What You Can Expect From At-Home Healthcare Services
According to US government estimates, the number of people taking advantage of options like at-home healthcare services will reach 27 million by 2050. This is almost double the values from the year 2000.
While most of this jump is due to the increased proportion of elders in our population, senior citizens aren’t the only ones who benefit from healthcare at home. People of all ages who are recovering from illness, injury, or surgery can make use of these services.
What do home health agencies have to offer, and could they be the right choice for you or a loved one? For an in-depth look at the variety of services they offer, keep reading.
At-Home Nursing Care
There are at least 1.46 million at-home healthcare patients on any given day in the United States. Of those, most will receive home nursing care, the option most people are familiar with.
Home care nurses are fully-licensed RNs or LPNs that offer the same type of care you’d find in a hospital or doctor’s office. While you’ll still need a supervising physician to prescribe medications and sign off on some treatments, they can give you hands-on help around the clock.
Home nursing services include:
- Phlebotomy, injections, and IV administration
- Monitoring of vital signs
- Administration or set-up of medication
- Patient and family education
- Wound and bandage care
- Use of specialized medical equipment (catheters, ventilators, G-tubes, etc.)
- Advanced respiratory and tracheostomy care
- Diabetic monitoring
At-home nursing is a great option for those with complicated, long-term medical needs. Along with reducing the chance of falls and rehospitalization, it can return a level of independence that’s impossible in a hospital or nursing home facility.
Home Health Aides and Companions
Did you know that home care is beneficial even for people who don’t have advanced medical needs? For someone who needs moderate help with activities of daily living (ADLs) or basic medical treatment, a home health aide can give much-needed support.
Home health aides can assist with:
- Meal preparation and eating
- Light cleaning and housekeeping tasks such as laundry
- Running errands (grocery shopping and doctor appointments)
- Keeping track of a medication schedule
- Caring for pets
- Mobility support and assistance
- Maintaining a safe environment
Home health aides are especially beneficial for those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Some home care agencies also offer companionship as a separate service. Companions offer friendly interaction to people who have trouble leaving the house. They might assist in reading and writing letters, making appointments, and some ADLs, but they don’t provide medical care.
Many people avoid requesting home health aide or companionship support because they feel that their family members can be primary caregivers. This does work in some situations, but home care and companionship services are still a worthwhile addition to care from family. It can preserve relationships by preventing loved ones from experiencing caregiver burnout and also provide some much-needed external social interaction.
Medical Social Services
When conversations turn to long-term care of any sort, it’s important to give the person receiving care as much agency as possible in the decision-making process. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the services available to them and aren’t informed enough to make the best decisions.
That’s where medical social services come in.
Rather than providing long-term care themselves, medical social workers connect people with the resources available in their area. They might help someone find accessible housing, sign up for meals on wheels, or navigate their other options for at-home health care. They’re your biggest advocates and are dedicated to helping people live happy, healthy, independent lives.
Anyone who isn’t sure where to turn for home health care or doesn’t know what level of service they need could benefit from meeting with a medical social worker.
At-Home Therapy Services
Home health care isn’t limited to respite care and acute medical needs. It also applies to rehabilitation.
After having a stroke, operation, severe illness, or serious injury, many people need the help of a physical therapist (PT). Unfortunately, these same conditions can make traveling to outpatient appointments difficult or impossible. At-home physical therapy helps you retrain weak or injured muscles so you can get your mobility back.
Physical therapy appointments address these areas of concern:
- Reducing pain
- Increasing strength and endurance
- Improving balance, flexibility, and range of motion
- Improving safety
- Preventing future injury
After the initial evaluation, most therapy sessions will involve specialized exercises, stretches, and assessments to track your progress. Your PT may also use modalities like massage and e-stim to help your body heal.
Regaining physical strength is wonderful, but the reason most people want to recover is so they can get back to the activities they love. At-home occupational therapists (OTs) can help you do just that.
An OT will help you re-learn how to do the things that matter to you, whether it’s basic ADLs, hobbies, or essential job tasks. They’ll often teach you how to use adaptive tools and techniques to make the activity easier.
A pediatric occupational therapist can also help children with learning disabilities or developmental delays to become more confident and independent.
Someone who has trouble with cognition or communication might benefit from seeing a speech therapist (ST) at home. Contrary to popular belief, speech therapy does more than help people overcome a stutter. It addresses all the elements that make up effective communication, including:
- Volume and vocal projection
- Ability to follow a conversation
- Word finding
- Reading comprehension
- Verbal and/or sign language development
An ST can also help people that have trouble swallowing due to illness, injury, or genetic conditions.
At-Home Healthcare: Is It Right for You?
Home care agencies offer a range of services that can help people with a wide variety of medical conditions. Whether you need long-term assistance, rehabilitation, or basic companionship, at-home healthcare might be the personalized support you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for home health care in Toledo and the Northern Ohio area, give Med1Care a call or contact us online. Our at-home healthcare experts are standing by to answer any questions you may have.