“Home, sweet home.” It’s a famous saying for a reason. We love being at home, whether snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie, ordering take-out, working out in the living room or even working from the comfort of our home office.
So when we or a loved one needs extended medical care, why not receive this service at home too?
Nurses and aides often provide senior home healthcare services, but at-home medical attention extends beyond working with elderly patients. Read on to learn what home healthcare really means, what services are covered and how you can provide these services in a rewarding career as a medical professional.
What is home healthcare?
Many injuries and illnesses can be treated at home. For many, especially those who aren’t feeling well, the thought of going to a hospital or other care facility can bring added stress. Home healthcare allows patients to receive the same quality of medical services in the comfort of their homes. Not only is it more comfortable, but it can be more cost-effective in the long run—especially for patients requiring long-term care.
What are the types of home healthcare services?
Medical professionals can’t treat all illnesses and injuries in a patient’s home. Some patients may require special equipment or the additional support of a medical facility. If you’re seeking home healthcare (or interested in providing it), these are the services home healthcare often include:
- Wound care: Post-op patients and those who’ve recently sustained an injury can have their bandages changed and wounds monitored by in-home healthcare professional.
- Administration of medications: Certain registered nurses (RNs) and other caregivers can administer IVs, injections, vaccines, and oral medications to those receiving in-home patient care.
- Patient monitoring: Patients with chronic illnesses or even those receiving end-of-life or palliative care can be monitored right at home. Patients who need additional or more advanced services can be transported to a medical facility.
- Nutrition therapy: Part of healing is getting the proper nutrients; this type of therapy can be provided intravenously (and otherwise) at home.
- Testing: Medical professionals can collect blood and urine samples and, in some cases, use mobile X-rays at home.
- Physical therapy: Therapists can provide this type of recurring care, allowing recovering or aging patients to skip the trip to private practice.
Who qualifies for home healthcare services?
Many private health insurance programs, health plans, and government healthcare systems like Medicare offer in-home healthcare services. Each provider has its own criteria and regulations, but here are some basic eligibility requirements you may need to meet to qualify:
- Be homebound: Patients who cannot leave their homes to receive medical treatment elsewhere due to disabilities or other reasons are likely to be considered for home healthcare services.
- Need intermittent care from skilled professionals: Individuals who need near-constant care for their healthcare needs from a medical professional, like a nurse or speech therapist, may be eligible for in-home services.
- Have an order of home health from your doctor: The patient’s primary physician must provide an order stating they need to receive care at home due to their condition.
What is the difference between home care and home healthcare?
The difference between home care and home healthcare is more than just one word. These two programs include different services—home care involves non-clinical services. Home care focuses more on the patient’s well-being and daily life than nursing and other primary care.
Here are some traditional home care services:
- Transportation to appointments
- Meal preparation
- Companionship, including playing games and interacting with the patient
- Help with hygiene, like bathing and grooming
- Help with eating
- Medication reminders
- Help with managing financings, like writing checks and paying bills
- Help with errands
- Help with moving safely around the home
- General supervision
How to become a home healthcare professional
If you’re interested in providing home healthcare services rather than receiving them, it’s time to learn what it takes to find a career in this field.
There are a number of different roles in home healthcare, from a home health aide to a hospice nurse, and each position requires specialized education and training.
For example, home health aides don’t need to attend nursing school, but they’ll need to take a course that instructs them on keeping patients safe, taking vital signs, assisting with basic hygiene tasks, and performing housekeeping. On the other hand, hospice nurses must attend college-level programs, become registered nurses and obtain special certifications to provide at-home medical services.
Whether you work at a hospital or in a patient’s home, one thing’s for sure: You need comfortable, high-performance scrubs to keep you looking and feeling your best throughout your shifts. As you care for others, let us care for you with high-quality performance scrubs and all the moral support imaginable.