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Three ways to get home healthcare and how to choose the right provider

Home-based healthcare is growing throughout the United States. And for good reason: It is more convenient for patients, saves money, and reduces trips to the doctor’s office.  Most importantly, outcomes at home are typically more favorable- from physical therapy to wound care to heart monitoring, patients are happier and more comfortable recovering in their own homes.

So how does someone get home healthcare? There are three main pathways.

  1. Upon discharge from the hospital or a skilled nursing facility, many patients will require further assistance to continue recovery. Depending on the case, some people may go straight home while others recuperate in nursing home. Either way, continuing care is usually covered by insurance for a designated period of time, and specific benchmarks must be met. During this period, home-based caregivers provide can support and help teach the patient or family members to care for their new health needs.
  2. Doctor referral for conditions like diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic wounds, injury or illness can be provided. In some cases, a doctor can order homecare for these diagnoses for a designated period of time. Many people can receive educational support, monitoring, assistance with medications, nutritionists, and even physical and/or occupational therapy in their own homes.
  3. Private duty nursing and aides are available to help by the shift or around the clock. This is helpful for people who are home alone and need help with anything from taking medications, eating and bathing, light house cleaning, walking and/or transferring, driving to the store and more. These services are paid out-of-pocket, and families often choose this option to enable their loved one to continue living safely at home when someone cannot be there to assist them.

Ryan Shifley, Executive Director of Strategy for VNA of Ohio, recommends looking up ratings of home care agencies available online. For example, Medicare posts home health agency ratings that are updated every six months.

 "Any rating over 3 stars is considered above average,” he explained.

He adds that it is not unusual for people to be curious about the new person who may be coming into their home and says his team of experienced nurses, therapists, and aides have strategies to help make their patients comfortable.

“Our responsibility is to give patients and families as much information up front about what we are doing, what is our plan, and what to expect when we come to visit to help make them most comfortable,” he said.  "I always tell people, ‘This is what I look like. This is what my car looks like.’ We make sure to wear our badges, carry our supplies bag, and wear a uniform. We arrive on time and engage with the patient.” 

He also says that having a friend or family member present makes people feel more comfortable and also helps with remembering all the instructions and information.

“Regardless of the situation, good caregivers build trust, engage with the patient, and make a human connection,” added Shifley. “People remember you and value how you treated them and how you made them feel.”

For more information about home care options, please call the VNA of Ohio at (216) 931-1300.