To help you better understand home health care and our agency, the answers to frequently asked questions follow:
What is Home Health Care?
Home Health Care encompasses a wide range of health care services provided in the patient’s home with the purpose of maintaining his or her maximal level of function, health, and comfort. Home care is a collaborative effort involving family, physician, and an interdisciplinary home care team. It is a cost-effective alternative to extended hospitalization, rehabilitation, or a nursing home stay. Patients are usually more comfortable in their own home and studies have shown patients recover quicker at home.
Who would benefit from home health care?
You or a family member may benefit from home care if you are:
- Recovering from a recent illness, surgery, or hospitalization.
- Recently discharged from a nursing home but need additional care.
- ln need of education regarding your health problem and how to manage your disease effectively.
- Terminally ill and wish to receive end-of-life care in your home.
- ln need of assistance in order to live independently at home and to enhance the quality of life at home.
What kinds of agencies provide home health care?
- Medicare-certified home care agencies
- Private duty agencies
- Nonmedical home care agencies
- Home medical equipment companies
- Home infusion companies
- Mobile diagnostic companies
- Visiting physician agencies
Who pays for Home Health Care?
Medicare, commercial insurance, and HMOs typically cover certified home care services when the criteria are met. Home care agencies will assist in determining your specific coverage and any co-pays. Private duty and nonmedical dare services are usually on a private pay basis.
What is the Medicare criteria for home health care?
In order to receive home health care services under Medicare, the patient must require skilled, intermittent nursing care, physical therapy, or speech therapy, have a physician’s order for home health care, and be essentially homebound. Medicare considers a person to be homebound if leaving the home would require a considerable and taxing effort and if s/he has a condition due to an illness or injury which restricts the ability to leave home except with the aid of devices such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, walkers, special transportation, or assistance of another person. Homebound patients may leave their home if absences from the home are infrequent or for periods of relatively short duration, or for the purpose of receiving medical treatment.
Who makes up the Home Health Care Team?
The home care team is interdisciplinary and usually includes nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, registered dietitians, and home health aides.
How long has KC’s been serving the community?
KC’s Home Health Care has been proudly serving the community since 2006.
Is KC’s Medicare/AHCCCS-Certified?
Yes, KC’s Home Health Care LLC is a Medicare/AHCCCS-certified home health agency and provides skilled, intermittent nursing and therapy visits.
Does KC’s provide literature explaining its services, eligibility requirements, fees and funding sources?
KC’s Home Health Services has several brochures and an admission packet which includes and describes Patient’s Bill of Rights, emergency plan, confidentiality, our services, admission criteria, mission and philosophy, Medicare guidelines, Advance Directives/Durable Power of Attorney, and safety information.
How does KC’s select and train its employees?
KC’s Home Health Services performs a thorough screening on each patient care employee including:
- Professional license check, if applicable
- Criminal background check including fingerprinting
- Driver license check
- Two business and one personal reference required
All patient care employees are fully licensed or certified, as well as insured, bonded, and CPR-certified. KC’s uses Relias eLearning educational programs to keep our staff current in their skills and knowledge. Each employee goes through an extensive orientation and training program upon hire and is assigned to a preceptor who closely monitors the employee’ s progress.
How are the patient’s home health care needs determined?
All patients’ home health care needs are evaluated during the first visit by a RN or therapist. Under the direction of the patient’s physician and with input from the patient and family members, an individualized care plan is initiated. The care plan is continually assessed and updated as the patient’s needs change and as progress is made. All of this is documented in the patient’s chart.
Does KC’s educate family members on the type of care that is being provided?
Teaching is a very large part of our services. All patients are given teaching guides that deal with the diagnosis that they are receiving home health services for. Each visit the patient is taught in a teach-back method how to care for themselves. The care plan is made in conjunction with the patient and family and is discussed thoroughly. Our staff ensures the family and patient understand the care that will be provided, how often, etc. Much teaching is done on medications, safety, disease management, emergency procedures, community resources, nutrition, etc.
Does KC’s assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care patients are receiving in their homes?
Yes, every employee has a clinical supervisor that oversees the care patients are receiving. All staff are evaluated at least annually by their supervisor during a home visit. The home health aides are supervised every two weeks by a RN or therapist. Our clinical supervisors are always available to our staff and patients for questions or help.
Who can you call for problems or concerns?
KC’s Home Health Services has a patient concern procedure in place which is spelled out in the admission packet the patient receives upon admission to our agency. Our Regional Director, Jill Heinrich, RN, BSN is available to answer patient questions and concerns, as are the Administrators of each office.
What procedures are in place to handle emergencies?
An emergency plan is made and thoroughly discussed with the patient and family during the first visit and is posted in the home and included in the care plan. This is reviewed frequently with the patient and family during the course of our care in the home. An RN is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to handle questions, problems, etc. However, KC’s is not an emergency service.
For more information on Medicare-certified agencies and home health care, go to Home Health Compare at www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare or call 1-800-633-4227. Another consumer resource is the Arizona Home Care Association at www.azhomecare.org or you may call 1-480-491-0540.