How to Choose the Right Home Health Agency

The use of home health care is becoming increasingly popular due to the number of individuals that are constantly in need of health care and nurse aids. There are many nursing agencies that are available for you to choose from; however, not every home health agency is the same and in order for you to find the best company to do your business with, there are a number of things that you need to take into consideration but before we look at how to choose the right health agency, let us focus on what exactly is a home health agency and the services that they offer.

What is a home health agency and what do they do?

A health agency is a company that provides individuals with a variety of social services and health care. The services that are offered by these companies are done in the home and they are provided to people who are terminally ill, disabled, or recovering from an accident or an illness that had them bed ridden for some time. The services that are offered are normally therapeutic, in the medical area, and they will also assist you or your loved ones with daily activities that are crucial to your daily life. Some of these nursing agencies will also offer some light home cleaning that is needed to keep their ward in the best of health. A home health agency provides the patients with the most suitable nurse for the job when they need ongoing health care but prefer to stay home instead of going into a nursing home.

However, who will you be letting into your home when you hire the services of a health agency?

The services offered by a health agency means that they will only send certified Medicare professionals into your home. These professionals must meet the minimum requirements of the law for a health care professional in order for them to provide home health services. The services that are offered by health agency professionals are monitored on a regular basis and these health care providers are highly supervised in order for them to provide the best services possible.

When choosing a home health agency, consider the following:

Base on the fact that not all nursing agencies offer the same thing, you need to first think about the services that you need. There are some agencies that offer their health care by providing the patients with nurses, social workers, physicians, therapists, volunteers, homemakers, supply dealers, and HCA’s, while there are others who only offer the service of a nurse and one or two other specialists. In order for you to get the best treatment available to you, it is essential that you know beforehand all the services that are offered by the agencies that you are looking into.

If you or your loved ones need the service of more than one health care professional, a nursing agency will put a team together with all the specialists that are needed to provide the best home care possible.

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The Benefits of Home Health Services in a Senior Living Facility

Many seniors wish to live as independently as they can for as long as they can. However, when health conditions begin to decline and independent living is no longer appropriate, assisted living becomes an option. In an assisted living facility, residents are provided with an environment that allows them to have the independence they need, while having the supervision and assistance necessary to promote their safety and well-being.

Assisted living facilities have caregivers and trained staff available to monitor, supervise, and/or assist with activities of daily living. They also provide assistance with medication administration or intake. They coordinate with the appropriate health care providers for the residents to ensure their health and safety.

Many assisted living facilities do not directly employ the medical professionals necessary to provide the assistance that many of their residents may need. Therefore, the relationships between home health agencies and other medical service providers are very important. Home health agencies can provide medical services for many of the conditions that residents in an assisted living facility commonly have.

Some of the most common conditions are:

1. Hypertension
2. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and other respiratory illnesses
3. Abnormality of gait or dysfunction of the nervous system and/or musculoskeletal systems
4. Declining functions including those who are at high risk for falls and those who have difficulties with activities of daily living.
5. Those who need post-hospitalization treatments
6. Those who need assistance with management of medications
7. Blood draw and laboratory support
8. Catheter management
9. Diabetic teaching
10. G-tube and colostomy care
11. Infusion therapy
12. Nutrition assessment and support
13. Palliative care
14. Wound care

Home health professionals are commonly those who are certified and/or licensed with the following positions:

– Skilled Nursing
– Physical Therapy
– Medical Social Worker
– Occupational Therapy
– Speech Therapy
– Dietitians
– Home Health Aide

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Guidelines for a Quality Home Health Service

Home Health is what a physician recommends on a short-term basis. This might be when a person is recovering from a severe illness or surgery, and needs assistance. Even after the hospital stay is over and they are in their house, the person might continue to need a period of nursing and medical assistance. This is what Home Health services offer. If you need the assistance of qualified Home Health personnel for yourself, or a loved one, here are a few frequently asked questions and answers.

