Home Health Care

What is Home Health Care?

Older adults often require a variety of professional medical services after an illness, injury or hospital stay, but don’t need the level of care provided by a skilled nursing facility. Under a physician’s direction, home health care agencies coordinate in-home visits from:

  • Wound care specialists

  • Speech and language therapists

  • Physical therapists

  • Occupational therapists

  • Registered nurses

  • Home health aides

In addition to home health care, non-medical home care may also be beneficial to those who require help with activities of daily living. 

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Types of In-Home Medical Care

Home health care may be required on a short- or long-term basis and is categorized accordingly. 

Intermittent

This type of skilled care is typically prescribed following a surgery or a qualifying hospital stay to help regain strength and independence. The transitional, convalescing care may only be necessary for a few days or it may last for a few months. During this time one or more care professionals make visits and work toward common goals of self-sufficiency. Someone who has suffered a minor stroke, for example, may need an interdisciplinary team to relearn motor and language skills, while another person may need a wound specialist to change dressings until a surgical incision heals.

Continuous 

This type of home care is usually reserved for those who have chronic illnesses or progressive conditions. These may include Parkinson’s disease, diabetes or dementia. As the situation becomes more complex, more medical services are added to the home health plan until admittance to a skilled nursing facility or hospice is necessary.

Medicare Coverage

Home health benefits are available through Original Medicare for short-term care (generally 21 days or less, though extensions may be granted) as long as certain criteria are met. Be sure to verify that the home health agency you choose is a certified provider to prevent any out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare also covers the full cost of doctor-prescribed supplies for home health care, including bandages and dressings. Durable medical equipment is typically covered at 80%. Home health agencies are required to provide written notice (Advance Beneficiary Notice of Non-coverage) before administering a service or supply that is not covered by Medicare. Medicaid coverage varies by state.

Original Medicare typically does not cover long-term home health care. Medicare Advantage or private insurance plans may provide benefits for continuous care, however.

Regain Strength and Independence With Home Health Care

Search our directory and schedule professional, in-home medical care and rehabilitation following a hospital stay, surgery or illness. Prefer to speak with a SeniorLeaf advisor? Call 1-833-MY-SENIOR.