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Home Health Care: What is Most Important?

What is home health care?

Home health care,  home care or  in-home care are three interchangeable words that describe the treatment of persons with special needs in their own home environment. Today, home health care can be both short-term and long-term and involves patients of all ages, from pediatric patients to adults and seniors. The typical patient, however, is elderly and has complex health care needs that can be self-managed with the help of external caregivers.

Why is home health care becoming more important?

The number of people with home health care is increasing today and as the population grows older and life expectancy continues to increase, providing good home health care is becoming even more important. For the patient, it is of course a great benefit to stay in a familiar home environment and avoid hospitalization or moving to a care facility. But not just for comfort reasons – studies indicate that home health care can lead to a quicker recovery and fewer readmissions to the hospital after discharge. This is also considerably more cost-effective solution than hospitalization or admission to a nursing home.

What are the most important aspects of home health care?

Home health care today involves a wide range of tasks. Home health care commonly involves personal care and daily activities, such as dressing, meal assistance, personal hygiene and shopping or cooking. It can also involve social and recreational assistance, such as visiting friends or being assisted to appointments, and advanced medical care in the home. In short, home health care can concern almost all possible aspects of life.

Good home health care requires a frequent communication between the patient, their relatives/family and the caregiver. This can sometimes be very challenging as patients, family members and care workers may have diverging attitudes. As the patient’s personal needs can be complex and change over time, sometimes rapidly, regular follow ups and communication is a must. Being a care worker in someone’s personal home also requires a lot of respect and tactfulness.

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Depending on the patient’s specific needs, it should be supported by a team of medical professionals to cover relevant areas, such as doctors, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and so on. If the patient is not able to communicate his or her needs, for example an Alzheimer’s patient, it is even more important that care workers are perceptive and take action when needed.

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