Skilled Nurses Can Help Seniors Remain at Home
When seniors experience a health condition requiring a hospital visit, they often need additional care beyond the length of their stay. Recovery can be a long process, especially following a surgery or other major medical intervention. For some, the best choice is a rehabilitation facility where the patient can get twenty-four hour care from skilled practitioners. For others, however, returning home may be just what the doctor ordered. Staying home can improve spirits and help elderly people recover more quickly, but they may need extra assistance to make that possible. Skilled at-home nurses can help seniors bridge the gap between illness and health, making recovery at home a tangible possibility.
What Types of Conditions Benefit from Home Nursing Care?
Medicare and most other insurance providers will cover short-term home health care following a hospital stay. Some conditions that may benefit from this kind of care include:
- Occupational therapy
- Recovery from surgery
- Conditions requiring physical therapy
- Conditions requiring complicated medical treatment, close monitoring, or the use of medical equipment
- Wounds that require skilled care
- Patients suffering from a setback caused by a chronic illness
In order to qualify, seniors must be under the care of a doctor who will certify that they are homebound. In addition, the patient’s care plan must be periodically reviewed by the doctor. Not all conditions require a nurse’s care, and some patients may benefit just as much from a health aide or in-home caregiver. Either way, it’s important to talk to your doctor about what options are available in order to help your senior loved one receive the best possible care at home
How to Find a Qualified Nurse
Medicare stipulates that any home care nurse used by someone receiving Medicare benefits must work for a certified agency. However, the fact that an agency is certified doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a good fit for your elderly loved one. Look for a nurse who will provide compassionate care and who will be willing to listen to and answer any questions family members may have. Before you select a home health care provider, be sure to ask plenty of questions, including these:
- How many years have you offered home health care services?
- Have you been accredited by an outside organization?
- Do you outline responsibilities of the caregiver and rights of the patient in writing?
- Will you provide a written copy of the care plan?
- Do you document treatment?
- Do you screen employees for both criminal backgrounds and any communicable health conditions?
- Who should family members contact with questions or concerns?
- Do you provide references?
Your goal is to find someone who has a long track record of providing excellent care for clients. If any of the agency’s answers make you uncomfortable, do more research before proceeding. If concerns are not resolved, it’s time to look elsewhere for a provider.
Choosing In-Home Care for Seniors
Most insurance providers will not pay for round-the-clock at home nursing care or for long-term care. Intermittent care may need to be supplemented with the services of an in-home caregiver who can assist with mobility, meal preparation, administering medication, and other daily tasks.
Keep in mind that not every health condition requires the skills of a licensed RN or LPN. Many seniors may just need a little extra assistance as they navigate the course of their daily activities. In-home caregivers can provide transportation to medical appointments, assist with personal hygiene, and offer the companionship needed to prevent senior depression and loneliness. Most seniors want to remain in their homes as long as possible, and studies show that they often retain better health when they are able to do so. In-home caregivers can make that possible.
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