The benefits of home health care are seemingly endless!
Imagine recovering from a recent surgery or health-related issue within the familiar surroundings of your home – surrounded by the people and things you love.
Home health is revolutionizing how older adults and their families approach healthcare, providing them with a personalized, flexible, and empowering alternative to traditional institutional healthcare settings.
The numerous benefits of home health care range from a reduction in hospital readmissions to increased patient satisfaction.
In 2023, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, home health has become the preferred choice for many older adults and their families.
In this article, The Senior Soup delves into home health care.
The following home health care topics are covered in depth throughout this guide to home health care in 2023:
- The benefits and advantages of older adults choosing home health care;
- Home health costs and payment methods in 2023;
- Frequently asked questions about home health care;
- The life-changing impact home health has on the lives of seniors and their families;
- A comprehensive list of home health agencies serving Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia.
Sit back, relax, and join The Senior Soup on a home health journey toward a healthier, happier, and more independent future.
Understanding The Seemingly Endless Benefits Of Home Health Care
Home health care is a comprehensive and personalized healthcare solution for individuals – older adults, especially – who need medical assistance or support in their home with activities of daily living.
With various services offered by skilled healthcare professionals, home health care help older adult patients to maintain their independence at home while improving their quality of life.
Are you ready to explore the benefits of home health care?
Enhanced patient outcomes
Customized care plans tailored to individual needs result in the following for older adult patients:
- Improved patient outcomes;
- Faster recovery times;
- Better overall health.
Reduced hospital admissions
Older adult patients can avoid the following when they take advance of home health care:
- Unnecessary hospital visits;
- A reduction in hospital-acquired infections and complications.
Older adults experience a higher quality of life with home health.
Home health care services promote patient satisfaction, autonomy, and well-being, thanks to the comfort and familiarity of the home setting.
Family Support and Education
Home health care providers often involve the family in the care process and offer education and support to help manage the patient’s condition effectively.
An In-Depth Look At Home Health Care Benefits For Older Adults
The Senior Soup Podcast featured Roxanna “Roxy” Laguerre from Enhabit Home Health in a November 2022 podcast.
Roxy, Raquel, and Ryan covered the benefits of home health in-depth. She explored how older adults can immediately benefit from home health care after a hospital or skilled nursing rehab stay.
Listen to The Senior Soup Podcast episode seven: The Complete Guide to Home Health.
Click the link below for a full transcript of episode seven of The Senior Soup Podcast.
In-Home Skilled Nursing Care | Covered by Medicare Part A | Home Health Services
Skilled nursing care is provided by registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs).
These licensed medical professionals are trained to perform tasks such as:
- Administering medications;
- Monitoring vital signs;
- Providing wound care.
Physical, Occupational, & Speech Therapy | Home Health Services
- Physical therapists help improve their patient’s mobility and strength;
- Occupational therapists assist patients with daily living activities;
- And speech therapists work on communication and swallowing disorders.
Home Health Aide Services | Non-Medical Care
- Meal preparation;
- Running errands and shopping;
- Light housekeeping;
- Medication reminders.
Non-medical home health companies offer caregiver companionship and support to promote older adults’ emotional well-being.
Amada Senior Care provides non-medical home care services in the following areas:
- Silver Spring;
- North Bethesda;
- Takoma Park;
- North Potomac;
Call Raquel Micit today at (301) 701-3511 to learn how Amada Senior Care of Montgomery County works hand-in-glove with Maryland’s leading home health agencies (see the list below) to help older adults maintain their independence at home and reduce the risk of hospitalization.
Medical Social Services | Home Health Services
Medical social workers address patients’ emotional and social health, connecting them with resources and providing counseling as needed.
Home Health Care Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about home health services.
What is skilled home health care?
Home health care – otherwise known as in-home skilled nursing – offers many benefits!
The benefits of home health care, according to home health marketing professional Roxnna Laguerre, include but are not limited to the following:
- The cost of care is less expensive;
- Home health care can be more convenient than traditional inpatient skilled nursing;
- And home health care is just as effective as the kind of care you would receive in a facility.
What are the primary benefits of home health care for older adults?
The benefits of home health care for older adults are many!
Older adults are likely to feel an increased sense of independence.
A primary benefit of home health care is that it enables older adults to maintain independence, allowing them to stay in their homes and participate in daily activities they enjoy.
Families can get involved with their loved one’s home health program.
Home health care encourages family involvement in their loved one’s care, enhancing their support network and fostering stronger bonds.
