Home Care is health care provided in the patient's home by licensed professionals (referred to as home health or skilled care).
Home care services could include medical or psychological assessment, wound care, medication teaching, pain management, disease education, physical, speech or occupational therapy. Home care aims to make it possible for people to remain at home where they are most comfortable. The purpose of home care is to promote, maintain or restore a patient's health and reduce the effects of diseases or disabilities.
Since home care nursing services are provided on a part-time basis, patients, family members or other caregivers are encouraged and taught to do as much of the care as possible. This approach extends to the amount of responsibility the patient and his/her family or caregivers are willing or able to assume in order to reach that expected outcome. Nurses who have received special training as case managers visit the patient's home and develop a plan of care based on assessing the patient, planning the care delivery, implementing specific interventions and evaluating outcomes. Planning the care delivery includes assessing the care resources within the circle of the patient's family and friends.
Hospice is for people whose life expectancy is six months or less, and involves comfort care enabling you to live your last days to the fullest, with purpose, dignity, grace and support. Seeking hospice care isn't about giving up hope or hastening death, but rather a way to get the most appropriate care in the last phase of life. Some patients benefit so much they are able to extend their lives and leave the hospice program. Hospice is usually provided in the patient's own home and a family member acts as the primary caregiver, supervised by professional medical staff. This enables you to spend your final days in a familiar, comfortable environment, surrounded by your loved ones who can focus on you with the support of hospice staff. You can receive hospice care in a nursing home if the nursing home agrees to allow the hospice staff to provide the primary care. Hospice care focuses on all aspects of a patient's life and well-being: physical, social, emotional and spiritual. While specific hospice services differ in the amenities they provide, most include a hospice interdisciplinary group, or IDG, that includes the hospice medical director, registered nurses, a social worker, clergy, certified nurse aides and trained volunteers. The IDG develops a care plan tailored to a patient's individual need for pain management and symptom relief, and provides drugs and therapies, and medical equipment. Hospice staff also provides emotional and spiritual support according to the needs, wishes, and beliefs of the patient. This also includes the person's loved ones as well, including grief counseling. Staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care and services. Certified home health aides may also provide help with bathing and personal care. Hospice staff remains on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Home Care and Hospice services are a covered benefit under Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances.
DME or HME are acronyms for Durable Medical Equipment or Home Medical Equipment. Companies that work with DME are there to help you, and your family or friends remain independent and safe in your own home for as long as possible. DME is "any equipment that is designed to withstand repeated use in the home." DME includes but is not limited to semi-electric beds, wheelchairs, ambulatory aids, bath safety items and respiratory equipment including oxygen concentrators, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure devices and nebulizers.
The DME dealer is responsible for educating you on how to safely use your equipment and supplies. You will need the support of your family or friends who will also need to know how to use your equipment. Some DME is covered through health insurance if a DME benefit is listed. Equipment that is covered requires the physician to evaluate the need for the equipment and write a prescription with supporting documentation in your medical record. The equipment is rented or purchased through the insurance company. Medical equipment can also play a key role for hospitalized or nursing home patients who wish to return home but are limited due to failing physical abilities or safety concerns. Having the appropriate equipment in the home can create a safe environment for that person to return to or remain in.
For more information contact Baraga County Home Care and Hospice at 524-4663 or Baraga County Medical Equipment at 524-7156 or visit us on the web at bcmh.org or on Facebook.
Editor's note: Cathy Lahti, RN, BSN, is the Baraga County Memorial Hospital director of home services, and Jennifer DesRochers is DME?manager at BCMH.