In what situations can Home Health be recommended?

It is a specialized recommendation by the physician. The medical practitioner might determine that you need the services of nursing practitioners while you recover in your own home.

Is it covered by Mediclaim programs?

It is focused on providing medical assistance. It is usually paid by Medicare. It is meant to provide financial assistance to homebound people who are temporarily unable to leave their home without assistance. According to Medicare guidelines, if the person leaves home for “…short, infrequent trips…such as a trip to the barber…more than once a week” they are not eligible for Mediclaim coverage.

What kind of services could be covered under it?

It usually focuses on different kinds of specialized therapies to help you while you are rehabilitating. Often a person might temporarily lose the functions of certain parts of his body, or the ability to speak properly due to certain medical conditions. Health practitioners can offer physical therapy, occupational therapy, or therapy for speech or language fluency, to assist the person in their recovery. It is completely medical and does not include services to assist with basic ‘sitter’ functions such as dressing or grooming. If you require a service that assists the person with everyday functions on a long-term basis in home surroundings, in-home care could be an option.

How long does the trained nurse remain everyday with the person being cared for?

A Home Health nurse usually does not stay more than an hour. Their services focus on the medical assistance that has been recommended by the physician to help the person recover. A home care giver on the other hand offers to assist the person with everything that they find difficult to do on their own, including preparing food and going on errands. They might also escort the person for medical appointments.

When looking for services for health, Birmingham residents look for an agency that has a track record of quality care.

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Recuperate at Home with Home Health Service

For people who need extended care after surgery, a fall, or who are experiencing health problems, home health service offer a new avenue of rehabilitation beyond the hospital or nursing home that allows patients and clients to stay in their own home, recover, and get well. Years ago, there were relatively few choices for a patient who needed after surgery or recovery care and who might not have someone at home to provide it. That has now changed, and the options available to patients continue to expand and grow.

In recent years, there has been a boom in the Home Health Industry due to an aging population. Research suggest that people recover more quickly from injury and illness in their own homes, around familiar surroundings, and where friends and family can visit more often. Because of a higher demand to be at home, and because home care service is typically cheaper than a hospital or nursing home, home health services have expanded their offerings to include a variety of services that allow patients to stay at home and retain their independence.

A home health service offers the traditional nursing functions that are found in a hospital or nursing home environment: basic medical functions such as giving medications, helping with bandage and dressing changes, checking vital signs; moving patients, giving baths, physical therapy, etc. Many now offer services beyond that: extended socializing with the patient (reading books and magazines, playing cards, talking), running errands, preparing meals, helping with exercise, shopping – the list goes on. Performing these extended functions really helps those patients who don’t have families, or whose families can’t be with their loved one around the clock.

Because home health service is typically cheaper than staying in the hospital or nursing home, insurance companies and Medicare will cover many of the costs of home care. It is important to check your policy carefully, and understand what services are covered for your type of illness, and for how long. A reputable home health service will work very closely with patients and families to determine exactly what is or isn’t covered, and to determine the best course of care for a particular patient.

If you are looking for home health service, make sure to shop around and carefully evaluate the different companies to find a good, reputable company. Make sure that the medical employees such as doctors, nurses, and therapists are registered and have experience in providing services needed. Ask for the average length of employment for employees. A good service should offer local and reliable references who can comment on the company and the services provided. Make sure to call references, and also ask around the community for references. Ensure that the provider has the services you are looking for, and that they are flexible enough to meet your needs. It is important to interview several health care providers, and to make your decision based on quality and cost, so that you get the absolute best care for the money you spend.

Home health service today offers so much to patients who are recuperating from surgery or illness. These services offered allow patients to recover comfortably in their own home, without stressing families who can’t provide many of those services, and they provide peace of mind and independence for recovering individuals. Investigating home health service options is something all patients should do if they are ill, or are experiencing health problems. Many patients and their families are pleasantly surprised by the different services many of these care services offer.

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