Types of Home Health Care Services
The range of home health care services a patient can receive at home is limitless. Depending on the individual patient's situation, care can range from nursing care to specialized medical services such as laboratory work-ups. You and your physician will determine your care plan and services you may need at home. At-home care services may include:
- physician care
A physician may visit a patient at home to diagnose and treat the illness(es). He or she may also periodically review the home health care needs.
- nursing care
The most common form of home health care is some type of nursing care depending on the patient's needs. In consultation with the physician, a registered nurse will set up a plan of care. Nursing care may include wound dressing, ostomy care, intravenous therapy, administering medication, monitoring health of patient, pain control, and other health support.
- physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy
Some patients may need help relearning how to perform daily duties or improve their speech after an illness or injury. A physical therapist can put together a plan of care to help a patient regain or strengthen use of muscles and joints. An occupational therapist can help a patient with physical, developmental, social, or emotional disabilities relearn how to perform such daily functions as eating, bathing, dressing, and more. A speech therapist can help a patient with impaired speech regain the ability to communicate clearly.
- medical social services
Medical social workers provide various services to the patient, including counseling and locating community resources to help the patient in his or her recovery. Some social workers are also the patient's case manager - if the patient's medical condition is very complex and requires coordination of many services.
- care from home health aides
Home health aides can help the patient with his or her basic personal needs such as getting out of bed, walking, bathing, and dressing. Some aides have received specialized training to assist with more specialized care under supervision of a nurse.
- homemaker or attendant care
While a patient is being medically cared for in the home, a homemaker or attendant can maintain the household with meal preparation, laundry, grocery shopping, and other housekeeping chores.
Some patients who are home alone may require a companion to provide comfort and supervision. Some companions may also perform some household duties.
- volunteer care
Volunteers from community organizations can provide basic comfort to the patient through companionship, helping with personal care, providing transportation, and/or helping with paperwork.
- nutritional support
Dietitians can come to a patient's home to provide dietary assessments and guidance to complement treatment.
- laboratory and x-ray imaging
Certain laboratory tests, such as blood and urine tests, can be performed in the comfort of the patient's home. In addition, portable x-ray machines allow lab technicians to perform this service at home, if needed.
- pharmaceutical services
Medicine and medical equipment can be delivered at home. If the patient needs it, training can be provided on administration of the medication or use of the equipment, including intravenous therapy.
There are companies that provide transportation to patients who require transportation to and from a medical facility for treatment or physical examination.
- home-delivered meals
Often called Meals-on-Wheels, many communities offer this service to patients at home who are unable to cook for themselves. Depending on the patient's needs, hot meals can be delivered several times a week.
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