Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Chicago

Home Care Services

There are six core services offered by most state licensed and Medicare certified home health agencies:

A Registered Nurse provides nursing care and treatments, develops a physician-authorized plan of care, works to involve you and your family in your care plan and coordinates other services provided by the home health agency.

Home Health Aide
Home Health Aides work under the supervision of the registered nurse to help with daily routines - bathing, movement in and out of bed, reminding you to take the proper medications at the proper time, etc.

Physical Therapy
A Physical Therapist works with you to help relieve joint and muscle pain and to help restore your muscle function through exercises, use of health lamps, massages, and baths.

Occupational Therapy
The Occupational Therapist helps you return to the routine of daily living - providing instruction in self-care (dressing and bathing), in homemaking, in learning to live more fully with a disability, and by suggesting ways to adapt the home environment to make living at home easier.

Speech Therapy
The Speech Therapist helps with speech and hearing problems, such as caused by a stroke.

Medical Social Work
The Social Worker can help you and your family sort out personal, family, work, financial, and other problems that may occur as a result of your illness or disability.

Home health care services frequently are covered by third party payers: the government, through Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration and various departments of state government; private insurance companies; and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). You should check your insurance or other medical coverage to be sure. Also, some voluntary not-for-profit agencies provide services to patients who have limited financial resources.

It is important for consumers to be knowledgeable about their health care coverage. Eligibility standards and reimbursement policies for both private and government health plans are subject to change.

Home care agencies generally will be well informed on the current status of third party reimbursement mechanisms. You should use them as a resource in planning for home health care.

Home Health Care
Home health care is a viable alternative to hospital or nursing home care for thousands of patients with chronic illness, recovering from surgery, injury or acute illness, terminal patients, and bedridden or elderly patients living alone.

Advances in medical technology now allow health professionals to provide institutional-level care in a nurturing home environment. Patients at home receive intravenous antibiotic and other drug therapy. Post-operative patients can be discharged earlier with incision or wound care managed by a home health nurse. Tube feeding, diabetic management, coordination of nursing, physical and occupational therapies for stroke and other trauma patients - a whole spectrum of services and support is available from the home health agency.

Currently, there are more than 10,000 home care agencies in the United States, and over 625 in Illinois. Technology has allowed home care providers to virtually bring the hospital setting into the home with the same high standards of care.

Home Health Care Advantages
With a home care team providing care, patients receive individual attention from health care professionals while also receiving the many intangible benefits of care at home.

Home Care:

Choosing a Provider
When selecting a home care agency, don't be afraid to ask questions. The answers will make the selection process easier and more likely to yield positive results.

Use the following checklist to gather basic information during your agency selection process:

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