As one continues to age, the last thing they want to worry about is sustainability. For the elderly, this worry can be a significant liability to their personal sense of capability. The majority of seniors want to stay in their home for as long as possible but this can be difficult when dealing with disease or illness. Home care, however, allows one to do this. It is different from institutional care, like assisted living or nursing homes, while still providing medical and, sometimes, non-medical care. For these types of elderly people, home health-care provides the satisfaction of quality service in patients’ home under the physician.
Home Healthcare vs. Hospital Stay
Johns Hopkins developed its hospital-at-home program as a means of treating elderly patients who either refused to go to the hospital or were at risk of hospital-acquired infections. The early trials of its model found the total cost of at-home care was 32% less than traditional hospital care, the length of stay for patients was shorter by one-third (3.2 days vs. 4.9 days), and the incidence of delirium – disturbance in mental abilities that result in confused thinking and reduced awareness – associated with prolonged hospital stay, was dramatically reduced (9% vs. 24%).
In a recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, healthcare costs were 52% lower than when acutely ill patients received hospital care at home, rather than being placed in a hospital bed. The cause of this is lower labor costs for at-home patients compared to patients in a hospital, where staff must be on hand 24/7. Home-care patients also had fewer lab visits from specialists. For instance, the average daily cost of a hospital stay is $6,200 while the average cost of home health care is just $135 per visit.
Care quality may have also been slightly better for at-home patients, compared to patients who stay at the hospital, because acutely ill patients treated at home experienced more physical activity since they were able to sit upright and freely move around.
The Difficulty of Payment
Unfortunately, in the U.S., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and most private payers, do not pay for hospital care delivered at home and restrict payments for telemedicine – an essential aspect of the model that allows physicians and healthcare staff to communicate with the patient – and ultimately, restricting the possibility of implementation for a lot of patients.
Who Also Benefits From Home Health Care?
In a research study, led by Levine, a clinician-investigator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, they conducted a small, randomized, but controlled trial that compared the health-care use, experience, and cost of Brigham patients who either received hospital-level care at home or in the hospital of 2016. The 20 patients analyzed in the trial had one of several conditions, including infection, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma. Caregivers – those providing aid – reported far less stress because they didn’t have to travel to an unfamiliar hospital, find parking, and coordinate bedside time with the clinical stuff while worrying about their clients.
Home health care is suitable for patients with chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart and circulatory diseases, musculoskeletal disorders that affect movement, or COPD and other breathing problems. Without assistance, these patients would usually have to seek long-term help from a nursing home or other residential setting but with home health care, they’re able to stay in the comfort of their home after hospitalization. Furthermore, home health-care increases participation in treatment because patients are able to receive therapy at home rather than travel to a remote location while dealing with their illness.
If you introduce the idea to a loved one, make sure that it’s covered by your insurance plan. Some health insurance carriers don’t offer an easy way to cover hospital care at home, as NPR has noted. Others may only cover certain services or specific providers – so determine what options are best for you. Remember, your financial circumstance is important but the biggest priority is your loved one’s safety and recovery. For more information on how to approach delicate subjects regarding the elderly, visit our website, at https://commhealthcare.com/home-care-blog/.