This is actually a chicken and egg question. Almost. And, like this question, there is no conclusive answer per se…but there are significant differences that each have over the other. Caring for an elderly or disabled family member can be tremendously rewarding – and no matter how much the caregiver loves and cares for the patient, it’s a very stressful role as well. Home healthcare offers the caregivers  the break they need to refresh and recharge while knowing their loved one is receiving the best of care.

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If someone needs emergency medical attention, surgery or serious medical treatment requiring life sustaining equipment, then of course that person needs to be in a hospital.

However, if a person needs palliative care or clinical care to recover from an illness or surgical procedure – then home healthcare can provide a better environment to help that person recover faster. Being in familiar surrounding goes a long way towards providing mental stability, maintaining emotional equilibrium and improving physical well-being.

On the road to recovery
Most people tend to recover much faster if allowed to stay in their homes when possible. Whether it’s a recent surgery or even psychological trauma, being at home, with 24/7 access to family and friends, offers the patient the best chance for a full and quick recovery. Since hospitals and nursing homes generally have rigid schedules and set routines, home healthcare allows for much more flexibility, and less stress, for all concerned. A comfortable surrounding always helps a person heal faster.

More economical
The fact is that providing care at home is significantly less expensive than paying room and board at a nursing home or hospital. A by-product of this is that hospital rooms are freed up for urgent and critical cases. Nowadays, there are many options for home healthcare that allows your beloved family member to receive excellent care when he/she needs it. When you total up the costs involved, home healthcare is usually a cost-effective and  beneficial plan of action.

Innovations in medical technology
Rapid advancements in medical technology allow patients to receive certain therapies and treatment at home, rather than having to be in the hospital. And, if there are procedures that require a skilled healthcare worker, these can also be done at home – including dressing changes, hygiene and personal care, help with proper diet, and administering medications that would normally require the patient to be in a clinical setting.

The importance of home healthcare

Home healthcare  offers a comprehensive set of clinical services provided by skilled, trained, professional and compassionate caregivers, dedicated to meeting the patient’s and his/her family’s needs. Home healthcare providers work with the patient to create a customized care solution for the best possible quality of life for the patient, and peace of mind for the family and caregiver.

According to surveys done on the subject, hospital discharge planners are the third most common referral service for home healthcare agencies. This is a trend that is expected to increase significantly in the years ahead. But, why so many referrals? Because home healthcare agencies help to save the government and private medical institutions, significant amounts of money.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the US reports that up to 75 percent of hospital re-admissions are potentially preventable. And “by encouraging providers to reduce preventable re-admissions, the US government expects cost savings of over $26 billion in the next ten years.”

Hospitals are constantly on the look-out for resources that can help to reduce re-admission rates. One such resource is home healthcare, which is being looked at as a way to bridge the gaps during the transitional period of recovery (after surgery or serious illness) by providing non-medical services that address and typically prevent the most common reasons for hospital re-admission. Such causes include missing follow-up visits, having difficulty complying with medication schedules and having a poor understanding of “red flag” symptoms. Some of the duties covered by home healthcare include:

  • Meeting the patient at the hospital or rehabilitation facility and providing safe transportation home for him/her
  • Picking up prescriptions and supplies
  • Ensuring proper nutrition
  • Monitoring medication compliance
  • Assisting with activities of daily living
  • Assisting with strengthening exercises
  • Transporting client to follow-up appointments
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