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Home health care is one option for patients requiring treatment for illness or injury. In this article, we’ll define the term “home health care” and explain how it relates to nursing home abuse.

Key Takeaways

  • Home health care is a wide range of healthcare services patients can receive in their homes
  • Home health care services include wound care, injections, social services, and more
  • Medicare patients qualify for home health care if they meet four criteria, including having a doctor create a plan for home health care and being homebound
  • Patients of home health services and their loved ones should be aware of the risk of abuse at the hands of caretakers

What Is Home Health Care?

Home health care is an umbrella term referring to a wide range of healthcare services a patient can receive in the home. It can be thought of as an alternative to going to the hospital or a nursing home. 

Home health care is used as a treatment for illness or injury. The goal of temporary home health care is to help patients heal, regain independence, and become self-sufficient. Long-term home health care aims to maintain the patient's current condition and/or slow decline. 

Home health services include things like:

  • Patient and caregiver education
  • Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound
  • Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status
  • Intravenous or nutrition therapy
  • Injections
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Speech/language therapy
  • Medical social services

In order to start home health care, a doctor needs to refer a patient to home health services. Then a home health agency will visit the patient in the home to learn about their health and needs. They will also interface with the doctor to exchange important care information. 

Insurance Coverage of Home Health Care

Patients with Medicare can get home health benefits if they meet all of the following conditions:

  • A doctor has decided that the patient needs home health care and made a plan for it
  • The patient must need any of the following:
  • Intermittent skilled nursing care
  • Physical therapy or speech-language therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • The patient is homebound, unable to leave the home unassisted 
  • The home health agency must be certified by Medicare

Medicare will cover home health care as long as the patient meets these criteria. However, it will only cover skilled nursing care and home health aide services on a part-time basis. Therapy services do not have to be part-time.

Other insurance providers have their own policies regarding who is eligible for home health care and for how long.

Home Health Care and Nursing Home Abuse

Home health care is an alternative to becoming a resident in a nursing home, allowing the patient to remain in their own home. However, patients under both circumstances are at risk for abuse by their caretakers because of their dependence on them. Home health care patients, nursing home patients, and their loved ones are all cautioned to be aware of this risk and remain vigilant for signs of abuse.

If you are somebody you care about has been a victim of abuse at the hands of a healthcare provider, it is important to contact the relevant authorities immediately. You may also want to consult with a nursing home abuse lawyer to learn about the possibility of receiving compensation for your suffering.

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