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About Home Health Care

Aug 15

Home Health Care is medical services provided at home to treat a chronic health condition or help a person recover from surgery or illness. It is usually covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance policies.

Unlike personal care, home health services are prescribed by a doctor and provide nursing and physical, occupational and speech therapy on a short-term basis.


Northeast Ohio Home Health Care aides do non-medical home health care tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning and help seniors run errands or attend social and family events. They also remind senior patients to take their medications.

Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care insurance often reimburse for these services. A nurse from the home health agency visits the patient and develops a personalized care plan.

Home Health Aide

Home health aides (HHA) and personal care aides (PCA) are non-medical professionals who follow physician orders. Both the patient and the agency for which they work rely on them to complete tasks as prescribed and document their completion honestly.

HHAs must have the ability to communicate and connect with their patients. They also need to manage their time efficiently so they can move from client to client in a timely manner.


Home health care professionals include nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, medical social workers, respiratory therapists and wound care specialists. Many Medicare health plans cover home healthcare services.

A nurse meets with patients in their homes to assess their needs and create a care plan. A nurse also educates patients on their conditions, medications and treatment. They often work in teams with a physician.

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapy helps patients return to their everyday activities. This includes assessing and making recommendations for adaptive equipment, like walkers and wheelchairs, to help improve mobility.

Medically necessary home health care services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurance. To qualify, you must have a doctor's order and be considered "homebound" with a medical condition that makes leaving the house difficult.

Physical Therapist

Home health care services can help patients recover from illness, injury or surgery and stay at home instead of being hospitalized or placed in a nursing facility. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies often cover the cost of home health care services.

Choosing a home health agency is an important step in getting the best care. Check with your doctor or family and friends for recommendations and look for agencies that are Medicare-certified.

Speech Therapist

Home health care can be less expensive, more convenient and just as effective as medical support received in the hospital. Many private insurance companies and government-sponsored programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, cover these services.

Traveling to and from therapy appointments can be difficult for some patients. In-home sessions eliminate this stress and allow the therapist to work with the client in their most comfortable setting.


Home health care can consist of medical care like wound care or non-medical care like help with bathing and meal preparation. A registered dietitian is often part of the team.

A dietitian can help manage nutritional issues that come with aging. They are trained to provide individualized nutrition interventions such as a therapeutic diet for chronic conditions. They also teach caregivers and families about the dietary needs of elderly people.

Laboratory Tests

Laboratory tests can help doctors diagnose medical conditions, plan treatments and monitor health conditions. Some lab tests can be done at home.

At-home testing has become more available in recent years, with companies offering a variety of direct-to-consumer tests for conditions such as STDs, cholesterol, urinary tract infections and more. Consumers should carefully consider the pros and cons of these home tests.

Medical Equipment

Medical devices that are used in home health care have unique challenges. They must be easy to operate by lay caregivers who often lack clinical experience with the device or procedures.

Ideally, devices designed for telehealth will communicate with each other or with medical professionals to provide better care. This is possible through human factors engineering principles and processes. Medicare covers durable medical equipment if your doctor certifies that you are homebound and require intermittent skilled care.


Home healthcare workers face a number of health and safety hazards in the course of their work. They may come into contact with bloodborne pathogens, ergonomic hazards from patient lifting, and other risks in the course of their responsibilities.

You must meet eligibility requirements to receive home health care, such as having a doctor who can certify that you are homebound and needing skilled services. There are also private-pay agencies that offer companion and homemaker services that do not require a physician's order.