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What to Expect from Home Health Care

For those who are new to home care, there are a lot of things that you may want to know. To start, your doctor must certify that you meet the eligibility requirements for home health before services can begin. For those who qualify, MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) will initiate services within 1-2 days after returning home from the hospital or rehabilitation facility.

Meet Your Home Care Team

For more information about your home care team, visit this page.

What to Expect

Watch this video to learn more about the home healthcare services MedStar VNA provides and how one may qualify for home care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is home health care?
How do I qualify to receive homecare services?
If my doctor recommends and writes an order for home care, will I receive the services?
Does my insurance cover home care?
How is my care coordinated when I am discharged from a hospital?

What can I expect during the first visit to my home?
What can I expect during a regular visit?
How often will they visit me?
When will they call me to schedule a visit?
Will I have the same nurse and/or therapist all the time?
Can I request a specific nurse or therapist?
How does my doctor know about my care?
Who do I contact if I have questions?

What is home health care?

Home health care is healthcare services that are delivered in a patient's home. It's prescribed by a doctor for one of the following reasons:

  • An individual was recently discharged from a hospital or long-term care facility, such as a nursing home or rehabilitation center
  • A doctor determines that an individual has a need for nursing or therapy at home

Home health care helps patients get better, reach a level of independence and become as self-sufficient as possible. For those with long-term health problems, the goal is to maintain the highest level of ability and learn to live with an illness or disability.

Home healthcare services generally include skilled nursing, rehabilitation and assistance with the activities of daily living. The service must be ordered by the patient's doctor in order for it to be covered by insurance.

How do I qualify to receive homecare services?

To receive medical care at home, your doctor must write an order for home care. You must be considered in need of skilled services that can be performed by either a nurse or a therapist on an intermittent basis. You must be experiencing difficulty leaving your home due to physical or mental limitations, thus needing care to come to you.

If my doctor recommends and writes an order for home care, will I receive the services?

In most cases, you will receive homecare services. However, there are circumstances when homecare services are difficult to arrange due to:

  • Homecare company's inability to provide the care you need
  • Coverage limitations set by your insurance company
  • Geographic area where you wish to receive services

If homecare services cannot be arranged, your doctor will make alternative arrangements. Some of these alternatives may include:

  • Outpatient rehabilitation center
  • Rehabilitation hospital
  • Rehabilitation center or skilled nursing facility

Does my insurance cover home care?

Most insurance companies cover the cost of skilled care at home. However, your insurance benefits may vary based on the policy you hold. In some cases, you may have a co-pay. Your discharge planner and homecare consultant will help you to get this information.

How is my care coordinated when I am discharged from a hospital?

A hospital discharge planner will work with a homecare consultant to make arrangements for your home care. Once you select a homecare company, the homecare consultant will contact that company. To determine if they can provide care to you, the consultant will ask:

  • Does this company serve the geographic area where you want to receive care?
  • Can they provide care within the timeframe suggested by your doctor?
  • Do they accept your insurance?

What can I expect during the first visit to my home?

During your first visit, the nurse or therapist will share a lot of information with you. They will also make sure the information we have about you is correct. The first visit may take up to two hours.

The homecare nurse or therapist will talk about:

  • Your discharge paperwork and/or doctor’s orders
  • Your role as a patient/caregiver, including payment responsibilities
  • Your “Plan of Care”, including the services you will receive and how often team members will visit
  • Your goal for homecare
  • Your medicines, including side effects and how and when to take them
  • Your risk for falling
  • How to contact the office with question or concerns

What can I expect during a regular visit?

The average visit lasts less than an hour.

You can expect things like:

  • Checking your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and breathing.
  • Making sure you understand the purpose of your medicines. We will teach you about the side effects and how and when to take your medicines on a schedule.
  • Teaching you or your caregiver to care for a wound or IV.
  • Creating an exercise plan to build your strength and improve balance/walking.
  • Teaching you how to control the symptoms of your ailments.

How often will they visit me?

Your specific needs and your insurance coverage will help to determine how often homecare team members visit you. The number of visits scheduled depends on your specific needs. Homecare professionals visit patients an average of two to three times a week. Visits will happen less often as you improve.

When will they call me to schedule a visit?

A homecare team member will try to call you on the evening before to schedule a visit for the next day. However, sometimes they may not be able to call until the morning of the visit. We are sorry when we cannot offer more notice. We get new patients added to the schedule every day. Sometimes, they are very sick and require urgent visits. This causes our homecare team members’ schedules to change. They will always try to give you an estimated time when they will arrive. Please answer your phone or return our calls promptly. If we cannot reach you by phone, we cannot visit.

Will I have the same nurse and/or therapist all the time?

At MedStar VNA we understand the importance of building trust with your homecare team. That is why we try our best to schedule the same clinical professionals to visit your home every time. Changes in time of day, day of week, and after-hours may impact our ability to schedule the same nurse or therapist.

Can I request a specific nurse or therapist?

We will do our best to give you the nurse, therapist or aide that you request. There may be times when we will not be able to meet requests for specific people. This is often due to an employee's work hours, vacations or a shortage of team members. We also understand that some patients prefer a male or female homecare provider. Please let us know if you have a preference.

How does my doctor know about my care?

The doctor provides MedStar VNA with orders that describe your care needs. We communicate with your doctor regularly and notify him/her if there are any changes in your condition. The homecare professionals will communicate regularly with you, your doctor and each other to ensure your needs are met.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

If you are being discharged from a hospital, skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility, a discharge planner from the facility will contact you about your care after discharge. If you have further questions regarding the coordination of homecare services, please discuss them with your discharge planner or homecare consultant.

Contact Us

To find out more about our home healthcare services, call: 800-862-2166.

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