By Kathy Hubbard
A quick Google search yielded over 100 songs with the word “home” in their titles. Phil Collins said, “Take me home.” Glen Campbell sang, “There’s no place like home,” and maybe the best for what we’re going to talk about today is Dido’s song, “Don’t leave home.”
I’d be willing to bet serious money (a dollar, anyway) that if given the choice of being cared for at home or at a hospital or skilled nursing facility, we’d all choose our homes. That’s where we’re most comfortable.
So, then the question begs to be asked, what do we do when we physically need help with activities of daily living? Maybe we require help with taking the correct dosage of our medications? Or help with wound care. Maybe we need physical therapy to assist healing and control pain. And, maybe we need to be taught how to care for ourselves, what foods we should eat and which ones we should avoid.
“People often need long-term care when they have a serious, ongoing health condition or disability,” the National Institute on Aging says on their website. “The need for long-term care can arise suddenly, such as after a heart attack or stroke. Most often, however, it develops gradually, as people get older and frailer or as an illness or disability gets worse.”
“Home-based long-term care includes health, personal, and support services to help people stay at home and live as independently as possible. Most long-term care is provided either in the home of the person receiving services or at a family member’s home. In-home services may be short-term – for someone who is recovering from an operation, for example – or long-term, for people who need ongoing help,” NIA explains.
Often family members, partners, friends and neighbors provide the care that involves bathing, dressing, and taking medications and especially making sure the patient is safe. But, what if the skills needed are beyond the scope of a lay person? What if you live alone? That’s when we ask our primary care provider to order Home Health Services from Bonner General Health.
BGH’s website states that Home Health Care is one of the most underutilized and often most misunderstood service they offer. The staff works as a team in concert with your primary care provider or specialist to help you rehabilitate from medical events such as stroke or surgery. They can also help you manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, COPD or arthritis.
Home health doesn’t replace a trip to the hospital for an emergency, but if rehabilitation and recuperation are just what the doctor ordered, Home Health is there for you. Some people may feel uncomfortable having someone they don’t know coming into their home, but just like in the hospital, these people are well-trained and professional.
Depending on your insurance these services may be at little to no cost to you. Medicare and Medicaid currently cover Home Health services fees 100 percent. You’ll be eligible for these benefits if you can answer yes to two of these questions:
Have you been diagnosed with a new illness? Were you recently hospitalized? Has your medication changed recently? Is it difficult for you to get to doctor or treatment appointments? Will you benefit from in-home physical, occupational or speech therapy? Have you recently fallen?
BGH Home Health Services are extensive. They include disease and pain management, infusion services, medication management and education, palliative care services, patient education to promote self-management, physical, occupational and speech-language therapy, wound care and strengthening and balance therapy to avoid falls.
These services are provided by a staff that includes certified nursing aides, registered nurses, registered dieticians, certified physical therapists and social welfare workers all of whom work closely with your family, caregivers and physicians.
Now, assuming you’re at home, take a minute to look around you. Ask yourself, do I want to be able to stay long-term in my own home if an illness or injury occurs? If yes, I’ve given you the answer. If no, you might consider calling a Realtor.
Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.