Understanding Home Health Care

Understanding Home Health Care
Care Master | Independent Living
6 Min

Understanding Home Health Care

Home Health Care

Home Health Care is a range of health care services that can be provided in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care just as effective as care you provided in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, but offers convenience and accessibility for homebound patients.

What Services can I receive through Home Health Care?

Each patient will have an individual plan of care depending on their unique needs and situation. These may include;


A doctor may visit a patient at home to diagnose and treat the illness(es). He or she may also periodically review the home health care needs.


Nursing is most common form of home health care. In consultation with the attending physician, a registered nurse will set up a plan of care. This may include wound dressing, ostomy care, intravenous therapy, administering medication, monitoring the general health of the patient, pain control and patient/family education.

Physical, Occupational, and/or Speech Therapy

Some patients may need help relearning how to perform daily duties or improve their speech after an illness or injury. A physical therapist can put together a plan of care to help a patient regain or strengthen use of muscles and joints. An occupational therapist can help a patient with physical, developmental, social, or emotional disabilities relearn how to perform such daily functions as eating, bathing, dressing, and more. A speech therapist can help a patient regain functionality in the areas of speech, swallowing and cognition. 

Medical Social Services

Medical social workers provide various services to the patient, including counseling and locating community resources to help the patient in his or her recovery. Social workers also offer case management or the coordination of services to tend to the patient’s complex needs.

Home Health Aides

Home health aides can help the patient with his or her basic personal needs such as getting out of bed, walking, bathing, and dressing. Some aides have received specialized training to assist with more specialized care under the supervision of a nurse.

What are some examples of services that a Home Health Care patient might receive?

  • Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound

  • Patient and caregiver education

  • Rehabilitation from an illness, fall or surgery

  • Intravenous or nutrition therapy

  • Injections

  • Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status

  • Medication monitoring and assistance

In general, the goal of home health care is to treat an illness or injury so services will be dependent on the patient qualifying or recertifying for services.

Home health care can help to:

  • Recover

  • Regain independence

  • Become as self-sufficient as possible

  • Maintain your current condition or level of function

  • Slow decline

How can I receive Home Health Care?

A physician’s order is required to start home health care services. Your doctor will refer you to a licensed home health care agency who will come out to your home to complete a “start of care” evaluation. The home health agency staff will also talk to your doctor about your care and keep your doctor updated about your progress. The home health staff will visit you per the doctor's order as long as you qualify for services.

Examples of what the home health staff should do during a visit:

  • Monitor for hydration and nutrition

  • Monitor your vitals: blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and O2

  • Establish medication management protocols and monitor for adherence or adjustments needed

  • Assess and address pain

  • Check your safety issues in the home

  • Provide tools for you to be independent with your care

  • Coordinate your care (communicate with parties regarding your care needs?

How is Home Health Care paid for?

When home health care is considered medically necessary, it is covered, at least in part, by Medicare and other health insurance programs. Medicare restricts coverage to only those individuals who are considered “homebound”. A Homebound person is an individual that  requires assistance, either by another person or medical equipment (wheelchair), to leave their home. Medicare will not pay for non-medical personal care that is provided during the visit.