There are times when a patient’s needs are too great and home health is not an appropriate choice. The availability of a willing and capable caregiver is the most important factor to consider in cases such as these. For example: An individual, who lives alone and has no available caregiver, becomes significantly confused and begins to wander outside the home. While home health staff would be able to make regularly scheduled visits, those staff members would only be in the home for thirty minutes to an hour…depending on what is required. This would leave the client unattended for the rest of the time and put his safety in jeopardy.
A similar example that demonstrates when home health care could be an inappropriate avenue: A post surgical patient is sent home. She lives alone and is unable to get out of a bed or chair without assistance. Because of her immobility, she is unable to perform the simple tasks that we often take for granted – such as making a meal, dressing ourselves or going to the bathroom. The home health staff could assist her while they were making their scheduled visits but that would leave her unattended several hours a day.
Once again, home health care does not provide 24 hour care or sitting services. Because of this limitation, it is crucial that prospective clients either be able to meet their basic needs safely or have a family member or other caregiver available to them that can do so. If that is not the case, then an inpatient facility – such as a rehab or skilled nursing unit – would be a better choice….at least temporarily. Once the individual has recovered to the point of being able to safely stay alone, home health services could begin and help them transition safely back in to their home setting.