What Is Home Care Nursing
When it comes to administering home health care, there are two types of skilled professionals who deliver care nurses and physical therapists.
Home health care nurses must be trained medical professionals licensed to practice in their state and equipped to follow a physician’s plan of care. Home care nurses typically work with elderly patients but may also provide services for children with mental or developmental issues, as well as patients with disabilities.
What Does a Home Health Nurse Do?
A home health nurse provides skilled services in keeping with a physician’s plan of care for a home health care patient. These services may include the following:
- Taking the patient’s vitals
- Completing medical treatments
- Recording symptoms in a journal
In addition to these simple tasks, a home health nurse helps facilitate communication between the patient’s physician and caregivers. Continuity of care is extremely important, and a home health nurse helps keep the lines of communication open, helping teach all involved parties how to properly manage the patient’s condition.
What Do Home Health Nurses Do on Their Visits?
When Can I Use Medicare Benefits For Home Care
Medicare Part A covers home care when:
Occupational Therapy , Speech Therapy and Home Health Aide cannot be provided as stand-alone, in-home services they can be provided only in conjunction with other care that meets the above criteria. If the client qualifies with these two criteria , THEN OT, ST, and HHA services can be covered only for that episode of care. As soon as the skilled need is no longer present, all care must cease.
For example: Mr. Smythe broke his hip and underwent hip surgery. He is finally home but needs dressing changes, physical therapy and occupational therapy . Mr. Smythe qualifies for in-home care as long as he needs the nurse or PT and is homebound. Once he can go to outpatient therapy, Medicare will no longer cover any services. Nurse Next Door is uniquely positioned to not only care for Mr. Smyth in his home, but also to assist him in the transition from Medicare-covered services to sustained quality of life by picking up where Medicare drops off.
Medicare Part B views therapy differently than Medicare Part A.
- Part B can provide PT and/or OT in the home even when a client is NOT homebound, and has more flexibility when it comes to maintenance therapy.
This is an important distinction. Even if you or your loved one do not meet the 2 criteria above, Medicare Part B may be able to help.
Does Medicaid And Medicare Cover Hearing Aids
Medicaid often provides coverage for a portion of the cost of hearing aids, but this coverage varies from state to state. Medicaid is required to pay for hearing screenings and other hearing-related tests for those who are 21 and younger. However, this coverage is no longer applicable for individuals who are over the age of 21.
Medicare does not cover the costs of hearing aids. However, if a PCP Referral is provided to the audiologist, Medicare will cover the cost of your hearing tests. Additionally, if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, other options might be available to you.
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Who Provides Home Care
Not all home care services offer the same peace of mind, and there are some important, but often unrecognized, issues to consider when hiring a caregiver. Home care services are best when provided through an agency that employs, trains, bonds and insures, and background checks its caregivers. This allows to you have peace of mind knowing that you are bringing someone into your home that you can trust. In addition, the agency will take care of any legal issues that occur should the caregiver or client be injured on the job.
On the other hand, a home care registry is an organization that helps you locate a caregiver and places one in your home on an independent contractor basis. Registries do not employ caregivers, nor do they take responsibility for their training and supervision. A private caregiver or an independent contractor with a home care registry may be highly compassionate, lower in cost, and an overall good fit with the client, but remember you will be liable for the payroll taxes and possible work related injuries of the caregiver.
Hiring a caregiver that is not background checked on a yearly basis and continuously trained by an agency that employs him or her creates a situation where you don’t know if the caregiver has the skills to perform the needed tasks, and potentially exposes you to the risks of using a caregiver with an unknown background. So, it is vital to check a private caregiver’s criminal and sexual abuse records at least annually.
Using Va Health Benefits To Pay For Home Care
The Veterans Health Administration Standard Medical Benefits Package may be used to provide various levels of home care services as an alternative to nursing home care and as a way of delivering respite care for veterans and their family caregivers. The VAs Skilled Home Health Care Services , Homemaker and Home Health Aide Services , and Home-Based Primary Care programs are available to all veterans who meet eligibility requirements for standard benefits, although some additional conditions may apply.
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Private Pay For Home Health Care Services
Private pay may be an option if you need home health care services but dont qualify for a government insurance program, if you dont have private insurance, or if you desire more services than these programs cover.
For several reasons, many seniors and their families choose to pay out-of-pocket for private care:
- Paying out-of-pocket gives you greater flexibility in the type and amount of services you order.
