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Your Home Health Care Questions Answered

  August 02, 2017

By Stacey Boyd, RN, MSN, Clinical Manager, Vital Wellness Home Health

Home health care is a service provided to patients of all ages by a licensed agency, is ordered by your physician, and is an intermittent skilled service that is provided within the home for patients that are homebound. Typically, home health care is ordered after an illness, hospitalization, or injury. Home health care can help to prevent individuals from hospitalization. The goals of home health care are to keep you out of the hospital, increase your level of functioning, and to improve your knowledge and independence.

What is being homebound?
If your doctor does not recommend leaving your home due to your health condition, you are homebound. You are also considered homebound if you require the use of wheelchairs, walkers, or even assistance from another person to get around. If it is difficult for you or requires a taxing effort to go outside your home for errands or doctor’s appointments, this also qualifies as homebound. It is required that you are homebound to qualify for home health care under Medicare coverage, however, this does not mean that you can never leave your home. If you are leaving for a doctor’s appointments, hair appointments, or to attend church, you would still be considered homebound and qualify for Medicare coverage.

What services are provided by home health care?
  • Skilled nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Medical social worker
  • Home health aid
  • Dieticians
Where can home health care be provided?
Home health care can be provided in private residences, independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, and supportive senior living facilities.

How do I go about receiving home health care?
Home health care requires a doctor’s order. If you think home health care may be an option for you, please discuss with your primary physician. If the physician decides that you would benefit from home health, he or she can help find a home health agency that serves your area.

Does my insurance cover home health care?
Home Health Care is covered 100 percent by Medicare if you meet certain qualifications, such as being homebound, having a skilled need, a doctor’s order, as well as a face-to-face visit with your physician. Other insurances also cover home health care, but may require a co-pay. Please check with your insurance carrier for benefits information.

What can I expect if my doctor orders home health care?
A nurse or a therapist will establish an initial appointment and will review all of your medical history. The home health professional will also discuss what your needs are, such as assistance with medications, wound care, improvement in balance or walking, or even education about a new illness such as diabetes or congestive heart failure. The clinicians will come to your home a couple times a week for approximately 45 minutes to conduct their visit. If it is a nursing visit, they may perform a set of vitals and conduct a physical assessment, as well as any other needs you have regarding your illness. If a therapist visits, you may work on strength building, walking, and or balance. The nurse or therapist will work closely with your doctor to communicate your progress and overall wellbeing.

How long does home health care last?
Length varies per individual. One episode of home health care is 60 days; between days 56 to 60, the nurse or therapist determines if you qualify for another episode or if you are ready for discharge. If you meet eligibility requirements, you can be recertified for another episode with permission of the physician.

Is home health care the same as private duty care?
Home health care is not the same as private duty care in view that private duty is typically not covered by insurance and is an out-of-pocket cost to the recipient. Private duty care services can include, but is not limited to, housekeeping, errands, medication reminders, companionship, transportation to appointments, supervision, and meal preparations.

Vital Wellness Home Health, located at 211 Landmark Drive in Normal, provides home healthcare and private duty services to adults throughout Central Illinois. Home Healthcare Services provided by our clinicians are skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, medical social work and home health aids. Medication reminders, light housekeeping, and companionship are just a few services provided by our caregivers with our private duty services. Call them today to learn more about Vital Wellness Home Health!
309-829-7100 or visit them online at

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August 02, 2017
Categories:  Senior Health


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