Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Home Health Care
What is home health care?
Home health care provides medical treatment and support services for those recovering from an illness, injury or hospital stay; those who are disabled, chronically ill or terminally ill; those in need of medical, nursing, social, or therapeutic treatment; and/or those in need of assistance with daily living activities. The goal of providing home health services is to help patients recover, regain independence and become as self-sufficient as possible. Ascend Home Care offers health care services such as skilled nursing, home health aides, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
Who is eligible for home health care?
There are several requirements to receive home health care:
- You must have a doctor’s order for home health.
- You must be in need of either skilled nursing care or therapy services (i.e., physical/occupational/speech therapy) on an intermittent basis.
- You must be restricted in your ability to leave home (“homebound”), and a physician must certify your “homebound status”.
If you can answer yes to two or more of the following questions, home health care may be for you.
- Are you 65 or older?
- Have you been diagnosed with a new illness?
- Has your medication recently changed?
- Has your medical condition recently changed?
- Do you require therapy services?
- Would you rather be cared for at home?
- Have you been hospitalized recently?
- Do you feel you’re at risk for a fall?
What does “homebound status” mean?
Essentially, your condition should be such that there exists a normal inability to leave your home and doing so would require a considerable and taxing effort. Generally speaking, you would be considered homebound if you have a condition due to an illness or injury that restricts your ability to leave home without the aid of an assistive device (such as crutches, canes, walkers or wheelchairs), without the assistance of another person, or if leaving the home is medically inadvisable.
You can leave the home as often as you need for medical treatment that cannot be provided in the home. You are allowed brief and infrequent absences from the home for some non-medical reasons, such as an occasional trip to the barber or beauty shop, to attend church, or for unique family events such as a graduation or wedding.
Does the patient need to be hospitalized to qualify for your services?
No, hospitalization is not a requirement to receive home health care. In fact, many of our patients are referred by their personal physicians.
How does a patient pay for home health care?
Home health care is usually covered by Medicare if prescribed by a physician. Services are also often covered by employer health plans and private insurance carriers. Once we receive your referral for service, we’ll contact the insurance company directly and determine if coverage is available and if authorization is required. We’ll bill the insurance company directly, and let you know if any deductibles or co-pays apply.
What home health services do you provide?
- Skilled nursing
- Physical, occupational and speech-language therapy
- Cardiac and pulmonary care
- Wound care
- Disease and pain management
- Medication management and education
- Patient education to promote self-management
- Treatment for balance problems that can lead to fall risks
Who pays for home health care services?
If you meet certain eligibility requirements, Medicare may pay for your covered home health care for as long as you’re eligible and your doctor certifies that you need it. Additionally, your state’s Medicaid program or your private insurance may also cover home health care or some services that Medicare doesn’t cover. Once we receive your referral for service, we’ll contact the insurance company directly and determine if coverage is available and if authorization is required. We’ll bill the insurance company directly, and let you know if any deductibles or co-pays apply.
What can I expect on the first home health care visit?
On the first visit, a nurse or therapist will conduct an initial evaluation. This thorough interview and evaluation is part of our collaborative approach to managing your overall health care. Our evaluation focuses on educating you in self-care management and partners with your doctor to promote disease prevention and proactive care, which includes the family or caregivers.
This team approach facilitates an easier transition from a hospital or nursing facility to your home, and actively engages you and your caregivers in your health care, improving recovery and rehabilitation efforts.
Will Ascend Home Health develop a plan of care that meets my or my loved one’s needs?
Yes. After your doctor refers you to Ascend Home Health Care, an Ascend clinician will come to your home to assess your needs. We will collaborate with your doctor to discuss the assessment and partnership to develop an individualized plan of care. The Ascend Team will implement your physician-ordered plan of care and keep your doctor updated on your progress. If your condition or needs change, we’ll collaborate with your doctor to review your plan of care and make any adjustments necessary to provide the best possible care.
How often will my home care visits be?
The frequency of home health care visits and the services provided are based on your doctor’s recommendations in your individualized plan of care. Your doctor may change your plan of care, increasing or decreasing the number of visits or services provided, in order to meet your individualized needs.