Understanding Home Health Care

BALTIMORE – Tuesday, Dr. Alicia Arbaje joined Megan and Charley on Good Morning Maryland at Nine to discuss those options and how important it is to ask the correct questions for home health care.

Dr. Arbaje says you should consider the following when thinking about home health care:

What is Home Health Care?
•Health care professionals provide care in the home to help with a new or changing health problem.
o Nurses serve as your case manager. They may also administer medications, change dressings for wounds, and monitor vital signs, weights, or blood sugars.
o Physical, occupational, and speech therapists help with improving balance, coordination, strength, swallowing, and home safety.
o Medical social workers help you cope with your illness and may refer you to community resources.
o Home health aides provide companionship and help with personal services.
o Home healthcare agencies also provide medical equipment if needed.
• They communicate with your primary care doctor to coordinate your care.
• They come a few times a week for a short time.

When Should I Consider Asking My Doctor for Home Health Care?
• When leaving the hospital
• When medications have been changed
• When there is a new diagnosis
• When having difficulty walking or experiencing a fall
• When having difficulty managing daily tasks

What Do I Do When the Nurse Arrives?
• Ask the nurse
o What you need to do help get yourself better
o What problems to watch out for and what to do about them
o How to take your medications
o How to perform special skills like changing a bandage or giving a shot
o What name and phone number to call if you need help
• Ask to see a physical therapist if
o you are having difficulty walking or managing daily tasks
• Ask to speak to a social worker if
o you are concerned about how you and your family are coping with your illness
o you need help with health care costs