Ask The Expert: Home Health Care
Leigh Layne, RN with Heartland Home Health in Raleigh, North Carolina
Q: Can I receive home health services if I go to church?
A: Yes, if leaving your home is a taxing effort. In other words, if you drive to church effortlessly, and walk without requiring assistance; I would say you are not home bound. Therefore, you would not qualify for home health services under the Medicare benefit at the given time. However, if your health status declines, and you became weak, and unable to drive to church; then yes, you would meet the Medicare criteria for home bound status. Many health care professionals (Physicians, nurses, other) misunderstand the definition of home-bound status as it is stated in the Medicare benefit. Notify your home health agency representative to confirm if you meet the home bound status for the home health benefit.
Q: How can I stay out of the hospital?
A: It is critical that you are in control of managing your health as well as your diagnosis, medications, and signs & symptoms of disease exacerbation (complications). Recommendations include asking questions when you visit your physician. You may take a friend or family member with you to take notes during the physician office visit. Have awareness of your body, symptoms, and signs of exacerbation of disease. If you “feel” something is wrong, notify your physician. You know your body better than anyone!
Q: Can I receive Intravenous (IV) medications in my home instead of staying in the hospital?
A: Yes, home health agencies provide intravenous administration of medications in the home setting. Of course, the cost of service is dependent on the insurance benefit; however, the service is available and preferred as it less expensive to receive health care in the home as opposed to a hospital or facility setting.
Q: What can you do if I need more help than an hour a day?
A: Today, home health agencies are partnering with community resources to offer many levels of care accessible, given patients – need. Regardless, if you receive home health services or not, you may call a home health agency requesting information on private duty companies that provide hourly “unskilled” (bathing, meal preparation, cleaning) services. Again, ask a home health agency as they are the specialists of health care in the home. We are aware of companies that provide the highest quality of care for our community.
Q: I forget to take my medications, what can I do?
A: As a home health administrator and a home health RN for 24 years, I am researching innovative, efficient, and cost effective solutions to medication management. First, begin with your family and friends by asking for phone call reminders. If that doesn’t work, you are welcome to call your home health agency to request community resources to assist you in managing your medications; such as, an automatic pill dispenser, pre-packaged “bubble wrap” medications prepared by the pharmacy, medication reminder schedule and alarm system. There are solutions! Ask your home health specialists for assistance. We are your community resource specialists for in home services.
Leigh Layne with Heartland Home Health is a Medicare trained Registered Nurse of 26 years, specializing in clinical and financial operations in the home health arena. She completed nursing training at Virginia Appalachian Tri-College of Nursing in 1986, and will complete a MBA in 2015, and a PhD in Health Care Management with a focus on Health Informatics in 2016 from the University of Phoenix. Leigh has multi – state, multi – office regional management experience, and focuses on managing “people” to obtain community self-management of disease; thus, prevent re-hospitalizations through home health intervention and focus.