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Private-duty nursing makes home a place for healing.
As more people opt to stay in their own homes as they age or recover from illness, demand for home healthcare continues to increase substantially.
Numerous factors drive this trend, but first and foremost, patients and their families prefer it. Home healthcare enables patients to remain in the comfort of their own homes and helps avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital or doctor's office. It also saves time and money. And home healthcare can even prolong or prevent the need for nursing home care.
“As we age, we feel more vulnerable,” explains Angela Daugherty, RN, director of Visiting Nurse Association CarePlus. “And home is where people feel most comfortable.”
Daugherty heads the agency’s private-duty nursing services, as well as home-based physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. She also helps families arrange for private-duty home health aides, who assist patients with personal care needs. She and her team work to make the experience as comfortable and seamless as possible.
“Letting people into your personal space and helping you with personal care. . . it takes a lot to build that relationship,” she added. “We work with the direction of the patient’s physician, and we are very much focused on the individual.”
While private-duty nursing is not covered by most insurance, some long-term care insurance policies do include it. In many cases, Medicare covers a pre-determined number of home health nursing visits after a hospital admission. But often, people reach out to VNA for supplemental visits or for help after insurance runs out.
Daugherty explained some of the most common ways people use private-duty nursing.
- Bridging the Gap. After discharge from the hospital, many people return home with medical needs like colostomy, catheter, IV, or wound care, just to name a few. That homecare can be covered under Medicare for a designated period of time, but patients also turn to private-duty VNA to bridge the gap with extra days of nursing support. This is especially helpful when there is not a family member available or able to provide the care. Without this healthcare option, many people have to go to a nursing home.
- Medication management is another major reason people living at home will reach out for a visiting nurse.
“One of the largest reasons why our seniors end up in the hospital is that they are not taking their meds properly,” explained Daugherty. “Someone ends up missing their blood pressure pill or they have trouble taking it as directed or getting refills. We help people navigate all this and stay ahead of it.”
- Health maintenance and peace of mind. Families gain peace of mind when a health professional checks in with their loved one, especially for patients with conditions like dementia, diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension. A professional can pick up on any change or worsening in a condition and advise the doctor, often avoiding a visit to the emergency room. Staying in one’s home also helps avoid exposure to other viruses or illnesses.
- Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. When someone is discharged from the hospital, these therapies are usually covered for eligible patients for a limited period of time. People turn to VNA to supplement treatments or sometimes just for maintenance. This is especially helpful for those with degenerative diseases like Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis, as well as for people recovering from a stroke, a fall, or illness.
VNAO is one of the few home health agencies in northeast Ohio that provides private-duty nursing. For more information, call (216) 931-1500.