Home health care assists a person in their recovery from an illness, accident, surgery, or change in their medical condition. Professional health care and rehabilitation services are delivered in a person’s home environment under the direction of their personal physician.
Because it is not always clear to the average person when an ailing senior needs home health care and when he or she needs nursing home care, it is usually best to consult a medical professional for advice.
Often when physicians or hospital staff says "Home Health", they mean that the skills of a healthcare professional, like a registered nurse or therapist, are still needed after your hospitalization to provide continued assistance with your recovery. This might be to continue intravenous antibiotics you have been receiving draw blood, assess a surgical site, change wound dressings, continue to assist you with mobility, assess your progress, or provide other services that your physician has ordered for you.
There are companies in the community, called home health agencies, which employ nurses and therapists who specialize in providing services in patient homes. These healthcare professionals will come to your home for a specific time period as specified by your physician (for example, twice a week for six weeks). They report your status to your physician on an ongoing basis. Home health nurses& therapists, then, become the link to your physician so that he or she can stay apprised of your condition and be notified promptly should you require additional care or attention.
The home health staff provides and helps coordinate the care and/or therapy your doctor orders. Along with the doctor, home health staff creates a plan of care, which is a written plan for your care. It tells what services you will get to reach and keep your best physical, mental, and social well-being. The home health staff keeps your doctor up to date on how you are doing and updates your plan of care as needed, as authorized by your doctor.
While you get home health care, home health staff teaches you (and your caregiver) to continue any care you may need, including medication, wound care, therapy, and stress management. Since most home health care is intermittent and part-time, you (and your informal caregivers) should learn how to identify and care for possible problems, like confusion or shortness of breath.