By BEN ADEL | Special to the Palisadian-Post
These days medical treatment doesn’t need to happen in a hospital or doctor’s office. For those receiving care at home and already struggling with their health, this can make life much easier. Simply getting to a medical appointment can create significant issues for some and can also be stressful, not to mention unsafe.
Home health care offers the opportunity for patients to see a wide variety of professionals without leaving their house. But what exactly do home health care’s key medical professionals—physicians and nurses—do and how can they help?
What Does a Home Care Physician Do?
At the core of all care is a care plan. A care plan is a written statement of assessed needs outlining who, when and how a patient will receive care. It usually includes multiple members of an interdisciplinary team, including occupational therapists, physical therapists and home health aides. The doctor provides important clinical information and medical judgment to ensure the plan is carefully tailored to the patient’s unique needs.
Changes in the health status of patients are common and so adjustments to care are often necessary. Home health care physicians are instrumental in ensuring that the care plan is modified accurately to accommodate any new medical need, such as medications or treatments.
Every patient’s requirements for care are different and so a home visit might occur for many different reasons: a routine follow-up, medication management, wound care or transitional care. Often visits may address a combination of different concerns.
Unlike visiting an office, home care visits by doctors also usually allow for more time with the patient, meaning you don’t have to cram everything into a short, 15-minute slot.
What Does a Home Care Nurse Do?
Nurses also play a key role in patient care and often work very collaboratively with the physician, acting as the “eyes and ears” of the team. In this way, they provide feedback on how well the patient’s treatments and medications are working, and can inform the doctor about potential decisions regarding treatment.
Nurses also have an educational role and can teach the patient, their families and other caregivers how to use new medical aids and apparatus. They can also help spot potential dangers in the home and identify issues before they arise, creating a safer environment for care to take place.
Home health nurses also help to support caregivers, including family and other loved ones. They can help explain recommendations and diagnoses made by doctors and decipher complex medical information, providing greater clarity on medical concerns.
Registered nurses can offer services such as administering medication, e.g. injections and delivering medical tests, as well as drawing blood and taking the responsibility of initiating care plans.
Providing care from doctors and nurses at home often allows for more continuity for patients who might not otherwise have access to regular or even reliable health care services. It also provides the opportunity for the patients to receive greater personalization in their care, allowing them to experience the maximum level of support for health issues while maintaining their independence and enjoying the comfort of their own home.
Ben Adel is cofounder of Luxe Homecare, a Pacific Palisades-based homecare agency offering services in Los Angeles. They offer round-the-clock support, including registered nurses (RN and LVN) and rehabilitation services. Think your loved one might benefit from extra support? Contact the Luxe team on 310-459-3535 or visit luxehomecare.com.
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