What is home healthcare (also referred to as home care)?
Home health care is a formal, regulated program of care delivered by a variety of health care professionals in the patient’s home. It is also a Medicare benefit, provided certain requirements are met. For many reasons, the need for home health care has grown rapidly in the past decade. Typical services delivered to the patient in their home include Skilled Nursing, Physical Therapy, Home Health Aide, Medical Social Services, and Durable Medical Equipment.
How can I choose Integrity Home Healthcare?
Integrity Home Healthcare is one of many State-licensed and Medicare-certified agencies to choose from in greater Chicagoland. When a patient is eligible and interested to receive home healthcare services, one must choose an agency that would provide services. Assistance in choosing an agency may be obtained from doctors, case managers, social workers, or even family and friends. Ultimately, the choice is that of the patient.
What are the requirements for a patient to be eligible for home health services?
There are several requirements for receiving home health care:
- You must have a doctor’s referral for home health care.
- You must need either skilled nursing care on an intermittent basis or therapy services (i.e., physical/occupational/speech therapy)
- You must be restricted in your ability to leave home (“homebound”), and your homebound status must be certified by a physician.
This means that you require the help or supervision of another person, or you use a supportive device such as a cane or walker. You can leave the home as often as you need for medical treatment. You are allowed brief and infrequent absences from the home for some non-medical reasons, such as an occasional trip to the barber/beauty shop or a walk around the block.
What does “homebound status” mean?
According to the Center for Medicare Services, homebound means:
- Leaving your home isn’t recommended because of your condition.
- Your condition keeps you from leaving home without help (such as using a wheelchair or walker, needing special transportation, or getting help from another person).
- Leaving home takes a considerable and taxing effort.
For a patient friendly and rich resource please download the CMS booklet on home health. It’s written in an accessible way that frames complex ideas simply. You’ll feel empowered after reading it and make better decisions for yourself or loved one because you read it.
With homebound status you can leave the home as often as you need for medical treatment that cannot be provided in the home. And you are allowed brief and infrequent absences from the home for some non-medical reasons, such as an occasional trip to the barber/beauty shop, to attend church, or for unique family events (like a wedding).
How is “home” defined when home health care is being considered?
A patient’s residence is wherever they make their home. This may be a house, an apartment, a relatives home, a home for the aged, or some other type of institution. However, a hospital, skilled nursing facility (SNF) or intermediate care facility (ICF) is not considered the patient’s home.
What is covered by Medicare?
When a client qualifies for home health services, Medicare will cover 100% of part time home health services (i.e. Nursing, Physical Therapy, Home Health Aide, all other therapies, and Medical Social Services) and 80% of the approved amount for Durable Medical Equipment (i.e. wheelchair, hospital bed, walker, glucometer).
How long are services covered by Medicare?
Medicare pays for covered home health services as long as the services are medically reasonable and necessary. However, the Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Home Health Aide services are covered on a part time or “intermittent” basis. That is, a number of sessions (or visits) are covered each week for an unlimited amount of time. For example, a patient may receive 3 Medicare-covered Nursing visits and 1 Home Health Aide visits per week until goals are met.
Who can refer patients to Integrity Home Healthcare?
Typically, a patient will be referred to Home Healthcare by a physician, hospital discharge planner, social worker, or registered nurse. However, anyone may refer a patient to Integrity. At this point, we will dispatch a nurse to conduct an in-home evaluation to confirm a potential client’s eligibility for home care services. All referrals must be under the order of a physician. A patient or family member may also call Integrity Home Healthcare and assistance will be given in obtaining a home care order from the attending physician.