Home care is non-medical, direct care or assistance provided by an individual caregiver in the person’s home where the client or patient is receiving care, rather than medical care provided in nursing homes or group clinics. Home care is also called domiciliary care, residential care, or domiciliary therapy. The services of a home care professional are usually provided in the client’s home by a relative or close friend who has been hired for the purpose. The term ‘home care’ can cover all aspects of receiving medical care including, but not limited to, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, electrotherapy, and other related procedures. In some instances, a patient may need to provide care in the form of 24-hour assistance, either during the actual hospital stay or immediately following discharge from the hospital.
Health care professionals who provide home care include licensed nurses, therapists, and chiropractors, physician assistants, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse anesthetists, and chiropractors. The services of the primary care provider (PCP) may include primary care providers, physicians, and other specialists such as allergists, podiatrists, and others. A patient’s primary care provider may be another health care provider or a nurse practitioner, chiropractors, or some other healthcare professional. There are a variety of ways that a patient’s primary care provider may provide care, including providing medication recommendations and referral; providing diagnosis and treatment; and offering supportive services such as assisting with bathing, dressing, and related activities. The services of the primary care provider may also extend to certain occupational tasks such as helping patients with walking, lifting items, and other tasks of daily living.
The scope of home care services can vary widely depending on the situation. For example, some patients and loved ones may require assistance with simple tasks that involve little or no physical therapy at all. Other patients may benefit from a range of medical professionals including a physical therapist, massage therapist, osteopath, physician, and chiropractors. A home healthcare provider may work in conjunction with other medical professionals to provide the best possible care for the patient.
Many people mistakenly think that they will have to choose a home care provider that will work closely with their doctor or with other family members. This is not the case. A personalized care plan can be developed and established between the patient and the caregiver with the help of the patient’s family members. In this way, the person who will be a caregiver can be highly involved and make adjustments to the personalized care plan as necessary. A patient and his or her family members may even decide that they do not wish to continue with the services of a particular caregiver after a time period has been established for the care to be provided.
The benefits of having a caregiver providing home care for a patient are numerous. First, the patient will be receiving one-on-one health care that is consistent and very personalized. Second, a patient who receives regular house calls from a licensed nurse practitioner will receive preventive care that can save his or her life if a problem were to develop. Third, nurse practitioners are trained to provide holistic remedies to their patients. Fourth, these same benefits can be enjoyed by patients who are not suffering from a physical condition that warrants hospitalization.
A home assessment is a great way to determine what type of care will be most beneficial for an aging person. The assessment is more than just making a phone call to inquire about what type of services would be available. Home assessments offer important information about a person’s current medical condition, medications, and any potential diseases or illnesses that he or she may have that could require specialized treatment. The information gathered from a home assessment can lead to the development of an appropriate health care plan for the older person. Home care can offer many advantages for the older person, which should be taken into consideration when a nursing facility is contacted.