By: Kathleen Burcham, Administrator of Tallahassee Memorial Home Health Care
November is Home Health Care Month, and if you’re like most people, you either don’t know what home health care is, or didn’t know until you needed it. Since the best time to look into home health services is when you are first admitted to the hospital or prior to admission in the case of a scheduled surgery, knowing about home health care in advance might keep you from becoming overwhelmed by all the treatment options available.
Home health care encompasses a variety of in-home medical services that help an individual return to optimal health after leaving the hospital. These services are provided by skilled professionals such as nurses, physical, speech and occupational therapists, home health aides and medical social workers. If you are eligible, a physician will work with your home health care provider to determine a care plan and make arrangements for the necessary services and equipment before you leave the hospital.
A sample home health plan might include:
- Having a nurse manage your diet and nutrition to help you establish new eating habits as part of disease management or prevention.
- Administering speech, physical or occupational therapy if you are unable to visit an outpatient rehabilitation facility.
- Educating you on safe medication management by informing you of any potential side effects or drug interactions of your prescribed medications, and helping you establish a safe dosing schedule.
- Monitoring your blood pressure, pulse and respiration.
- Establishing an activity program that improves your endurance and the ability to improve function and avoid falling.
- Providing in home clinical care such as IVs and wound care after surgery.
Individuals receiving home care might include: young children or adults who require at-home speech, physical or occupational therapy as part of their recovery plan; elderly patients who need a skilled nurse to help treat or manage chronic medical conditions; individuals with disabilities who are home bound and require assistance returning to their daily lives after leaving the hospital; and individuals recovering from surgery.
Just like treatment plans in a hospital setting, no two home health care plans are alike, and customizing a plan requires an interdisciplinary approach. Your physician should work closely with a highly specialized and caring home care staff to create and implement a plan that fits your needs. Having multiple disciplines to choose from ensures patients receive care that is just as comprehensive at home as what is available in a hospital setting.