November 8, 2020
HOMECARE2GO® Media Team
Home health serves as a promising opportunity to receive improved quality care at lower costs. It is especially availed by patients discharged from the hospitals to improve healthcare outcomes. However, several Medicare beneficiaries referred to home health cannot receive the services in real. According to the surveys, while many Medicare patients were referred, only 54% of people availed of the services. On the other hand, 37.7% of people did not receive home health services, and 8.3% even died within 14 days without availing of any services. This limits the home health services from assisting the patients in regaining their abilities.
There are several reasons why the referred patients do not get actual home health services. Some of the top reasons are listed below.
One of the common reasons hospital-referred patients are not receiving appropriate and timely home health services is the lack of information with the home health service providers. The home health service providers often do not get accurate and updated information from the hospitals or doctors offices. Especially when the patients' contact information and their family members are not available, delivering the services becomes difficult for the providers. When the patients' contact information changes just before the discharge, the hospital officials are unable to get the updated contact information. However, this problem can be resolved with better coordination.
To get the patients' right contact information, it is important to validate them at the front-end. For this purpose, the home health providers can start contacting the patients' emergency number as early as possible. Even when the patient is in the hospital, they can call them and collect the appropriate contact details. This will help get accurate patient information and ensure that the patient can avail of the required home health services after discharge.
Lack of patient education is yet another reason that hinders the provision of home health services after discharge. Several patients are unaware of the difference between home health care and non-medical personal care. They have a perception that after getting discharged from the hospital, their family members can provide them with the required care. They feel more comfortable with their near and dear ones. For this reason, the patient themselves turn down the home health services and do not like the idea of providers visiting their house.
To overcome this issue, it is important to educate patients about the importance of home health services and how it differs from non-medical personal care. The home health providers must also work with the referrals to ensure that the patients are given the appropriate care. The providers need to make a follow up after the patient’s discharge. Moreover, if the home health service providers cannot accommodate the patients, they must work with referrals for better outcomes. The providers can also provide alternative resources to the patients if they require more than home health services.
The lack of supporting infrastructure for home health care is another factor for which the referred patients are unable to receive home health services. The unavailability of assistive and life-sustaining medical equipment at home makes it difficult to meet the care needs of the patients at home. Equipment such as nebulizers, oxygen cylinders, and more are essential because the patient may require it anytime. Their absence not only prevents the patients from receiving the required care but also put their life at risk.
In order to overcome this issue, the providers can help in providing in-home support services to the patients. To offer comprehensive support to the patients at home, all the care needs must be made available by the home health providers. Certain home health providers have connections with vendors who can provide home-based delivery services such as mobile radiology, mobile labs, and medicine delivery. This will help in meeting all the needs of the patients, delivering a wide range of services, and enhancing the overall healthcare outcomes.
The risk of safety of the patient in the home setting is another major concern that limits the referred patients from availing the home health services. Some of the environmental hazards that pose a risk to patient safety include improper sanitation, the physical layout of the home, as well as infection control. Moreover, there can also be challenges in communication with the caregiver. The lack of continuous monitoring of health and lack of proper training and education for the patient, as well as the family members, are yet other factors that affect the provision of appropriate home health services.
Before the discharge of the patient from the hospital, the home health providers must assess the presence of such risks and find ways to mitigate it effectively. The providers can make use of consistent standards in order to measure the safety of the patient at home. Safety must be considered in each and every aspect of home-based care. The providers will make sure that the medical supplies and equipment used at home are safe and ensure effective communication between the home health care team and the family caregivers of the patient. The patient and the family caregivers must also be provided with adequate education by the home health professionals about the safety aspects.
In present time, the home health services are much underutilized. With the increase in awareness and education among the patients and their families, the use of home health services is likely to grow in the future. However, it is important to make sure that the hospital-referred patients avail of high-quality home health care services. Especially in the current pandemic situation, it is indeed a cost effective way of enhancing care for the patients. As patients cannot go to hospitals and nursing homes, home health services are the ultimate solution. Although it is underutilized now, it can offer valuable benefits to the patients.
On HOMECARE2GO® Apps or Website that can help anyone find the best home health service provider for better care. Through the platform, anyone can search for the reputed providers, compare the services and costs, and finally choose the best one. With home health services, the recovery of the patients can be faster.