How Home Health Care Can Help

by Amedisys

Home health care can treat a wide variety of conditions and illnesses. If you’re struggling with a chronic condition, medication management, fall prevention or other issues, here are some ways home health care can help. You can click the print button at the bottom of this page to easily bring this document to your doctor. 

Click below for easy navigation to specific conditions:

Heart Failure or Other Heart Conditions

When you or a loved one has heart problems, like heart attack or heart failure, you need a support system to recover and establish a healthy lifestyle. Home health care:

  • Provides the medical care needed to recover
  • Monitors for early warning signs
  • Helps lower anxiety
  • Works one-on-one to teach techniques for managing heart conditions

Stroke

Coordinated nursing and specialty therapy services can help people who have suffered a stroke recover functionality and regain as much independence as possible. Physical, occupational and speech therapy can help you regain the ability to do everyday tasks and communicate wants and needs with loved ones.

Diabetes

Living with diabetes requires constant vigilance to monitor and adjust blood sugar and intervene at the first sign of problems. If you or your loved one has been recently diagnosed with diabetes, home health care can teach you how to manage your condition and prevent the serious consequences of advanced diabetes. 

When dealing with uncontrolled diabetes, proper self-management with added medical care is essential. Home health care can help you or your loved one recover from complications like slow-healing wounds, infections and amputations. Amedisys’ home health nurses and therapists are experts at helping patients heal from these complications.

COPD or Other Respiratory Conditions

Chronic respiratory conditions like COPD sap a person’s energy. It takes so much effort just to breathe that fatigue, muscle weakness and malnutrition are common. It takes careful management to prevent flare-ups and maintain quality of life. For homebound patients, home health may be able to help.

Home health nurses and therapists can work together to help you or your loved one have more energy by:

  • Identifying triggers that cause flare-ups
  • Improving exercise tolerance and strength
  • Performing daily tasks more efficiently
  • Instructing how to manage shortness of breath

Alzheimer’s/Dementia/Confusion

Dementia and other diseases that affect the mind are some of the most difficult and stressful. Fortunately, treatments exist that can improve quality of life and help keep you or your loved one home longer. For example:

  • Physical therapy may help you or your loved one increase strength and mobility.
  • Occupational therapy can address daily routines. It can also train caregivers to provide appropriate cues and support for patients with cognitive limitations. This improves the patient’s ability to do daily activities. It can also reduce agitation or confusion.
  • Speech therapy can maximize the patient’s preserved cognitive abilities. The speech pathologist helps educate the family and caregivers as the patient’s disease progresses.
  • For patients with behavioral issues, a psychiatric nurse can figure out if medication is making agitation, aggression or other problems worse. They can also help recognize and treat depression, which can have many of the same symptoms as dementia.
  • A medical social worker can help connect family caregivers with community support resources.

Cancer

Those undergoing treatment for cancer face the risk of secondary infections, side effects and poorly healing wounds. Home health care helps manage these complications and promote healing so you or your loved one can focus on fighting the cancer.

Multiple Chronic Conditions

If you or a loved one is dealing with multiple chronic conditions, you’re likely taking numerous medications and seeing several specialists. It may be a difficult balancing act trying to manage all the symptoms, medications and side effects.

Home health care helps:

  • Manage medications
  • Monitor early warning signs
  • Teach you and your caregiver how to manage your health
  • Improve your quality of life
  • Connect you with community resources and home care aides to help with daily needs like bathing and dressing

Serious Illness (Pneumonia, Infection, Flu)

When you or a loved one is recovering from a serious illness, the care and monitoring of a skilled nurse can help speed healing. A home health nurse can administer IV medicine and recognize early warning signs to reduce the risk of serious complications.

Joint Replacement or Surgery (Knee, Hip, Shoulder)

Recovering from a joint replacement often requires specialized physical and/or occupational therapy to quickly regain flexibility and strength. With limited mobility after surgery, home health care can play an important role in getting you or your loved one back on your feet.

Falls, Dizziness or Loss of Balance

Falls account for 95% of all hip fractures in the elderly. They are the leading cause of death in those over 65. And 15% of people discharged from the hospital will be readmitted within a month due to a fall or fall-related injury. Preventing falls is a high priority.

Approximately two-thirds of all injuries reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention occurred in the bathtub or shower, and about half were precipitated by bathing or showering, slipping, or getting out of the tub or shower.

To help decrease the risk of a fall, in-home physical and occupational therapists:

  • Work to improve your strength, mobility, balance and motor skills
  • Address environmental risks in the home
  • Make recommendations
  • Provide techniques and equipment to make you safer in your home

Trouble Eating/Swallowing

If you or your loved one is having trouble swallowing, you’re not alone. Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) affect approximately 15 million Americans.

A speech-language pathologist can evaluate swallowing by looking at your strength, muscle range of motion, and ability to safely eat or drink. Based on this evaluation, they determine the best exercises, positions and techniques for your needs.

Depression

When confronted by serious health issues and decreasing independence, many people develop depression. But growing older doesn’t have to mean living with depression. A multidisciplinary home health care approach may help.

Nurses and therapists can provide skilled care and teach self-management for chronic conditions. Behavioral health specialists can help you or your loved one overcome grief, depression and anxiety.

Amputation

If you or your loved one has lost a limb, you may benefit from specialized rehabilitation. This may include:

  • Home nursing to help healing
  • Physical and occupational therapy to regain strength and as much independence as possible

For diabetic patients who have undergone an amputation, managing diabetes to reduce the risk of further complications is critically important.

Medications

Certain medications are frequently involved in medication-related hospitalizations. Examples include:

  • Coumadin/Warfarin and other anti-clotting drugs
  • Insulin and oral diabetic medications

Difficulty managing medications is a dangerous situation. Medication problems account for as much as one-third of all emergency hospitalizations among seniors.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about your medication schedule and what to do if you forget a dose. You might ask for a medication diary or pill box that could help manage medications.

A doctor may prescribe home health care to teach you or your loved one about medications and monitor your condition to prevent complications.

Home health care can help treat other conditions and issues as well. Take our home health care assessment to find out if home health care is right for you or a loved one. Or call your local care center and we’ll be glad to answer any questions you have.

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