- Home Health Care for Elderly
- Why Would a Senior Need Home Health Care Services?
- How Can I Obtain Home Health Services for Seniors?
- Will Home Health Agencies Accept My Parents’ Medical Insurance?
- What Types of Services Does a Home Care Agency Offer?
- How Often Do Home Health Employees Come to the Home?
- What if My Parents Go to the Hospital While Being Signed Up for Home Health?
- How Long Does Medicare Home Health Care Last?
Hiring a home health agency may be an overwhelming step for some families, especially if you are new to the scene and deeply care for your senior, aging parents. Most adults who require home health care services are over the age of 65, the majority of which need bathing assistance and functional transfers around the home.
However, home health services are not so narrow in what they can offer seniors. Home health services can be customized to meet every client’s individual needs based on medical recommendations by a primary physician as well as what is feasibly covered by seniors’ medical insurance plans.
Some children may have a few questions about home health services and what it can look like for their parents: Where do we start? How is home health care set up? What services are available for my parents? How often can home health services come into the home? How long does home health services last?
Are there services offered that my parents don’t need? For your convenience, we have created a list of these common questions to help family members process frequent inquiries about home health services and how to properly set it up for senior parents.
Why Would a Senior Need Home Health Care Services?
A senior may require home health services if they fall within a specific functional category. If he/she is not ill enough to require 24/7 nursing care but are still not able to complete daily activities independently and safely at home, that’s when home health services are called in. Here’s an example:
Dale is a 68 year old male patient admitted for a short inpatient stay at the local hospital after receiving a total hip replacement. The patient is approved by his physician to return home. However, the patient lives with his adult son who is at work full-time. Dale will be home alone most of the day and is not moving as well as he used to before surgery. He still requires assistance with some transfers, bathing, and getting into his bathroom for toileting tasks. The patient also had two days of rehabilitation at the hospital, and the doctor recommends he receive additional therapy to gain strength and range in his hip.
It it could be sometimes quite challenging for family members to transit patient from hospital to home and prepare home for patient as per their requirement. For that read our latest post hospital to home care.
Home health services are common for seniors who have recently returned home from the hospital, transitional care, or skilled nursing and they just need that little extra boost before returning to typical daily life.
How Can I Obtain Home Health Services for Seniors?
Commonly, seniors obtain home health services after returning home from the hospital or transitional care. For home health to be justified and covered by medical insurance, seniors will need a physician’s order for services and their associated initial evaluations. This means that each service is ordered to perform their own assessments (i.e. therapy, respiratory, nursing, etc.) to determine how often services should be rendered or if at all.
Will Home Health Agencies Accept My Parents’ Medical Insurance?
Even though seniors may receive an order for home health services after a hospital stay, seniors and their family members can still be selective about which agency they wish to go with. This is especially helpful for insurance coverage purposes. Hospital staff will often make suggestions about local home health agencies available, but families can also conduct their own research about each agency and whether their medical insurance will cover services or not.
As mentioned previously, medical coverage for home health services requires a physician’s order and only specific services and duration are covered. For example, Medicare A covers a wide range of skilled services to be conducted in the home, but not for 24 hours per day. Patients with Medicare also need to be certified as homebound according to policy rules. If you have any concerns about whether a home health agency will accept your parents’ insurance or not, contact the agency directly as well as the insurance provider.
What Types of Services Does a Home Care Agency Offer?
Services provided by home care agencies in the U.S. could include:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Nursing care
- Medical social work
- Home health aide services for personal care (bathing, toileting, showering)
- Injection services
- Respiratory care
Just because the home health care agency has the service available does not mean that your parents must participate or need to service. For example, a patient may require physical therapy and occupational therapy but has no need for speech therapy services. Each specialty service provides initial assessments to determine if a senior will medically benefit from their treatments or interventions.
How Often Do Home Health Employees Come to the Home?
The number of visits provided by each discipline highly depends on initial assessments and what medical insurance will cover. Oftentimes, nursing services are provided multiple times per week but not in the form of 24-hour care. Therapy services will usually come into the home anywhere between 2-4 times per week.
What if My Parents Go to the Hospital While Being Signed Up for Home Health?
In some cases, a senior may incur an injury or illness where they require an immediate hospital stay. Sometimes that hospital stay turns into a lengthy rehabilitative stay in a transitional care unit. So, some family members may wonder what happens to their home health services if it’s interrupted by this type of medical stay. You’ll be discharged from home health services, and then a new order and care plan will have to be made before you discharge home again. Patients can go back to the same agency or switch.
How Long Does Medicare Home Health Care Last?
According to Medicare coverage, a doctor must recertify your home health care plan every 60 days in order to continue services. Medicare will continue to cover home health visits if you are qualified. Specific services may discharge clients if services are no longer providing a medical or therapeutic benefit.
Home health services for your parents do not have to be overwhelming. Family members can start their research early, be selective with local agencies, confirm medical coverage, etc. Make sure the seniors receiving care have a say in what services are coming into their private home and who they work with during treatments. The aim is to find an agency that makes your parents and their goals a priority and can improve their function and quality of life at home.