health care is one of the most underutilized Medicare benefits.
Home health care refers to a wide range of services and supportive care provided at home by trained and licensed professionals under the continuing supervision of your doctor. It is usually less expensive and more convenient than being in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. Many former home health patients feel they recovered faster surrounded by their family and friends at home.
Home health care can be short term, helping you to regain self-sufficiency after an illness, injury or operation. In cases where longer term home health care is required, the goal is to help you maintain the highest level of health and live independently as long as possible.
Prior hospitalization is not a requirement for home health care services. However, your doctor does need to refer you and develop a plan for your care.
Am I eligible for home health services?
Medicare beneficiaries can receive home health care benefits if the doctor feels medical care at home is necessary and the services will be provided under a physician-established plan of care. The home health agency caring for you must be approved by the Medicare program. In addition, you must meet these criteria to qualify for Medicare services :
- You are homebound due to illness, injury, or post-operation
- Leaving your home isn’t recommended because of your condition
- Your condition keeps you from leaving home without help (such as using a wheelchair or walker, needing special transportation, or getting help from another person)
- Leaving home takes a considerable and taxing effort.
- You do NOT have to be bedridden to qualify. A person considered homebound may leave home for medical treatment or short, infrequent absences for non-medical reasons, such as attending religious services or adult day care. (Source: medicare.gov glossary)
- Services are medically necessary and reasonable. This includes skilled nursing on an intermittent basis, physical therapy or speech-language pathology, or occupational therapy on a continuing basis
- Services are performed in your place of residence (home, assisted living facility, etc.).
For complete information on Medicare qualifications and guidelines, please visit http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10969.pdf
How can I make my home safer?
Because falls are the number one reason seniors have to enter nursing homes and extended care facilities, Encompass makes reducing your risk a priority.
Here are a few suggestions. How many of these have you done?
- Remove home hazards
- Keep cords out of walkways
- Secure loose rugs
- Store everyday items within easy reach
- Use non-slip mats in the bath or shower
- Keep the home brightly lit so no one trips on objects that are hard to see
- Nightlights in bed, bath and hallway
- Lamp within easy reach of the bed.
Your Encompass caregiver can provide additional advice to minimize your fall risk, like recommending assistive devices, including canes, walkers, stairway handles, raised toilet seats and shower or tub grab bars