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A Publication of WTVP

There’s no place like home. It’s generally where most of us would like to spend our spare time—with family, friends, and pets—just relaxing and enjoying the American dream. But not all dreams come true for everyone, especially those stricken with serious illness or injury. There are times when home might not seem like a viable option; that’s where quality home care providers are making a difference.

Home care is drastically changing and improving the lifestyles of thousands of patients every day, allowing them shorter hospital and nursing home stays, bringing back their independence and familiar surroundings. Even for aging seniors, delicately balancing their treasured independence with assisted living choices, more help is here. With many younger married couples working, taking care of homebound parents is an added burden.

Home care allows patients with a wide variety of recuperative needs to return to or remain at home after surgeries or other procedures. Just a few years ago they may have spent many days or even weeks of recuperation in a hospital or an extended care facility. With a comprehensive suite of services such as private home care, home health, home infusion pharmacies, lifeline services, home medical equipment, respiratory services, and even hospice care, home care clinicians are finding this is their time. Our country’s aging population is driving this need for service, and home care is answering the call.

Modern home care, earlier hospital discharges—and in some cases, no hospital stay—is becoming the norm, saving patients, hospital providers, and payers millions of dollars each year. Private home care includes nursing, personal care, homemaker, and companion services. Home health services include case management, rehabilitation, pediatric care, diabetes management, nutrition counseling, and much more. Home infusion pharmacies allow home care patients to receive their treatments—including pain management, hydration therapy, chemotherapy, antibiotics and more—in their home.

For some patients, returning home earlier presents other challenges. Most home care services provide home medical equipment such as walkers, canes, wheelchairs, bathroom safety rails and chairs, and more. Most also offer respiratory services including oxygen, nebulizers, ventilators, respiratory medications, CPAP, and Bi PAP services.

Remaining independent requires some sense of security for home care patients. Security is now a part of a good home care service’s offerings. Lifeline personal response system offers those living alone security, independence, and 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week assistance. By wearing a battery-powered necklace pendant or bracelet, lifeline subscribers can get emergency or comfort assistance at any time, with just the push of a button.

Many patients are faced with some very personal decisions—some even dealing with how they want to spend their final days. Hospice is currently used by one out of every five terminally ill patients in this country. Its personal, private care environment allows patients to spend their last days in the comfort of their own home, with family, friends, and pets nearby. A team of nurses, physicians, social workers, dietitians, clergy, counselors, and volunteers provide personalized, compassionate care for patients and their families, with dignity and respect. The difference is physicians and nurses concentrate on palliative care—pain and comfort management. The goal is to make patients as comfortable as possible and provide their caregivers with help and support. Bereavement counselors offer grief counseling to family members, and hospice volunteers help out wherever they are needed.

Home care is also a great benefit to doctors and nurses. With hospital capacity becoming a growing problem across the nation, physicians can make room for new patients by referring eligible patients to home care. Patients can still get the care they need, and in turn, a hospital bed becomes available for someone else. But the most important aspect of home care is the quality of life for the patient. No matter what service is needed, home care is fast becoming the choice of care for patients ready to go home. And we all know there’s no place like home. IBI

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