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What is Medical Home Care?

By Anna Harrison
Updated May 17, 2024
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Medical home care is a wide range of services and care provided to those who are seriously or chronically ill as well as the elderly and handicapped. Care is provided one on one in the patient's home by several levels of medical professionals and paraprofessionals and may be short or long term. This form of care may be provided every day or as infrequently as once a week depending on the level of assistance required.

Certified home health aides and personal care aides provide medical home care under the direct supervision of a registered visiting nurse or therapist. A nurse usually attends the first home visit with an aide and gives a detailed plan of care to follow on each visit. Duties often include the administration of medications, monitoring vital signs, and observing the patient while changing bandages and dressings. In most situations, sterile applications must be done by a nurse rather than an aide.

Medical home care also involves providing assistance with exercise, diet, and personal hygiene. This simple type of medical home care is the type most commonly required. Aides can usually provide most of the assistance in these areas and are required to submit several forms each day with detailed information regarding the exact medical services rendered.

Basic medical home care also involves helping diabetic patients to monitor blood sugar levels and taking urine samples. Both aides and nurses monitor a patient's supply of medical products, such as catheters and tubing, liquid oxygen, and intravenous medications to ensure that the patient does not run out. They often assist patients with reordering these supplies.

More experienced home care specialists may provide more intensive medical home care such as assisting with an ostomy system or the use of Hoyer lifts to move patients. They may also move bedridden patients to promote postural drainage and may apply topical medications to stable skin surfaces. Neither aides or nurses are allowed to cut a patient's nails although this is often requested. This service must be handled by a doctor due to the possibility of infection from nails that are cut too short.

Any agency that is offering medical home care should be certified by a number of reliable public and private organizations. In the United States, this should include certification by both Medicare and Medicaid. Agencies may also be certified by such organizations as the National League for Nursing or the Joint Committee for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations among others.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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