There are many reasons to be apprehensive about saying yes to home care. Reasons range from concerns about finances, to a fear of losing control and privacy, to the belief that family members can manage needed care on their own. However, a recent report from the United Hospital Fund (UHF) and the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (the Alliance) might help you reconsider saying no. The report, "I Can Take Care of Myself!": Patients' Refusals of Home Health Care Services," was prepared following a study by Kathyrn Bowles, PhD, of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and the University of Pennsylvania. This study revealed that approximately one-third of patients eligible for home health care refused the services. Further, those patients were twice as likely as those who accepted to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 or 60 days. To view the full report, please click here.
Medicare-certified Home Health agencies provide skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy to individuals in their homes. Most offer aide services to assist with personal care, and social work services to facilitate community resources. If you are a Medicare recipient, these services are covered under your Medicare Part A benefit. Currently there is no co-pay or co-insurance (although at times there is "noise" at the Federal level about implementing one). Most private insurance companies also have a home health benefit, but some carriers do have a co-pay, co-insurance or some form of patient responsibility. This type of home care assists individuals transitioning home from a hospital, rehab or skilled facility and provides intermittent visits based on a patient's needs. Some may only need a few visits over 2-3 weeks, some need more. VNA also sees an increasing number of physicians referring from their offices to try to help their patients avoid hospitalization or other higher level of care.
There are other available resources for help in your home that are primarily private pay support services. Some of these services include companionship and caregiver respite, meal planning and preparation, shopping, transportation to appointments, etc. Some long-term care insurance policies will offset the cost of this assistance, but every policy is different, so be sure to work with your potential provider and carrier.
Being hospitalized is rarely a welcome experience, and coming home is usually daunting, both physically and emotionally. The providers in our community provide patients with options to assist them with that transition. Maximize your chances to avoid a rehospitalization and think twice before saying no to home care!
Chief Executive Officer
Douglas County VNA