What are Home Health Care Agencies?

Harriette Halepis

Home health care agencies provide skilled nursing care to those suffering from an illness or disability. Often, these agencies cater to elderly people, though this is not always the case. Any person in need of medical attention at home can contact a home health care agency in order to arrange for daily or weekly nursing visits.

A home health care nurse may provide wound care.
A home health care nurse may provide wound care.

The term home health care refers to agencies that provide medical care to patients, while home care simply refers to individuals without medical training that may assist with basic care needs. The goal of home health care is to allow a person suffering from an illness or injury to remain inside of his or her home without being moved to a nursing care or rehabilitation facility.

Unlike caregivers, individuals who work for home health care agencies do not perform housework or other home chores. Instead, these professionals administer medical treatment in the form of wound care, psychological help, medication instruction, pain management, physical therapy, speech therapy, and even occupational therapy. The basic tasks of a home health care provider will vary from patient to patient, though the premise of the job remains the same.

In most instances, home health care agencies hire individuals with some type of formal medical training. This training can include a nursing, psychology, medical, or therapy degree. Health care assistants may assist medical professionals with patients, though these individuals do not need to have any formal training. Instead, assistants should have some type of experience working within an institutional environment.

Most professionals within this field do not live inside of a patient's home. However, some home health care agencies provide patients with live-in caretakers. Both types of agencies exist, though the cost associated with a live-in caretaker is often greater than the cost of a visiting health expert.

Generally, medical insurance will cover the costs of a home health care provider. Those considering hiring a home care professional can find out more about payment information by contacting the proper insurance agency or company. Within countries that offer citizens free health care, finding a home health care provider may be harder, since these professionals are often in high demand.

In order to find home health care agencies, begin by asking your primary care giver for a recommendation. Also, health care services can be found by searching the Internet for home medical service providers. Agencies will consider any type of patient, though those patients that require the most assistance are often made a top priority.

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