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5 things to think about when it comes to home health care

In-home or home health care continues to grow in popularity as today’s aging baby boomers opt for staying as independent as possible.

Long-term care for the aging no longer means a decision between moving in with relatives or finding a suitable nursing home. Today’s aging baby boomers — that dominate generation born between 1945 and 1965 — want to stay independent as long as possible, resulting in the growing popularity of home health care as an option. When considering home health care for yourself or an aging relative or friend, you should first find the answers to these five questions:

1. What is home health care?

Home health care provides skilled medical professionals at home. The providers work under the guidance and instruction of the patient’s physician. They usually set up a schedule of regular visits to provide services such as physical therapy or nutrition training or stay long term to help with daily hygiene routines.

2. What does Medicare cover?

Medicare Part A and Part B do cover some home health-care services. These include skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech and language programs and even occupational services. Medicare doesn’t cover 24-hour-a-day home care or having meals delivered. Also, it doesn’t cover long-term home care. Medicare coverage includes specific health issues, so check with your physician and Medicare representative for details.

3. What does home health care provide?

Home health care actually covers a wide variety of issues for an illness or injury. Some of these include wound care after a surgery, patient or caregiver education, nutrition therapy, intravenous services and illness monitoring.

4. What rights do patients have?

If you’re under Medicare, you have certain federally guaranteed rights, including choosing your home health-care provider; being properly treated; participating in health-care decisions; and being treated with respect.

5. What are the long-term costs of home health care?

Long-term home health-care costs can get expensive. While Medicare covers some short-term costs, you need to look at other ways to pay for long-term needs. One way is through long-term care insurance. So before a problem arises or health becomes an issue, it’s a good idea to investigate this option.

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