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Published on July 26, 2013

Is Home Health Care Right for You?

If you were to suddenly discover that you have a serious medical condition that requires constant care, there are many things that run through your mind. And one of those thoughts is how long am I going to be hospitalized? The inconvenience of hospitalization and being removed from your everyday life is often a hassle you don’t need on top of all the other concerns suddenly thrust into your life.

However, in some instances, there is another option – home health care.

Home health care programs are designed to provide holistic treatment or rehab services to patients, while also reducing the amount of time spent at the hospital or doctor’s office – and not many people know it’s available to them.

“Most people prefer to be cared for in the comfort and dignity of their own home, and it’s a great way for them to receive continued monitoring and treatment,” said Elissa Della Monica, the executive director of Home Care and Hospice at Abington Memorial Hospital. “Many physicians and health systems are utilizing it to reduce or prevent re-hospitalization more than ever.”

There are some advantages for patients being treated at home; notably, home care lowers the risk of infection and increases the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs, as patients learn how to adjust to their home instead of the hospital. For example, chronic care management is specifically designed to promote self-management of a patient’s chronic condition. “As they’re supervised and educated by their nurses and therapist, the patient feels more empowered to participate in their care, which reduces their chances of re-hospitalization and improves their quality of life,” said Della Monica.

Although not all conditions can be treated at home, some of the services provided include skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, infusion therapy, as well as palliative and hospice care. Specialty programs also feature heart failure management, chronic care management, and pediatric and personal care.

In addition to rehab programs, many treatments that were once exclusive to a hospital or doctor’s office can now be administered at a patient’s home, including intravenous medication therapy, chemotherapy, and complicated wound care.

While there are certainly many situations where a hospital is the safest place for a patient to receive treatment, home health care is a less expensive, convenient, and effective way to extend and continue the care you need.

Since a physician must place an order for home health services, talk with your doctor to see if it’s an option for you as well.

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