Challenges in Home Health

Challenges in Home Health

Challenges in Home Health Nurses Guild Post

When searching for a home health care provider or therapy nursing for your loved one, I know there are plenty of considerations. Especially with the tumultuous state of health care right now, it can be intimidating. I thought it would be beneficial to provide some insight into the challenges of health care and home health right now, so that you can make special considerations for companies who have taken the steps to overcome adversity and deliver the best level of care for you or your loved one. I am basing some of the content of my post off of an article posted November 2013 by HealthWorks Collective, “3 Major Challenges Facing Home Care Today.1

First, HealthWorks Collective calls out a “lack of continuum of care1”, meaning that many seniors need care more continuously than they typically receive. If they do not reside in an assisted living environment, their only interaction with health care professionals comes with yearly doctor check ups or times when they may be sick, which often isn’t enough for what they really need. This could be due to the financial burden or distrust for the quality of providers – the reasons are endless. When seeking a provider, you want a company that understands the importance of continuous care for our elderly loved ones to preserve their health. 1

This ‘continuum’ also includes care that falls outside the bounds of therapy or medical care. There are some home health companies that provide services outside of therapy or medical care, such as hourly home care or medical social work, which can be a life-saver for unpaid family caregivers that may have no help or experience in caring for a loved one. When you hire a provider, you want to be comfortable that they are providing the best care to your loved one, even if a need doesn’t fall within a cookie-cutter therapy category. 1

The expenses that can fall under this continuous care category can be stifling. Many times, this is a primary hurdle that keeps seniors from receiving to continuum of care that they require. Make sure the companies you explore are Medicare-certified to offer services outside the box such as the live-in home care I previously mentioned, geri-psychiatric nursing, speech therapy and even potentially medical social work. 1

Another issue that HealthWorks Collective sites in the article is the prevalence of “preventable events1” – research found that “64% of home health care recipients experience medication errors. 1” Unfortunately, there are many home health providers in the marketplace, but some do not offer the high level of care that your loved one deserves. They found that most of these events came simply from a “failure to attend to significant changes in health status, 1” in the categories of clinical, behavioral and medication metrics1. To show you the breadth of the issue, “improper care1” errors costs $25 to $45 billion a year, not to mention the lives of our loved ones. This is why it is of grave importance that the provider is Medicare-certified (high level of health and safety requirements), offers personalized care, specialized home health services and has a proven track record of the highest level of care. 1

I encourage you to take a look at the article to read more about hospitalizations and the nature of that issue in the modern state of health care. 1

1HealthWorks Collective: “3 Major Challenges Facing Home Care Today.”