Home Healthcare Agencies – Overview
Home health care agencies offer professional support services that allow a dependent person to live safely at home. This at-home service helps the aging and disabled who need assistance to live independently. These services are ideal for those managing chronic health issues, recovering from a medical setback, or those who have special needs or a disability.
Home healthcare agencies employ a team of caregivers, including nurses, therapists and aides, to provide short-term or long-term care at home, depending on the individual’s needs.
Home healthcare agencies can help you achieve the highest quality of life possible. These services can ensure security, safety and better independence. They can also help manage ongoing medical conditions.
This way, you can avoid being hospitalized for an unnecessarily long period. These professional services are designed to aid in recovery after a severe illness or prolonged hospital stay, all in the comfort and familiarity of your home.
Overall, home healthcare agencies offer the following:
- Assistance with safely managing tasks around the house
- Help with daily activities (bathing, dressing, etc.)
- Short-term or long-term nursing care after a disease, an illness or a disability
- Ventilator care
Different Types of Home Healthcare Services
There is almost no limit to the extent of home healthcare services that a patient can receive at home. This can range from conventional nursing care to recovery from an illness or post-surgery all the way to specialized medical services, such as laboratory work.
The home healthcare service a patient needs depends on their situation. So, you can consult with your doctor and decide the type of home healthcare plan and services you may need at home.
These are some of the most common types of services offered by home healthcare agencies:
1. Doctor Care
An ideal home healthcare agency will provide a doctor to visit you at home to diagnose and treat any illnesses. The doctor can also be responsible for periodically reviewing the home healthcare needs and upgrading them if needed to ensure recovery in the shortest possible time.
2. Nursing Care
Nursing care is probably the most common type of home healthcare service. After consulting with your doctor, a registered nurse (RN) is assigned to design a care plan. Nursing care services usually include Ostomy care, wound dressing, administering medication, intravenous therapy, pain control, monitoring patients’ general health, and offering other health support.
3. Physical/Occupation/Speech Therapy
Some patients may need to re-learn how to perform daily activities or need to improve their speech following an injury or illness. A physical therapist from a home healthcare agency can put a plan together to help patients regain or strengthen the use of joints and muscles.
An occupational therapist teaches patients suffering from developmental, physical or social and emotional disabilities to perform daily functions normally. A speech therapist helps patients who suffer from impaired speech to regain their ability to communicate clearly.
4. Medical Social Services
Medical social workers provide a wide variety of services, such as counseling patients and finding community resources to help them recover. Some social workers can also be a patient’s case manager if their medical condition is so complex that it requires coordination with multiple medical and healthcare services.
5. Health Aides
Home health aides help patients with their basic personal needs, such as getting out of bed, bathing, dressing and walking. Some health aides are also specially trained and certified to assist patients who need more specialized care under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN). This may include feeding tube care, catheter care, monitoring vital signs, etc.
6. Basic Assistance Care
When a patient is being cared for at home, a basic assistance care worker/homemaker helps them with tasks and chores to maintain their household. This service may include buying groceries, laundry, meal preparation and similar housekeeping activities.
Apart from this, the service also includes assistance with self-care, including helping the patient to bathe, dress and use the toilet. In addition, patients are also helped with ambulation transfer, including bed to a wheelchair, wheelchair to bed and fall prevention.
7. Volunteer Care
This type of service from home healthcare agencies involves volunteers from community organizations who provide basic comfort to the patient through emotional support, transport, personal care and even with paperwork.
8. Companionship Care
Companionship Care offered by home healthcare agencies is designed for patients who are alone at home and need a companion to provide comfort and supervision. At times, these companions may also perform common household chores. This may include assistance with meal planning, light housekeeping, medication reminders, errands and escorting to appointments.
9. Nutritional Support
In this type of home healthcare service, nutritionists and dieticians visit the patient and provide a dietary assessment. These professionals can guide and support the patient’s treatment plan for faster and more effective recovery and relief.
10. Laboratory Work
Some home healthcare agencies also offer to provide in-home blood and urine tests. Besides this, it can also involve using a portable x-ray machine to perform this service at the patient’s home.
11. Pharmaceutical Services
Home healthcare agencies can also deliver medicine and medical equipment to a patient’s home. If the patient needs to, the service also includes training the patient on how to take medicines or use the equipment, which may even include intravenous therapy.
Home healthcare agencies provide comfortable transportation to patients who need to go back and forth from a medical facility to their homes. This service is excellent when a patient frequently has to undergo tests or exams at a medical facility or visit the doctor.
13. Meals at Home
Meals-on-Wheels is probably one of the most common and popular types of home healthcare service. Many communities offer this service to the elderly, disabled and patients who cannot cook at home. Under this, hot meals are delivered several times a week to the patient’s home, depending on their needs.
Home healthcare agencies offer a plethora of in-home services. These are aimed at helping patients to recover from illness, injury or surgery. Home healthcare services also help patients to be more independent and experience an improved quality of life.