Home healthcare could be the right choice for you

There’s no place like home for healthcare

Home healthcare could be the right choice for you or a loved one who wants to stay at home but needs ongoing care.

  • Why home healthcare could be the right choice.
  • How to choose home healthcare for you or a loved one.
  • What you should expect from a home healthcare provider.

[3 MIN READ]

Here are just a few examples of the value home healthcare can bring to individuals and their families.

  • A 76-year-old woman has surgery on her wrist and needs help with wound care. Since she’s recovering at home, she welcomes having a therapist help her manage pain and support her wound healing.
  • Back at home from a hospital stay, a 46-year-old man still needs intravenous medicine. A nurse comes to his home to help him continue his IV therapy. Now he doesn’t have to rely on his busy family to take him to the hospital for the same treatment.
  • An 82-year-old man has problems with high blood pressure. A nurse begins to visit his home three times weekly. She checks his pressure and updates his doctor about medicines and care plans. Now his blood pressure is under control.

Home healthcare covers a wide range of health and social services for people who are:

  • Recovering from illness or surgery
  • Living with a disability
  • Dealing with a chronic illness

The types of care delivered at home can include medical, nursing, social or therapeutic treatment.  Home healthcare could be the right choice for anyone who wants to stay at home but needs the kind of ongoing care that family and friends can’t easily provide.

Why choose home healthcare?

Home healthcare is often less expensive and more convenient. It can also be just as effective as the care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, with less logistics to manage.

Home healthcare could be the right choice for anyone who wants to stay at home but needs the kind of ongoing care that family and friends can’t easily provide.

Typically, the goal of home healthcare is to treat an injury or illness and help you:

  • Feel better
  • Become independent and self-sufficient again
  • Improve your ability to move/function
  • Prevent your health from getting worse

Home healthcare offers a number of specific benefits, including:

  • Peace of mind about your loved one
  • Access to skilled medical care at home from certified, licensed professionals
  • Medicine management, such as reminders and help to avoid harmful drug interactions
  • Diet and nutrition counseling to protect against malnutrition in older adults
  • Caring companionship and support
  • Help around the house with light household chores

Home healthcare is an affordable choice compared to nursing facilities or hospital care. 

Home healthcare is an affordable choice compared to nursing facilities or hospital care.  The National Association of Home Care says that the average cost of care from a skilled nursing facility is $544 a day. The average cost of each home healthcare visit is $132. However, the cost of home healthcare is different across and within states. Prices will also vary based on the type of healthcare professional you need and your insurance coverage.

Home healthcare services may be paid by patients and their families, but other public and private sources include funding through:

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • The Older Americans Act
  • The Veterans Administration
  • Private insurance

Choosing home healthcare: 3 tips to keep in mind

1. Know the difference between home healthcare and home care services

While home healthcare may include some services such as light housekeeping, the main focus of home healthcare is the medical side of care. Home healthcare most often involves helping someone recover from an injury or illness.  These professionals are trained in the medical field and usually work for home health agencies, hospitals or public health departments that are licensed by the state.

2. Make sure to screen carefully

If you’re buying home healthcare directly from an individual provider instead of an agency, it becomes even more important to screen thoroughly. Your screening should include:

  • Interviewing the home healthcare provider
  • Asking as many questions as you need to
  • Requesting references
  • Viewing their resume and experience

3. Check state guidelines before contacting home healthcare agencies

Most home healthcare agencies are required by the state to do criminal background checks on their workers and carefully screen applicants. However, since actual rules will vary based on where you live, you may want to call your local public health department or agency on aging to learn what your state’s laws are.

Try to spend time with the caregiver before the official start of the job. That way, you can talk about what to expect as part of the daily routine.

What to expect from your home healthcare provider

It’s best to spend time helping your caregiver prepare. Try to spend time with the caregiver before the official start of the job. That way, you can talk about what to expect as part of the daily routine. It’s also vital to let the caregiver know, both verbally and in writing, about such things as:

  • Medicines
  • Mobility issues
  • Allergies
  • Special nutrition needs
  • General likes and dislikes

Speak up about your care

Family members, caregivers, doctors and other healthcare professionals all have a role in making healthcare safe. Doing that involves being active and engaged in your care.

The “Speak Up” program gives simple advice on how you can make home healthcare a good experience. Studies show that patients who take part in their own healthcare decisions are more likely to get better faster. Speak up if you have concerns and keep asking questions until you understand the answers.

After all, when it comes to your health, you should feel at home making sure you get the right care.

Find a doctor

If you need advice on whether home healthcare may be a good alternative for you,  and how it talk to your doctor. You can use our provider directory or, you can search for a primary care doctor in your area.

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California

Montana

Oregon

Washington 

Related resources

Love your heart: How to get the most out of your heart medications

Physical therapy after joint replacement

National Association of Home Care

The “Speak Up” program

Share your tips on finding a home healthcare provider at #aging and your experiences with #homehealthcare with readers @psjh.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

From how to identify and treat heart diseases to exercise tips to maintain an active lifestyle, the Providence Senior's Health team is committed to providing real-world advice that is hyper-relevant to helping those 65+ find ways stay young at heart

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