Home care is healthcare or medical support given by an individual caregiver at the person’s dwelling, rather than primary care given in nursing homes or group facilities such as clinics. Home care is also sometimes referred to as domiciliary care, residential care, or domiciliary therapy. It can be provided by one caregiver or several caregivers, depending on the patient’s preferences. Home healthcare services are usually offered by licensed social workers, psychologists, physicians, and therapists. In some cases, other family members also contribute to the home care program.
Home healthcare providers usually have a specialized area of expertise, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, neurology, radiology, or pain management. In addition to these areas of specialty, home care providers also provide services that include managing a patient’s hygiene, helping with meal planning, shopping and errands, and assisting with daily activities like bathing, dressing, and grooming. Other services might also be required, including drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, dementia, emergencies, and safety. Depending on the type of home care services provided, a patient might need assistance with getting dressed and toileting.
In-home healthcare providers are licensed and trained to provide basic healthcare assistance to people living in their homes and receive specialized training when it comes to providing medical support to patients with a range of conditions, such as recovering from surgery or illness. Most providers of in-home healthcare services are licensed in general practice, meaning they have graduated from a teaching college and have a background in one or more fields related to medicine. Some providers specialize in only certain areas of medicine or certain types of injuries, such as physical therapy for athletes or chiropractic for accident victims. Some providers work as independent contractors or may get involved in franchisees. Others operate through multilevel marketing businesses.
Health care providers who are employed by in-home care services must undergo either education or licensing courses, and pass state and national licensing exams. Health care workers must be registered with a state’s department of health or with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. They may also have to undergo a background investigation. It is important for health care workers to be honest and thorough in their reporting of patient medical details. Failure to accurately report delicate information can lead to legal action.
The best caregivers exhibit the same professionalism, compassion, and understanding as doctors do. When someone who needs help is brought into a home health care setting, the health care provider is charged with providing the same level of care that a doctor would provide, but without having to be admitted to the hospital or take time away from work. Providers work closely with patients and their families to address their needs and concerns. They make sure that a patient receives all of the medical treatment he or she requires and does not receive less than the recommended dose of medicine. Providers have to be licensed and follow all of the doctor’s instructions.
Home care is intended to help those individuals whose lives are too painful to allow them to leave their homes due to an acute illness or injury. According to the American Association of Nursing Home Professionals, in-home caregivers help improve the quality of life and health of loved ones who are bedridden or unable to perform typical activities. Although long-term care is more expensive than traditional hospital stays, in-home caregivers provide a welcome respite from daily stress and the worry that accompanies illness or injury.