Home health care is a relatively new kind of health service provided in your own home by professionals in the health care field. Home health care offers assistive measures with the focus directed toward discharging the patient back to the community either caring for themselves or with a trained caregiver.
Because this kind of health care is a fairly new concept, it's understandable that people may have lots of questions. The following FAQ, we hope to help you understand by answering those asked most frequently. If you are still confused or have questions, always contact a home health agent for the right answers.
Will Medicare pay for home health care?
Before Medicare will pay for home health care, you must be considered homebound, be under the care of a physician, and require a skilled service.
What does homebound mean?
Being homebound means you have a normal inability to leave home; for example, a physical condition and/or physical limitations which are considerably taxing and cause pain or distress if you endeavor to leave your home.
What does "skilled service" mean?
Under your physician's direction, a professional nurse can provide a skilled service in your own home. Some of these skills may include: IV therapy, taking blood for lab testing, giving injections, offering wound care, catheter care, etc.
Do I have to pay anything if I have Medicare?
No. If you qualify for home health through Medicare, you will not have to pay anything for the home health services.
If I don't qualify for Medicare, can I still have home health?
Yes. If your physician orders home health service and you don't qualify for Medicare, you can pay for the services privately or you may have special insurance that will pay for the service.
Can I go to church on Sunday and still be homebound?
Yes. Medicare does allow you to go to church on Sunday, but you must meet the requirements mentioned above to have homebound status.
How often will the home health representative come to see me?
When you begin your home health service, an RN will assess your condition and your needs. The RN will then set up a plan of care and discuss the frequency of visits with you. Your goals or expectations will be set for your recovery process.
Will Medicare pay to assist me with my bath?
No. Medicare states that a skilled nurse, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist or a speech therapist my be providing you with a "skilled service" based on your diagnosed need. Bathing and other personal hygiene services can be provided by a home health aide.
What else can home health do?
A nurse can also help you learn how to provide your own self care, teach you about special diets, help you understand your medications, and what disease process your particular health need may involve.
The only time I drive is when I go to the doctor's office or to buy groceries. Will Medicare pay for my home health?
Yes. You may drive to doctor appointments, church, and to buy basic necessities and medicine only.
What does a home health aide do?
The primary function of a home health aide is to perform personal care, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, caring for hair and nails, and oral hygiene. The aide spends about 45 to 60 minutes in the home. The aide may perform other duties, like straightening the bedroom, changing sheets, cleaning the bathroom or fixing a snack, once the personal hygiene care is complete.
What if I have a problem at night?
Our home health office has a 24-hour call service. We encourage you to call the home health office anytime, day or night, if you experience a problem. Additionally, should you have questions about your care, please call. A nurse is on-call 24 hours a day and can answer any questions or assist in an emergency situation.