Julie Skaret

Skaret

Submitted

Home is where we find comfort, security and love. That’s why there’s no better place for care and healing for those who are ill, injured or disabled. The comfort, security and love we find at home promote healing physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Professional staff, including nurses, therapists, social services and certified nurse aids, provide physician-ordered and medically necessary care for medical conditions brought on by age, illness, injury, disability and, in some situations, can serve as an alternative to hospitalization or nursing home placement. A physician must order home care to patients after determining that it is medically necessary. Services may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, skilled nursing, social services and home IV therapy.

Home health services may be an option without having been in the hospital. Your physician or nurse can refer you fror an appointment, a family member or friend can refer you if they are concerned about your health or an agency in the community that you receive services from can also refer.

Eligibility for home health services depends on your insurance provider. Medicare requires that a patient is homebound, meaning it is difficult for the patient to leave the home and does so infrequently with assistance.

Hospice is a special kind of care designed to provide sensitivity and support for people in the final phases of a terminal illness. Hospice enables patients to carry on an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so their last days may be spent with dignity and quality at home or in a home-like setting.

Caring for the dying person at home can be overwhelming when faced alone. Hospice care eases the burden by providing services and education to the patient and family, including pain control, physical care, symptom management, spiritual and emotional support, grief counseling and bereavement, short-term inpatient and respite care and therapy.

Hospice nurses are on-call 24 hours, seven days a week. Certified nurse assistants and home health aides assist patients and caregivers with periodic personal care and homemaking services. Hospice volunteers offer companionship to patients and their families. Hospice patients must be diagnosed with a terminal illness by their primary physician. Hospice care offers comfort care only, not curative care.

Studies have shown hospice care to be no more costly, and frequently less expensive, than conventional care during the last six months of life. This is because less high-cost technology is used and family, friends and volunteers provide much of the day-to-day care at home. Hospice care is a covered benefit under most private insurance plans. In addition, hospice is a covered Medicare benefit and, in some states, is a covered Medicaid benefit. While each hospice has its own policies concerning payment for care, it is a principle of hospice to offer services based upon need, rather than the ability to pay.

Julie Skaret is the office coordinator of CHI Health at Home, where she works with home care and hospice services.

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