Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions
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- What is home health care?
- Who needs home health care?
- What agencies or organizations provide home health care?
- What services do home health care agencies provide?
- Will my insurance cover home health care?
- How do I choose the right home health care provider?
- What do I do if there is a problem?
- What are my rights as a patient?
- Isn't home health care expensive?
- When should we consider home health care?
- Home care is a cost effective alternative to extended hospital stays or institutional care. Being at home helps clients feel better about themselves and gives them a sense of security and well-being, without imposing a burden on family and friends. In addition, home care can cost a fraction as much as hospitalization or a long term care facility.The scope of home care is broad. Clients cross the spectrum of care; from newborn infants to the elderly and infirm. Services include non-medical personal care, such as assistance with personal hygiene, meal preparation, mobility, and light housekeeping skilled nursing care, and specialized therapeutic care. Staying at home means being near family and friends, people who can offer loving care and support. A trained home care provider can teach them the skills needed to help with certain types of care.
- If you were recently
hospitalized for surgery or illness.
If you are unable to meet your own needs due to health, age or social problems.
If you are stressed with taking care of a family member who can no longer care for themselves.
If you are missing work or ignoring your immediate family to care for a loved one.
If you are homebound and lonely, frightened, or depressed.
If you need assistance getting groceries, going to appointments, or around the house.
If you have an infant or sick child and need help with care or housework.
- There are nearly 10,000 home health care agencies in the United States. Home health care providers include registered, licensed, practical and vocational nurses; agencies contracting with physicians; home care aides; medical social workers; pharmacists; physical, respiratory and occupational therapists; laboratory technologists; speech pathologists; dental hygienists and dentists.
- The set of services provided by individual agencies will vary depending on local needs. HHCN services range from skilled nursing, social work and physical therapy. High-tech services previously provided only in hospitals, such as ventilator care, blood transfusions, pain management and home chemotherapy are now routinely provided in the home by HHCN.
- If the care is medically necessary and the patient meets certain coverage requirements, Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans will usually pay for home health care services. Medicaid coverage varies depending on the state in which you reside and of course, different private insurance carriers have different policies. For services that are not covered, patients may choose to pay out of their own pocket. Some agencies are subsidized by community groups and some receive funding from local and state government to assist patients in paying for their care when they have no available resources. Please contact us at (713) 783-8049 for more information.
- There are many important factors to consider in choosing the best agency to meet your needs. First you must assess what types of services you will need and find an agency that offers those services. Ask the agencies you are considering about their accreditations, licenses and certifications. You'll also want to evaluate the quality of care, and the skills and training of personnel at the agencies under consideration. For a more detailed discussion of factors to consider please contact us at (713) 783-8049.
If you've selected your home health agency carefully, you'll probably avoid most problems. If a problem should come up, report it directly to the head administrator of the agency. You may also make a complaint to your state's department of health, State Medicare hot line or your local Better Business Bureau.
- Federal law dictates that all home health care patients be informed of their rights and responsibilities. We at HHCN can provide you with a summary of patient's rights and responsibilities.
- Home health care costs differ greatly depending on the individual case, but are usually much lower than the long-term care facility alternative. Often the costs are buffered or completely covered by a third party such as insurance or special government programs designed to assist handicapped, disabled or injured people and their families. What's more is that home health care is billed based on usage. That is to say that if you only use one hour of service, you're only billed for one hour unlike a long term facility which bills around the clock whether care is being given or not.
- The time to consider home health care for you or a loved one is when help is needed with some or all of the normal activities of daily living, such as hygiene, housekeeping, cooking, shopping or even walking steadily without assistance. Other indications may be that more help is needed than the family is able to offer or there is an increase in forgetfulness that may prove dangerous because of medications improperly taken or stove burners being left on. Ideally, home health care is like anything else, a step that is best planned for in advance as in the case of a home recovery from an elective surgery or when the caregiver in the family plans a vacation or simply needs relief. In reality, however, these instances are the exception rather than the rule. Fortunately, HHCN is often able to fill your needs even with very short notice.