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Home Health Care Provides Wide Range of Services

Home health care services vary almost as widely as the needs of clients. These types of services can be tailored and bundled to help seniors receive the care they need in the comfort of home.

As with all types of health care, home health care is directed by the senior's physician. The physician orders the plan of care for the client, such as nursing care, home-delivered physical therapy, laboratory tests, medical social work, and homemaking and personal care assistance from a home health aide or caregiver.

The physician regularly reviews the client's care plan, revising it as needed, and in some cases may visit the senior at home. Home health care services include:

Nursing care is the most common form of home health care service. Registered nurses deliver a wide array of home health care services, depending on clients' needs. These may include medication administration, wound care, intravenous therapy, ostomy care, pain control, and monitoring the client's health.

Physical medicine services--including physical, occupational and speech, therapy helps seniors regain or relearn certain physical abilities after surgery, an injury or illness, such as a stroke. A physical therapist can help seniors regain strength and range of motion. An occupational therapist can help regain the ability to perform activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, bathing and housekeeping. A speech therapist can help regain the ability to communicate clearly.

Medical social services, provided by social workers, include counseling and referral to community services that will assist in the senior's recovery and complement other services. Seniors whose medical cases are complex, involving multiple conditions and diseases, often need the assistance of a medical social worker to coordinate care.

Dietary assistance can be provided in the home by a registered dietitian. This includes dietary assessments and guidance that can promote a client's well-being and complement the medical treatment he or she is receiving.

Home health aides assist with basic personal care needs such as walking, bathing, grooming, dressing and getting in and out of bed.

In-home caregivers provide companionship. They may also perform some household duties, such as housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, grocery shopping and transportation to medical appointments.

Home-delivered meals, such as Meals-on-Wheels, help seniors who are unable to cook for themselves.

Medical tests, such as blood and urine tests and portable x-rays, can be conducted in a home setting.

Medicine and medical equipment can be delivered to home health care patients as an important part of their home medical care and recovery.

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