While home health services do require that a patient is “homebound”, that does not mean that a patient is unable to leave the home. It simply means that, because trips outside the home are a taxing effort for you, they are infrequent and of short duration. Medicare understands that there are times that patients need to leave the home…such as to obtain food and medications or attend doctor visits, church services or special family functions. These trips are perfectly acceptable and do not keep you from qualifying for home health. Also consider that many times a patient’s “homebound” status is temporary.
While they may normally go outside the home frequently and without effort, a hospital stay or recovery from an acute illness can change that…..if only for a few weeks. If you have any concerns about whether or not you still meet the “homebound” criteria for our services, ask your nurse.
Your services will end when you no longer have a skilled need and/or you are no longer homebound. The agency will give you a minimum of 5 days discharge notice. You may request discharge at any time.
Medicare covers home health at 100%. There is no out of pocket cost. If you have a Medicare replacement or private insurance policy, you will need to refer to that policy for your out of pocket cost. Many of these types of policies also require preauthorization. While the admitting nurse will attempt to give you an accurate estimate of what services you will receive, the insurance companies do not always agree with the nurse/physician recommendations for your care. In those cases, the agency will do everything we can to provide you high quality care within the service limits imposed by your provider. If you request to receive care outside of those service limits, we can provide that care at your cost.
Upon admission, the RN will establish a 60 day plan of care. Towards the end of the 60 days, a RN will reevaluate your need for home health services. If you continue to have a need, you will be recertified for another 60 day period. Medicare does not have a limit on how long you can receive home health. As long as you meet the homebound and skilled need criteria, your services can continue. If you have a Medicare replacement or private insurance policy, you will need to refer to your policy for any preauthorization need or limits.
A home folder will be left with you upon admission. The phone number for the agency is inside of this folder. A list of contact names and titles are also included. The phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you call between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, except for holidays, you will speak to someone in the office. After hours or on the weekends, an on call nurse is available to address your medical needs. An answering service will answer your initial call and take your information. The on call nurse should return your call within 15-20 minutes. If you do not receive a return call, please call the answering service again.
Nursing staff will assess your status, notify your physician of abnormal findings as needed, teach you about your medication and treatment regimens and perform needed care or procedures. It is important that you keep the nurse informed of any changes in your condition or medications. Therapists will work with you to increase your level of function through exercise and various other modalities. The social worker can assist you with any community resource needs you may have. The home health aide will assist you with bathing. While they will clean up after your bath, change your linens if needed and straighten up around your personal area, they do not routinely perform other household cleaning. A clinician visit usually lasts between 30-60 minutes, depending on the care required.
We strongly encourage our staff to call you prior to your visit. Some may call you the night before and some the day of the visit. Our clinicians frequently encounter unforeseen circumstances in the home setting. This makes it difficult to adhere to a strict schedule. To avoid patient disappointment, we do not allow our staff to set specific appointment times. Instead, we instruct them to provide you with a 2 hour window of time for their arrival. This allows you to plan your day and provides the clinicians the flexibility that their jobs require.
We offer nursing, therapy, social work and aide services. The first visit is done by an RN and during your first visit the RN will established a plan of care. A plan of care is a schedule of when each of the services will come to your home.