If you’ve been referred to seek out Utah home health care services for your parent or loved one, but aren’t sure where to start, this article is for you. Below, our home health experts break down what home health care is (and isn’t), when it’s the right choice for your loved one, and why home health care is often very affordable or even free.
But first, let’s define what home health care is.
Understanding Home Health Care
Home health care (sometimes simply referred to as “home health”) is skilled medical care provided at a private residence, or wherever a patient calls home. Usually, the patient’s physician orders this service to aid in a faster and more comfortable return to health following an extended hospital stay, surgery, or illness. Medicare outlines the following as the primary goals of home health care:
- Get better
- Regain your independence
- Become as self-sufficient as possible
- Maintain your current condition or level of function
- Slow physical or mental decline
Because home health care provides medically necessary care, it is provided by licensed healthcare professionals, such as nurses, physical therapists or occupational therapists.
Home Health Care, Hospice, and Home Care: Are These Different Services?
Yes; these terms seem very similar at first glance, but do describe separate and unique services.
Home health care, as described above, is skilled medical care at home. It’s usually provided by a nurse, certified nursing assistant, or therapist — or a combination of the three — and is administered with the goal of helping a patient return to health and a better quality of life following surgery, hospitalization, or illness.
Home care, sometimes referred to as personal care in Utah, refers to routine, non-skilled help for seniors and other individuals who may have difficulties completing daily living tasks in their homes on their own. Provided by a home care aide, home care may include meal prep, light housekeeping, companionship, medication reminders, and similar tasks.
Hospice is home health care for those entering the final stage of life. Rather than working toward a goal of recovery, hospice instead focuses on improving the person’s comfort and quality of life. It also supports caregivers during the final weeks or months of a patient’s life.
Where the Comfort of Home Meets Skilled, Capable Care
Utah home health care services are flexible; they adapt to each patient’s individual health needs. Here are a few important things to be aware of before your loved one begins home health.
Where Home Health Care is Offered
As mentioned above, home health is provided at home — wherever that may be for a patient. For many, it’s a private residence like a house or an apartment. As the name suggests, the greatest value of home health care is that it is quality medical care provided in the comfort of familiar surroundings. It doesn’t require the stress of transportation, meeting appointment times, or impersonal medical clinics.
How Long Home Health Care is Provided
Usually, home health care visits last 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the services a patient is receiving (see below). How long someone may expect to receive home health visits is also dependent on their condition. For some patients, two weeks may be sufficient. For others, one to three months may be required. Medicare stipulates that you can continue to receive home health care for as long as you qualify. However, your plan of care must be recertified every 60 days by a doctor.
What Happens at a Home Health Visit
At Active Home Health and Hospice, we’ve outlined three primary areas of care that are included in home health visits:
Observation and Assessment
Home health is more than just therapy. When there is a reasonable potential for change or modification in a patient’s condition or treatment, we come in to monitor these changes and prevent further complications.
Teaching and Training
We teach a patient, the patient’s family or caregivers how to manage the treatment program as appropriate to the patient’s functional loss, illness or injury.
Administration of Treatment
We safely and effectively administer medications or therapy when they require the skills of a licensed nurse. For more detail on the type of skilled care your loved one can receive, see below.
Types of Skilled Care Patients May Receive
Once a doctor refers your loved one for home health services, the home health agency you choose will then schedule an initial consultation. An intake coordinator will ask you and your parent or loved one some questions about their condition, pain, and other concerns.
The agency will then communicate directly with your loved one’s doctor to ensure their treatment plan best supports the patient’s recovery journey. They’ll also continue to stay connected with your loved one’s doctor to adjust therapy and nursing care as needed.
Here are the most common treatments our Utah home health agency offers:
Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy
- Therapeutic exercises
- Muscle strengthening exercises
- Balance and coordination exercises
- Hip replacement therapy
- Knee replacement therapy
- Lymphedema therapy
- Range of motion exercises
- Fall risk management
- Safety education
- Speaking and language
- Memory/thought organization
- Pain management
- Medication management
- Medication assistance
- Diabetic teaching
- Diabetic management
- Certified wound nurse
- Wound vac
- Catheter care
- Colostomy care
- In-home safety training
- IV therapy
- Chronic disease management
- Respiratory care
- Patient education
When Home Health Care is the Right Choice
To be covered by Medicare and private insurance, your loved one’s doctor must provide certification of their health needs before at-home treatment can begin. Typically, physicians order home health care for patients who will respond better to treatment in a comfortable, convenient environment. This includes patients with a wide variety of conditions that may inhibit their ability to move or leave the home, or have a weakened immune system that leaves them more susceptible to illnesses outside the home. Some of the most common conditions our home health agency in Utah sees are:
- Heart failure or other heart conditions
- Respiratory conditions like COPD
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s
- Other chronic illnesses
- Orthopedic Surgery (Such as a knee, hip, shoulder replacement)
- Fall recovery
- Wound care
However, this list is not exhaustive. If you’re wondering if home health is right for your parent or another loved one you provide care for, contact us; we’re here to help! Drawing from our experience, we can help you understand whether or not your loved one would benefit from at-home care and give you advice for requesting a physician’s certification.
Paying for Home Health Care
Unlike most other decisions in life, you don’t have to worry about the cost of home health care. Because home health care restores a patient’s health and slows their decline, it benefits insurance providers to cover the service. Both Medicare and Medicaid cover 100% of the cost of home health care when certified by a physician. Most private insurances also cover 100% of home health costs.
At Active, we accept traditional Medicare plans, along with TriWest, Tricare, and Worker’s Comp Fund. If you’re still unsure if you qualify, give us a call today and we can check for you!
Contact Us for Utah Home Health Care Services
Home health care brings attentive, skilled care to your loved one in the place they feel most comfortable. After a lengthy hospital stay or stroke, home health care can be a wonderful gift to patients looking to move forward and feel better.
If you’re searching for a home health care agency in Utah, consider Active Home Health, Hospice, and Personal Care. Active Home Health was started by local healthcare professionals who wanted to make a positive impact on patient care; read our recent testimonials to see what other families are saying about our staff and services.
We serve Salt Lake, Utah, Weber, Tooele, Davis, and Juab Counties in northern Utah and are ready to travel to wherever your parent is living. Call us today to begin your free care consultation.