Studies show that home health can lower the risk of infection inside a traditional acute setting.
Skilled, in-home nursing care can reduce the risk of an older adult contracting infections commonly found in institutional settings, such as hospitals or nursing homes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides essential information about healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) inside institutional settings.
Medicare skilled home health care is cost-effective.
According to a Nove Genworth Cost of Care Survey, home health care can be more cost-effective than other long-term care options.
The screenshot below is from the 2022 Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey results.
Improved Health Outcomes
Studies have shown that older adults receiving home health care have better health outcomes, such as reduced hospital readmissions and lower rates of complications.
A study conducted by Landers et al. (2016) discusses the future of home health care and emphasizes home health’s role in improving patient outcomes, reducing hospitalizations, and managing chronic conditions effectively.
The study highlights the need for policy, regulatory, and payment reforms to support expanding Medicare skilled home health services to meet the growing demands of an aging population.
Older Adults Are More Satisfied After A Home Health Episode
Seniors receiving home health care often report higher satisfaction levels due to the personalized attention, comfort, and support they receive in their homes.
A study conducted by Stall et al. (2014) reviewed home health programs for older adults and found that participants reported higher satisfaction levels with their care.
The same study suggests that home health care’s personalized attention and comfort in familiar surroundings contributed to these positive outcomes.
Does my Medicare plan cover the costs of home health services?
First, check your Medicare coverage.
Medicare Part A and Part B both cover home health care services.
Medicare Part A primarily covers the following healthcare services:
- Inpatient hospital stays;
- Skilled nursing facility care;
- Hospice care;
- Some home health care services.
Medicare Part B primary covers the following healthcare services:
- Outpatient medical services;
- Doctor visits;
- Preventive services;
- Some home health care services.
The infographic below is an easily digestible and downloadable summary of what the different parts of your Medicare health plan cover healthcare services.
What are the eligibility criteria for receiving Medicare Part A coverage for home health care services?
To be eligible for Medicare Part A coverage for home health care services, you must:
- Be enrolled in Medicare Part A;
- Be under the care of a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant who certifies that you need home health care;
- Require at least one of the covered services (skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, or occupational therapy);
- You are “homebound;” it’s difficult for you to leave your home without assistance;
- You should receive home health care services through a Medicare-certified home health agency (see the list below).
What if I don’t have a primary care doctor (PCP)? How would I qualify for Medicare Part A home health services?
An Ennoble Care clinician, the leading home-based primary care practice in Maryland and Washington, D.C., can sign a prescription for home health after seeing a homebound patient and establish a plan of care.
The clinician will outline the duration and frequency of home health services.
Once a primary care clinician sees a homebound patient, a Medicare-certified home health agency can begin their home health services with the older adult patient.
If you’re an inpatient at a hospital, the inpatient rounding physicians with hospital rights will write home health orders.
Are there any limitations or restrictions to Medicare Part A coverage for home health care?
Yes, Medicare Part A has some limitations and restrictions for home health coverage:
- Medicare Part A covers only part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care (not full-time nursing care);
- Home health aide services are covered only if you also require skilled nursing care or therapy services;
- Medicare Part A does not cover non-medical care services (e.g., bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation) if that is the only care you need.
Does Medicare Part A cover long-term home health care services?
No, Medicare Part A does not cover long-term home healthcare services.
Medicare Part A covers part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care and therapy services deemed medically necessary.
How long will my Medicare Part A home health services last after initiation?
The duration of your Medicare Part A home health services depends on the following:
- The patient’s specific needs;
- The home health plan of care established by a doctor;
- The patient’s continued eligibility for coverage.
As mentioned, a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant will set up a plan of care outlining the duration and frequency of home health services needed.
A home health plan is typically set up in episodes of care, which can last up to 60 days.
As long as patients continue to meet the eligibility criteria and the services are deemed medically necessary by their healthcare clinician, Medicare Part A can continue to cover home health services beyond the initial 60-day episode.
At the end of each episode, a healthcare clinician will review and update the patient’s home health plan of care.
A home health plan can be extended beyond 60 days if the healthcare clinician deems it medically necessary.
It’s important to remember that Medicare Part A only covers part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care and therapy services, not long-term care.
The coverage will continue as long as patients meet the eligibility criteria and the plan of care is regularly updated and approved by a healthcare clinician.
Home Health Care Benefits vs. Traditional Healthcare Facilities
Home healthcare has distinct advantages over traditional healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes.