- In some cases, a patients Medicare coverage or other private insurance coverage may not pay for all of the home health care services needed or wanted.
- It may be that the benefits have been exhausted, or perhaps the patients medical needs do not qualify them for covered home care services.
What Home Health Care Services Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover
If you meet the Medicare conditions for home health care, you may not have a coinsurance or copayment. Since Medicare Supplement plans may pay coinsurance or copayments, your Medicare Supplement plan may not be necessary to cover any of the costs for home health care.
On the other hand, if your doctor recommends durable medical equipment to manage your condition at home, or to assist with your home care and medical therapy, all Medicare Supplement Plans generally pay some or all of the out-of-pocket costs associated with that equipment if it is medically necessary and provided by a supplier who participates with Medicare.
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Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Home Care Provider
When selecting a home care agency, it is important to know what questions to ask. Here are some examples of important questions that consumers should ask of a prospective service provider:
How long has the agency been providing private duty home care?
Is a written, customized care plan developed in consultation with the client and family members, and is the plan updated as changes occur?
How are emergencies handled after normal business hours?
Do they closely supervise the quality of care, including maintenance of a daily journal in the client’s home and non-scheduled supervisory visits?
Does the agency employ a nurse, social worker, or other qualified professional to make regular visits to the client’s home?
Do they triple-screen their caregiver employees carefully, including use of reference checks, driving records and criminal background investigations?
Does the agency mandate ongoing training of its employees to continually update their skills?
Does the agency manage all payroll and employee-related matters and adhere to state and federal guidelines in its employment practices, such as withholding appropriate taxes and providing workers’ compensation and other benefits?
Insurance For Home Care Providers Businesses And Agencies
Insurance for professional Home Health Aides is an underpinning to a successful career as a care provider. Whether you are a Home Health Care Provider working as an independent contractor or running your own agency, you should consider Home Health Care Insurance.
Home Health Care Provider and Home Health Care Business insurance is important because it can make the difference between keeping your agency open or having to close because of a costly claim that has arisen due to an accident or error.
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Health Aide’s Duties Responsibilities
Home health aides are considered health care paraprofessionals and must meet state-set training requirements.
They might live with the care recipient or work regular shifts. Along with doing routine chores the care recipient can no longer manage, such as laundry, cooking and shopping, the aides must be able to:
- Assist with activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, moving from one place to another, toileting and cleaning up afterward.
- Check vital signs such as blood pressure, respiration and pulse.
- Monitor a client’s physical and mental condition level of exercise and how much they are eating, drinking and going to the bathroom.
- Handle emergencies such as an accident, heart attack or stroke.
Home health aides do not provide services such as physical and occupational therapy or skilled nursing care. But they often are tasked with observing the care recipient’s physical and mental health, and reporting on conditions to a registered nurse or other health care professional.
Traits to look for in a home health aide include compassion, good communication skills and attention to detail, says Christian Steiner, owner and operator of the Manhattan office of Home Instead Senior Care, a national provider of home health services. Flexibility, honesty, patience, physical stamina and some medical knowledge also are required to do the job well.
What Are The Benefits Of Home Health Care
The primary benefit of home health care for the elderly is that it can be delivered directly to the patient’s residence, whether it be a private home, adult foster home, assisted living or residential care facility, memory care facility, or long-term nursing home. By delivering care directly to the patient, expensive hospital bills can be avoided.
Family members are encouraged to be active participants in the planning process to help set and meet goals, working with home health care professionals for the benefit of the patient.
Additional benefits of home health care for seniors include:
- Faster recuperation and recovery from illness or injury
- Improved independence
Pros of Home Health Care
- Care is delivered directly to the patient’s residence
- Medical services are provided by skilled professionals
- Home health care staff follow the physician-prescribed plan
- Patients regain independence and self-sufficiency at home
- Care is typically less expensive than hospitalization or a long-term nursing home
Cons of Home Health Care
- Home care services like cooking and cleaning may not be included
- Patients must meet the “homebound” requirements to qualify for Medicare
- May not be adequate for patients who require 24-hour monitoring
- Can be expensive if not covered by insurance or Medicare
- Number of home health care providers may be limited depending on location
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How To Get Home Health Care
There are several ways to apply for home health care, but the first step is to have your doctor evaluate your condition and draw up a home health care plan. Once you have a physician-prescribed plan, you can contact your health insurance company or work directly with an agency to establish service.
Before applying for home health care, make sure you meet all eligibility requirements.
Who Qualifies for Home Health Care?
