Frequently Asked Questions
What to expect?
When a person receives care at home, the home health staff provide the necessary care while maintaining respect for the individual's privacy and home. Staff must always remember they are a guest in the person's home. They must put the person at ease and develop the trust needed as the foundation for effective caregiving and communication.
When home health services are requested, Doctors orders are needed to initiate the care delivery process. Signed orders are required to begin home health treatment and then updated signed certifications (physician orders) are required at regular intervals to continue to provide the care outlined in the care plan.
Acceptance and admission to home care is made only after professional home health care staff evaluate and assess the individual's needs and it is determined that home care can meet the needs of the client. This is determined during (and not before) a visit in the client's home. A referral to a home health agency is not an automatic acceptance or admission to the home care agency caseload.
At the same time, the home health staff must assess the consumer's total environment as well as the physical/clinical aspects related to the individual's condition. During an initial assessment visit, most often performed by a registered nurse or therapist, evaluates a broad range of factors affecting a person's care at home:
- ability to perform activities of daily living
- family dynamics
- availability of caregiver support
- physical layout of home
- the consumer's physical status
- safety issues
- medication management, prescription and non-prescription
- availability of dressings, supplies and home medical equipment
- nutritional needs and support
- understanding and knowledge of condition and treatment
- community resource information
Based on the assessment, an individualized plan of care is developed. The physician, the individual and their family, home health staff together develop a plan of care (treatment plan) for the consumer.
During each visit, the home health staff assess how the individual is managing at home, including safety, diet and disease status, then communicate as needed this information to the physician and other home care staff as needed.
A variety of home health staff may be involved in the care such as a nurse, therapist, certified nurses aide and medical social worker. Team members work separately to achieve common goals for the consumer. Most often, the team members visit the home at different times and/or days. When necessary, case conferences are held for the caregiving team to meet to more fully plan and discuss the client's care.
The client and family as well as physicians are integral members of the home health team. They actively participate in treatment and planning decisions. Patient and family education are strong components of the care provided at home. When only non-medical supportive services are needed or requested, such as homemaker, companion or respite care, the above process may be somewhat different, with less involvement of professional clinical staff.