Home care is health care or medical assistance provided directly by a skilled professional caregiver within the patient’s home, rather than care provided in long-term nursing homes or hospitals. Also referred to as domiciliary support, home care is often provided by non-medical caregivers or voluntary caregivers. Home care is often called domiciliary, non-medical care, or community-based care. The caretakers are direct family members, foster family members, friends, or extended family. The service providers are licensed and trained caregivers.
Several services may be offered through a home care provider. The caregiver and the client are introduced through a personal meeting. This initial meeting may take place at home or another location. During this first encounter, the client may need to make decisions about their care, such as what products or services may need to be used, how they will manage their errands, help with personal hygiene, and grocery shopping, among other matters. Some home care providers may even suggest certain therapies that the client may need to participate in or classes the client should attend.
After the initial introduction, a personalized care plan is developed and services are provided according to the program. Depending on the needs of the patient and the progress of the person as determined by the professional caregiver, the client can modify their home care plan according to their progress or circumstances. A personalized care plan will allow for both the personal and professional growth and development of the person being served. A healthcare team consisting of the professional caregiver and the home care provider will develop these plans together.
The primary goal of home health and community-based care is to assist elderly individuals to achieve independence. Independence includes having increased independence, greater self-sufficiency, fewer medical conditions, and being able to maintain regular activities of daily living (ADLs). Along with these goals, the goal of home care is to improve the quality of life, prevent future disabilities, and ensure the safety and security of the patient. Because the medication is an essential part of maintaining a healthy and normal lifestyle, a medication management service is a vital component of a long-term care plan. When considering home health and community-based care, the medication management team will work closely with the patient’s doctor to ensure effective and safe use of medications. Caregivers will also work closely with the doctor to ensure medications are being taken according to the directions.
An important service provided by the home health care nurse has wound care nurse maintenance. Wound care is necessary to prevent infections, alleviate pain, heal damaged skin and promote overall healing. A wound care nurse will be responsible for administering wound care procedures, monitor any infections, and instruct patients on how to properly care for their wounds. This will include performing routine physical therapy and ensuring all wounds are dressed according to local hospital protocol.
A final, but very important service that the in-home care worker provides is emotional support. Emotional support is necessary for patients who are dealing with a terminal illness, terminal diseases, or other life-threatening situations. The caregiver is there to talk to the patient, provide a sense of stability, help the family members adjust to their situation, and educate them about their situation. The caregiver needs to remember that they are not only physical support staff, but they are also a support system for the family members during this difficult time.