Home Healthcare

What is home healthcare?

Home healthcare is medical care provided in your home. It’s a way to get “skilled care,” such as wound care or physical therapy, when you cannot leave your home because of illness or injury. The care is ordered and supervised by your primary healthcare provider. A care plan is developed by you, your provider, and the home care staff. Any changes must be approved by your healthcare provider.

What services are offered?

Home healthcare agencies can provide many services, for example:

  • Nurses can assess your condition, change wound dressings and give other treatments, including injections. They also check your medicines. They can show you how to use equipment you may need.
  • Medical social workers can find and organize help, including possible financial aid.
  • Physical and occupational therapists can work with you to improve your strength and ability to do everyday tasks, such as bathing and dressing. They can look at your home and suggest easier or safer ways to do things. They may also suggest tools, such as walkers, grab bars, or wheelchair ramps that can help you.
  • Speech therapists can help you with speaking, other language skills, and swallowing problems. Respiratory therapists can help with breathing problems.
  • Home health aides have had training to help you with personal care, such as bathing and shaving.
  • Medical equipment, such as wheelchairs or other equipment that you can rent.

Some agencies have help you can hire that is not covered by insurance or Medicare. For example, you may need the help of personal care aides who may not have healthcare training and are more of a companion. They may also do light housekeeping.

Can I choose a home care agency?

You can choose the home healthcare agency you want to provide your care. There may be many agencies in your town. A hospital or healthcare provider may give you a list of agencies, but they cannot tell you which agency to use.

Choose an agency that either provides all of the services you need or works closely with other providers. You may have concerns about people you don’t know coming into your home. Choose a Medicare-approved agency. They are reviewed by the state health department and have met quality standards. Talk to the home care staff that come into your home and get to know them, so that you are comfortable with them.

Does insurance pay for home care?

Health insurance plans may cover medically necessary home health services. Insurance does not cover services when they are needed for personal care only. Each plan is different, so check to see what your plan covers.

Medicare pays for home healthcare when these 4 conditions are met:

  • You need part-time skilled nursing care, physical therapy, or speech therapy. Medicare does not cover full-time nursing care at home.
  • You are not able to leave your home.
  • Your healthcare provider sets up a plan for you to receive home healthcare.
  • The home care agency you are using participates in Medicare.

The Medicare home healthcare benefit also pays for some medical supplies and part of the approved amount for equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, and oxygen supplies. For more information on Medicare coverage, call 800-MEDICARE.

For more information on home healthcare agencies in your area, contact your hospital discharge planner or social worker. Check Internet or directory listings for senior services, nursing, or home healthcare agencies

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-12-01
Last reviewed: 2014-12-01
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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