There are rules for how to qualify for home health care, especially if you want it to be covered by your insurance or Medicare plan. In order to be eligible, you must meet these requirements:
- Be under the care of a physician who orders home health services
- Meet the definition of “homebound”
- Require skilled nursing or therapy services on an intermittent basis
Specific home health agencies may have additional requirements of their own, and you may also need to meet certain qualifications for your insurance plan. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these requirements before applying for home health care.
How to Pay for Home Health Care
Patients and their families can save considerably by choosing home health care over long-term hospitalization or a skilled nursing facility. Still, medical care is expensive. When it comes to paying for home health care, there are several options:
- Public third-party pay
- Private third-party pay
At Keystone Health, we accept Medicare along with other private insurance plans and self-pay options.
Improve Medicare For All Beneficiaries
Medicare is extremely popular, but it needs attention to ensure all beneficiaries receive comprehensive coverage and equitable treatment. The Medicare program that Americans know and cherish has been allowed to wither. Traditional Medicare, preferred by most beneficiaries, has not been improved in years, yet private Medicare Advantage plans have been repeatedly bolstered. Its time to build a better Medicare for all those who rely on it now, and will in the future.
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What Is A Home Health Aide
A home health aide is a professional who provides assistance to patients with special needs, including those who are disabled, chronically ill, or cognitively impaired. They may also provide services for seniors who require assistance in the home.
A home health aide may provide services including checking vital signs, assisting with personal hygiene, administering medication, and employing other elements of a physician-prescribed plan of care.
Home Health Aide vs. Personal Care Aide
The duties of a home health aide and a personal care aide overlap at times, but the key difference is that home health aides typically work for agencies instead of being directly employed by their clients. Home health aides play an important role in the continuity of care, coordinating among caregivers and medical professionals, and tracking the condition and progress of their clients.
While home health aides and personal care aides provide services to the same type of patient, a personal care aide’s duties are typically limited to non-medical services. This may include dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning, running errands, doing laundry, and providing companionship for their clients.
What Home Health Care Is Covered By Medicare
Because Medicare Supplement Plans generally only cover out-of-pocket costs for services covered by Original Medicare, its important to know what benefits are available under Original Medicare for home health care.
Depending on your diagnosis, why your doctor believes you need home health care, and the type of care you need, your benefits may be covered by Part A or Part B. Generally speaking, however, Medicare will only pay for home health care services if one or more of the following apply:
- Youre under a doctors care and your home health services are part of a written treatment plan.
- Your doctor certifies that you need intermittent skilled nursing care or medical therapy services at home to either improve or maintain your condition.
- Your doctor certifies that you are homebound.
If Medicare approves your home health care services, you generally pay nothing for them, as long as both your doctor and your home health provider participate in Medicare.
However, Medicare generally doesnt cover homemaker services, 24-hour a day care at home, or custodial or personal care if this is the only care you need. If you need this type of care, you may pay 100% out of pocket, even if you have a Medicare Supplement plan.
NEW TO MEDICARE?
Essential Coverage For Home Health Care Providers
General liability insurance
From $30 a month
Takes care of medical expenses, your legal defense and compensation, too, if you’re liable. Even if a claim is groundless.
Professional liability insurance
From $22.50 a month
If a client claims you’ve made a mistake and it’s cost them, professional liability insurance can cover your legal costs and damages, if you’re liable.
Buy general liability or professional liability insurance separately. Or, if you need both, buy them as a package. Fill out a short form and well get back to you with our best quote in one working day.
Do Home Nurses Need Malpractice Insurance
Home health nurses have an extra layer of risks to face since they are providing more medical services than a home health aid. Just like a nursing home would need nursing home malpractice insurance, you will need malpractice insurance as well. Working for a nursing home usually means that they will cover you under their malpractice insurance, but as a home health nurse, this is not usually the case. Often you may be working as an independent contractor so you will be responsible for your own insurance.
Unlike General Liability insurance, malpractice or Professional Liability is a very specific type of protection. It will provide coverage for the following:
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Reverse Mortgages & Helocs
Families can self-pay for care by using their home as a financial resource. Two options include reverse mortgages and home equity lines of credit. However, depending on ones marital status, their severity of need and the projected length of need, these options might not make economic sense. For example, if the person in need of care is single and may need to move into residential care within a two-year period, then a reverse mortgage is probably not the best option. Read more about when it is best to use each of these options and their pros & cons at the following links: Reverse Mortgages & Home Equity Lines of Credit