How does skilled home health play a role during a pandemic?
As you can imagine, in the era of a pandemic, “homebound” has taken on a whole other meaning. During this time of national emergencies, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), relaxed the homebound requirement to include patients whom physicians determine have a medical contraindication that prevents them from leaving the home. We are in the new world of telehealth and video doctor visits. Physicians and patients alike are looking for ways to be treated without going into a doctor’s office. At this moment, there are numerous people foregoing a much-needed ER visit in fear of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus. In April and May, numerous surgeries were put on hold in anticipation of keeping hospital beds available.
Skilled home health care can be utilized when someone is entering a recovery phase after an illness or surgery. We are considered post-acute care. Whether it is after a surgery, a patient receiving a new diagnosis or flair-up on an ongoing diagnosis, home care is used to aid the patient in getting back to his or her level of functional ability. The goal is for patients to return to their prior activities of daily living. The main requirement to receive home care is that the patient be “homebound.” Normally, patients are only eligible for home health services if they’re confined to the home due to illness or injury—or because leaving home requires “a considerable and taxing effort.” If the patient meets the requirement of homebound status, he or she can quality for skilled nursing and/or rehabilitative therapy in the home. This is often a short-term service lasting a few weeks to a couple months, depending on the severity of the patient’s needs.
Home health care workers have become a silent army in these new times. They care for those isolated, alone and in need. In a time where so many are afraid to walk outside their homes, these clinicians are walking in. Lake Centre Home Care is accepting COVID-19 patients and will continue to do so.