Health services can be obtained not only in hospitals, but also at home. Home care or home health service is increasingly becoming the choice of many people, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. There are various health services that can be accessed at home instead of having to go to the hospital. However, this does not mean that all kinds of health services are always available both in the hospital and at home. In this article, we will discuss about home care, including when we need this service.
What is Home Care?
According to the Palliative Care Dictionary that cites the World Health Organization (WHO), home care is a set of health and social support services provided to clients in their own place of residence. These coordinated services can be used to delay, prevent, or replace temporary or long-term care at care institutions.
Home health service is provided by professionals with the aim of improving the patients’ health and quality of life. This facility is necessary particularly for patients who are unable to access services in the hospital because of their condition. Through home care services, nurses and doctors will come to the patients’ home to perform treatments, such as infusions, physiotherapy, and home wound care.
For most people, home is the most comfortable place, especially when they are sick. Home is a gathering place where families support each other. Patients also feel more relaxed when they are treated at home. These feelings contribute to the progress of the patients’ care. Therefore, home care is often an option.
A 2013 study found improvements in the quality of life of patients receiving home care from the start to the end of treatment or for 60 days, whichever came first. But the caregivers must really focus on maintaining and improving the functional abilities of the patients during treatment.
Types of Health Services Provided at Home
Basically, all the services available in the hospital can be provided at home as long as possible. However, there are certain types of health services that are commonly provided at home, such as:
- Doctor visits to examine, diagnose, and treat the patients.
- Nurse visits to care for the patients in the short and long term.
- Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and/or speech therapy to help patients improve the quality of life that has declined due to certain diseases, such as stroke.
- Social medical services such as counseling and consultation regarding the mental state of the treated patients.
- Trained caregiver visits to help patients meet basic daily needs, such as dressing, bathing, waking up, eating, and walking.
- Infusion at home for patients who require intravenous fluids for treatment.
Acute Care, Transition Care, Chronic Care, Palliative Care
We need to understand acute care, transitional care, chronic care, and palliative care terms related to home care. Knowing these things is helpful in determining when we need home care.
- Acute care: care that treats acute or sudden and short-term illnesses, such as emergency care, trauma care, acute care surgery, and critical care.
- Transitional care: care provided to patients as they move from one location to another or from one physician to another, so that patients feel comfortable and safe when transitioning into care.
- Chronic care: care to treat a chronic medical condition.
- Palliative care: care for patients with serious illnesses such as cancer, stroke, or heart failure.
Things to Consider When Choosing Home Health Service
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing home health service:
- What kind of services are needed
- Services of which institution to use
- What facilities the institution offers
- Whether the service is long-term or short-term
- Do we need caregivers 24 hours a day
- How much does the service cost
For patients who need chronic or palliative care, it is usually the doctor who will provide recommendations for health services at home. However, the family has the right to choose which health services to use.
Tips for Choosing the Right Home Health Service
Choosing home health service is indeed tricky. There are a few tips to get the right choice:
- Check the reputation of the service provider
- Make sure the professional being sent home is certified
- Adjust service options to meet the needs of the patients
- Talk about cost transparency upfront
- Communicate directly with caregivers to explain patients’ condition and needs
If possible, patients who will be treated are also invited to make choices. Therefore, they feel involved in things that concern them. However, for some patients with limited decision-making capacity, it is preferable that the family ultimately be the deciding factor in the choice of home health service. Particularly if the patient is an elderly person who has decreased cognitive function that makes it difficult to make the right decision.