Learn about the wide range of clinical services a patient can receive in the home.
Home healthcare, also called home health, can be a good option for those recovering from an illness, injury or surgery or managing a chronic condition such as heart failure or COPD—especially if leaving the home is a challenge. And because a physician or other healthcare provider may order these services following surgery or a hospitalization, it is important to understand all the options that are available to help you recover in the comfort and safety of your home.
Home health is medical care that skilled clinicians, like nurses or therapists, provide in your home.1 Services may include nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and medical social work. Together, with your primary healthcare provider, the home health team provides comprehensive care specific to your condition and keeps your family and others informed of progress.
A nurse or therapist will likely be the first home health team member you meet. They will admit you to care and determine the best course of treatment with your healthcare provider. Depending on your health needs, you may see a variety of specially trained clinicians for the following services.
A registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse can provide:
- Wound care
- Ostomy care
- Catheter care
- Patient care education
- Medication management
Physical therapy focuses on improving strength, balance, endurance and mobility. A physical therapist or physical therapist assistant may also provide:
- Exercises to strengthen impaired or weakened muscles and improve range of motion in the joints
- Adaptive equipment (like a walker or cane) recommendations and instructions
- Patient education and strategies for daily activities to help with independent living
Occupational therapy focuses on helping you safely perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and preparing meals. An occupational therapist or certified occupational therapy assistant can also provide:
- Exercises to increase strength and coordination and strategies to save energy
- Adaptive equipment recommendations and training for the home
- A home safety check to identify hazards and fall risks
Speech therapy assesses and treats people who are having difficulty with chewing, swallowing, speech or breathlessness. Speech language pathologists can also provide:
- Assistance to regain or restore speech skills
- Treatment of speech and language disorders
- Treatment of swallowing disorders
Medical social work
Social workers can support and connect patients to needed resources. They can identify community-based programs that may help improve recovery and overall well-being. Social workers can also provide:
- Social and emotional support related to the medical situation
- Connections to community resources, such as food pantries or transportation support
- Home assessments to identify potential financial concerns
Home healthcare agencies may provide other services, including intravenous and nutritional support, respiratory therapy, lab tests as well as the assistance of a home health aide.
Home health can help you recover in the safety of home so you can gain the confidence to manage your condition independently. Click here to connect with one of our nurses. They are available 24/7 to help you determine if home health is right for you.
- “What’s home health care?,” U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, last accessed Feb. 10, 2023, medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/whats-home-health-care.