Types of Home Care

“Home care” is a generic term that encompasses a wide array of health care and supportive services.  Here are some definitions to help consumers and families understand the different services offered by agencies:iStock_000022508870Small

Receiving care at home is a key step toward achieving positive health outcomes for many people. Sophisticated technology is expanding the range of services that can be provided in the home, while offering a safer and more comfortable environment for healing. Each home health agency offer a unique set of services to the communities they serve. Use the agency finder on the right to find the ones that best fits your needs.

  • Skilled Care is medical care provided by licensed health care providers.  It is generally short-term in nature.  Clients may receive services for one to two hours at a time, a couple days a week for several weeks or months. Skilled care includes:

Nursing Services

Registered nurses provide in-home visits to clients of all ages. Their services include skilled assessment, planning, monitoring, treatment, symptom management and evaluation in collaboration with your physician and other members of your health care team. They oversee the development of an individual’s plan of care and the staff assigned to perform various functions in the home and make recommendations for changes to the plan.

Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy

Physical, Occupational and Speech therapists offer a variety of services, especially after an illness or surgery, or to promote a safe home environment. All recommendations are developed as part of the client’s overall treatment plan.

Nutrition Counseling

A registered dietitian assesses and plans for a client’s nutritional needs, from basic meal planning to complex therapeutic diets. They determine whether enteral/parenteral feedings (hyperalimentation or tube feedings for clients with GI dysfunction) are adequate to meet nutritional needs.

Laboratory and Intravenous Support Services

Services include IV starts and re-starts; care of peripheral, central and P.I.C.C. lines; instruction to clients and caregivers; and management of all types of pumps for hydration, hyperalimentation and medication administration such as antibiotics, chemotherapy and pain management. Specimen collection and delivery to area laboratories for testing and analysis. Blood draws, blood screening tests and lab work, including cultures and urinalysis.

Non-Medical Support Services that assist people with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, assistance walking or transferring to and from a wheelchair and companionship.  These  “hands-on” services may be provided by a licensed nursing assistant (LNA) who is supervised by a nurse or a “personal care service provider (PCSP.)

Personal Care Services

Licensed nursing assistants help individuals with daily living activities and provide “hands-on” personal care. Specific duties depend on the needs of the individual.

Homemaker Services

Non-medical assistance is provided to clients such as help with laundry, groceries, cleaning and other routine household tasks.

Client Education and Teaching

Before a surgical procedure, home health staff can work in partnership with your physician to provide information on preparing for surgery. They can also offer instruction on post-operative care, proper use of assistive devices, and ensuring a safe home environment. After surgery, the home health team is available for nursing care, rehabilitation therapy, support services and personal care. Additional consulting is available for clients and their families to help with a better understanding of disease process, treatments, equipment, medications and nutritional needs.

Care at the End of Life: Home is likely the most familiar setting for someone who needs end-of-life care. Family and friends can come and go freely. Care at home can be a big job for family and friends—physically, emotionally, and financially. But, there are benefits too, and it is often a job they are willing to take on. Hiring a home health agency is an option for people who need additional help.

In order to make comfort care available at home, you will have to arrange for services (such as visiting nurses) and special equipment (like a hospital bed or bedside commode). Health insurance might only cover these services or equipment if they have been ordered by a doctor. The agency will work with you and your doctor to decide what is needed to support comfort care at home.

Care of the Terminally Ill

Different from hospice, this service offers an integrated array of supportive and clinical care where clients are able to continue to receive aggressive treatment. An agency does not have to be a Medicare-certified hospice to deliver these services. Hospice care includes services designed to keep individuals as comfortable as possible at the end of life.  It includes medical, emotional and spiritual support to people with terminal illnesses and their families.  Hospice care can be provided in the home, in assisted living facilities, nursing homes or licensed hospice houses.

Private Duty Care

 “Private duty care” is longer term care for people who need ongoing assistance. This may include private duty skilled nursing care for people who are seriously impaired.  They may need many hours of nursing care a day, or even round-the-clock care.  Private duty care may also include personal care services or homemaker services.  Private duty care is usually paid for by individuals or families.  It is not covered by Medicare.  In some instances, private duty care may be covered by Medicaid or private insurance.  Private duty agencies provide services to clients who pay on their own or who are covered by private insurance.  Some private duty agencies may limit their services to personal care or homemaker services.  Click here to find home care agencies serving your area.

Medicare-certified agencies

Medicare-certified agencies are licensed home health agencies that comply with strict federal regulations and are authorized to provide a full array skilled care services to Medicare beneficiaries.  In order to have home health services covered by Medicare, patients must meet certain medical requirements. Most Medicare-certified agencies also provide care for Medicaid, private insurance and private duty clients.  Click here to find home care agencies serving your area.

Click here for information or to find home care agencies that deliver different types of home care in New Hampshire’s communities.