What are in Home Health Agencies?

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  • Written By: Summer Banks
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2018
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In home health agencies refer to organized caregivers who work with patients and clients in the privacy of their own homes. These agencies often employ both nurses and home health aides to meet the needs of the client. In home health agencies tend to charge less for care than private nurses and caregivers.

The in home health agencies working today are different from those established years ago. The roots of home health services date back to the 1800s. During that time, wealthy people wanted care to take place in their homes, as opposed to in a hospital setting. The majority of the patients needing such care were injured or sick with short-term ailments. It was not until the 1940s that care for patients with long-term illnesses was included in the range of duties performed by many home healthcare agencies.

Home health services are often not limited to the physical care of the patient. In home care may include cleaning, cooking, and personalized social interaction. In cases where daily duties such as bathing, dressing, and socialization are the limit of care needed, the in home health services may not need to be rendered by a licensed nurse. A personal care assistant or nursing assistant may be able to attend to the patient with such needs.


Social services are also included through some home care agencies. These can include speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. In each case, the specialist trained in the care needed will often be sent in addition to the home health nurse or assistant.

In cases where the medical care needed is more involved, such as a patient needing care for a Foley catheter or intravenous (IV) fluids, in home health agencies may send a licensed nurse. A nursing assistant may complete the more routine tasks required by such a person. The client may also have the right to request a licensed nurse to meet all of their needs, though the pricing for a full-time nurse will often be more than that of a nursing assistant.

Many in home health agencies provide care that is covered by health or medical insurance. Before establishing care, it is often recommended that the patient or family contact any insurance company providing coverage for the patient. The insurance company should be able to explain any coverage limits and information about the types of care covered by existing medical insurance. In certain cases, care given by in home health agencies are covered by a form of government insurance, such as Medicare in the U.S.



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