These benefits include:
- Personalized home health care;
- The comfort and familiarity of your home environment;
- Cost savings;
- Increased family involvement in the care process.
Criteria For Choosing Your Ideal Home Health Care Agency
Selecting the right home healthcare provider is essential for a positive experience.
Use the criteria below when determining which home health providers to choose.
Reputation & accreditation
You want to seek an in-home health agency with an excellent reputation and proper accreditation from relevant agencies.
Visit Medicare.gov to thoroughly investigate, compare, and contrast the home health agencies in your area.
Moreover, Medicare.gov is an unbiased government portal that older adults and their families can use to examine a home health agency’s quality ratings and patient survey ratings,
Ensure the home health provider offers comprehensive services to meet your loved one’s needs.
The qualifications of the home health agency’s clinicians and staff
Verify that the provider employs highly trained, licensed, and certified professionals.
Assess the home health agency’s ability to meet your scheduling needs, including regular visits and emergencies.
And verify the agency’s service area to ensure their clinicians can provide care to your or your loved one’s location.
Pay careful attention to the home health agency’s communication style.
Choose a provider that maintains open lines of communication, keeps you informed about your or your loved one’s progress, and addresses any concerns promptly and effectively.
Share your communication preference upfront with the home health agency.
Look for a home health agency that prioritizes personalized care plans and takes the time to understand your or your loved one’s unique needs, preferences, and goals.
Cost & health insurance compatibility
Consider the provider’s fees and payment options.
Verify whether the home health agency accepts your or your loved one’s health insurance plan or offers financial assistance programs.
How Do You Pay For Home Health Care?
You have plenty of options to pay for home health care.
Outlined below are several options to pay for in-home health care services.
Commercial Health Insurance
Many private insurance plans, including employer-sponsored health insurance and individual health plans, cover the costs of home health care services.
But coverage details may vary.
It is essential to review your health insurance policy or contact your insurance provider or broker to determine what services are covered and the extent of that coverage.
Medicare Part A & B
Medicaid offers coverage for home healthcare services to eligible low-income individuals.
The specific services and coverage may vary by state, and certain eligibility requirements must be met.
Learn what Maryland Medicaid covers by visiting Maryland’s Healthcare Connection website.
And be sure to visit the Washington, D.C. Department of Health Care Finance website to learn about D.C. Medicaid and the eligibility criteria.
Veterans Benefits | Home Health Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) provides home healthcare services to eligible veterans.
V.A. home health benefits may include:
- Skilled nursing & therapy;
- Non-medical personal care.
Veterans must meet specific eligibility requirements and may need a referral from their primary care provider.
Visit the V.A.’s website to learn more about skilled home healthcare benefits for eligible American veterans.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Some long-term care insurance policies include coverage for home health care services.
The extent of the coverage will depend on the terms and conditions of a long-term care insurance policy.
In-home skilled nursing care can be paid for out-of-pocket for individuals without health insurance coverage or those seeking healthcare services not covered by their insurance.
But ongoing in-home health services are costly.
You should always discuss fees and payment options upfront with the home healthcare provider before committing to their home health services.
The cost and coverage for home healthcare services can vary significantly depending on the following facts:
- Your specific location;
- Healthcare provider;
- The particular healthcare services needed.
Consult your insurance and potential home health care providers to determine the most suitable payment options.
The Best Maryland & Washington, D.C. Home Health Agencies
The benefits of home health care are far-reaching and transformative.
Home health care enables older adults to live in the comfort of their homes – safe, healthy, and connected.
As The Senior Soup has discussed, home health care provides personalized care, proves cost-effective, and fosters better health outcomes.
If you or a loved one are considering the benefits of home health care, now is the perfect time to take the next step.
Reach out to a Medicare-certified home health care agency in your area and discuss your options.
Don’t miss out on the chance to experience a more empowered approach to healthcare and enhance your overall quality of life.
The agencies below are Medicare-certified home health agencies in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
HOME HEALTH COMPANY
|Adventist Healthcare Home Health Care||(301) 592-4400|
|Amedisys Home Health|
|Bayada Home Health Care|
|CenterWell Home Health|
|Enhabit Home Health|
|Frederick Home Health||(240) 566-3222|
|Therapy in Motion|
|Holy Cross Home Health
(Trinity Health at Home)
|HomeCall (LHC Group)||
|Human Touch Home Health|
|MedStar Home Health|
|Medical Services of America
(Community Home Health of Maryland)
|Meritus Home Health
|Potomac Home Health||(301) 896-6999|
|Revival Home Care Agency||(301) 899-6070|