HOME HEALTH CARE PLAN
Home Healthcare provides medical treatment for an illness or injury, with the goal of helping you recover, regain your independence and become as self-sufficient as possible. The nurse will assess your loved one’s specific health care needs and propose a health care plan, referred to as the plan of care. Your loved one’s doctor will then review the health care plan and sign it to show approval. The health care plan details what type of medical care your loved one will receive, what types of workers will provide the care, how frequently they will come to your loved one’s home, and how long the care is expected to last. You should receive a written copy of the plan of care. Depending on how the patient’s needs progress, the home care agency may request an extension of services.
What does “homebound status” mean?
Your condition should be such that there exists a “normal inability to leave home” and doing so would require considerable and taxing effort. Generally speaking, you would be considered homebound if you have a condition due to an illness or injury that restricts your ability to leave home without the aid of an assistive device (such as crutches, canes, walkers or wheelchairs), without the assistance of another person, or if leaving the home is medically inadvisable.
You can leave the home as often as you need for medical treatment that cannot be provided in the home. Further, you are allowed brief and infrequent absences from the home for some non-medical reasons, such as an occasional trip to the barber/beauty shop, to attend church, or for unique family events such as a reunion, funeral etc.
Additional paperwork will be sent to the doctor for approval. And you’ll want to be sure to confirm that your loved one’s insurance will cover extended services.
Note: It can take time for the doctor of record to approve the original healthcare plan or the extension of services. In the meantime, most experienced nurses and therapists just get started with what they think the patient needs unless they see an area of concern. This usually works well. Be aware, though, that care providers and doctors aren’t necessarily conferring closely (or at all) about what’s happening. So don’t assume that everyone’s on the same page about what’s needed. If you have a question about any service, be sure to ask the home care agency and the doctor.
WHAT PHYSICAL THERAPISTS AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS DO
After a stroke, fall, broken bone, or serious illness, your loved one will likely need help with movement and muscle strength. Your home healthcare agency may send a physical therapist or occupational therapist to your home. A physical therapist can help your loved one with overall mobility: walking, getting in and out of bed, sitting, and standing. An occupational therapist will help your loved one with activities of daily living, such as eating, buttoning clothes, and brushing hair. These types of caregivers can also help relieve pain, improve range of motion, and build up and retain muscle performance.
When a physical therapist or occupational therapist comes to your home, you can expect him to teach your loved one to do specialized exercises. Ideally, the therapist will also provide you with detailed instructions, with each step illustrated and clearly explained. Ask your therapist how frequently your loved one should do the exercises and how to be sure the exercises are being done correctly. You can also ask a physical therapist or occupational therapist to help you figure out how to make these exercises a routine part of your loved one’s daily routine.
Physical therapists and occupational therapists may also use massage, heat, water, passive exercise, or electricity to help your loved one recover.
WHAT SPEECH THERAPISTS DO
Also called: speech language pathologists (SLPs)If your loved one’s illness or injury has affected her speech, your home health agency might send a speech therapist to your home. Speech therapists provide care to improve a loved one’s speech, language, cognition, voice, and swallowing. They may provide drills and activities to improve skills, or they may provide strengthening exercises for the muscles of the lips and tongue.
WHAT VISITING NURSES DO
Also called: registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), advanced practical nurses (APNs), These nurses provide skilled care, including administering medications, changing dressings, managing catheters and intravenous lines, and giving injections. You can expect a visiting nurse to evaluate your loved one, take vital signs, and write detailed notes about your loved one’s progress.