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Home care and hospice deliver freedom: who can receive services?

(Marianas Health) — Last Wednesday we gave an overview of what home health care does. Today we will see how the need for home care is growing and describe how one is eligible to receive home care.

Home health care covers a wide range of services. It covers skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology services, palliative care, hospice care and assistance in daily living activities — but the care received by each patient is customized to meet their specific needs. In the past decades, it has been predicted that the need for home health care would increase.

In Deloitte’s online article “Global Health Care Outlook 2017,” it is stated that “the world’s major regions are expected to see health care spending increases ranging from 2.4 percent to 7.5 percent between 2015 and 2020.” In the United States, this is anticipated as we see the coming of age (retirement) of the “baby boom” generation (those born between 1946 and 1964). The article further states that “the rising demand and associated spending [for health care] are being fueled by an aging population; the growing prevalence of chronic diseases and comorbidities; development of costly clinical innovations; increasing patient awareness, knowledge, and expectations….”

So, as the cost of health care increases due to an aging population and an increase in the occurrence of chronic diseases (such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, etc.) the nation needs to find means of reducing costs in order to fund an increasing number of patients. As home care is “usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care you get in a hospital,” (as per Medicare) we have a partial solution to this challenge.

Now, who is eligible for home care? While age is not a determining factor, we find that the majority of home health care recipients are 65 and older and thereby eligible to receive Medicare benefits. We will therefore share the Medicare criteria on who is eligible to receive home health care services as published in the “Medicare & Home Health Care” official government booklet.

Home care recipient criteria

1. You are under the care of a doctor and require services specified in a plan of care developed and reviewed by the doctor and the doctor refers you for home health care;

2. Your doctor certifies that you need one or more of the following services: intermittent skilled nursing, physical therapy, speech language pathology services, or continued occupational therapy;

3. You are homebound which means: leaving home is not recommended by your doctor due to your condition or you have difficulty leaving home without help of an assistive device, such as a wheelchair, walker or cane; it requires a taxing effort to leave your home; and you only leave home on an infrequent basis and only for short periods of time.  

These criteria are spelled out in detail in the official government booklet found by following this link:

Please stay tuned for additional articles to learn more about home health care and hospice in this newspaper during the month of November. Also, please take advantage of a free health screening to be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. near the IT&E Kagman office location. Please call 233-4646/7 for more details about the screening or directions.