What is Home Health?

Contributed by:
Lois Bentler-Lampe, Chief Nursing Officer & Vice President of Clinical Operations – OSF Home Care Services

You need help and want to stay in your home?  Home health may be your answer.

As the name implies, home health can provide high quality health care in your home. The goal of home health is to provide support and education so you can get better and care for yourself again.  Home health is often needed after a hospital stay or when a chronic health condition becomes worse.

What kinds of things can home health staff do?

  • Help you learn how to take new medicines and treatments the right way
  • Check safety in your home
  • Help with pain control
  • Check what you are eating and drinking to improve your health
  • Care for wounds
  • Check your blood pressure and other vital signs
  • Listen to your lungs and complete other physical assessments
  • Teach you exercises to get stronger
  • Teach you what you can do to best care for yourself
  • Communicate with your doctor
  • Coordinate services to assist you in your home

Does Medicare cover home health services?

Medicare covers many part-time skilled intermittent services, including:

  • Skilled Nursing Care
  • Physical Therapy
  • Speech Therapy

In addition, if you receive one of the above, Medicare will also cover:

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Home Health Aide Services
  • Medical Social Services
  • Medical Supplies

How do I know if I qualify for home health services if I have Medicare?

Here are a few things to know about qualifying for Medicare payment for home health:

  • Need to be considered “homebound“ (can go out for medical appointments and limited others, such as religious services)
  • Have a doctor authorize the need for Home Health care and provide orders
  • Have a skilled care need (i.e. Nursing, Physical Therapy or Speech Therapy)
  • Care is provided on an intermittent basis

You will want to check with your insurance so you know what will be covered.

Home health is nothing to be afraid of

If your health care team feels you need home health, your first reaction may be “I can take care of myself.”  While that may be true at other times, it may be that right now you need extra help because of what is going on with your health.

Allow home health staff into your home so you can stay in your home and have the best health possible for you.  You will be glad you did!

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