The Role of Home Care Professionals

Home care is extended health care or specialized care given by a skilled professional caregiver within the person’s home, rather than care given in institutional settings such as nursing homes or clinics. Home healthcare is also sometimes referred to as domiciliary care, residential care, or domicile care. This type of care is generally not covered by insurance.

As the caregiver, your main responsibility will be to provide daily personal care for your loved one. This means you will have to perform baths, feedings, dressing, grooming, and exercising. Your loved one will also need help with physical activities, shopping, errands, and preparing meals. Your loved one will have the assistance of a trained home care provider who can help with personal care tasks when needed. You may be called upon to help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, and driving. The caregiver should coordinate with your family or health care provider in these tasks.

A personalized care plan is typically established when the patient and his/her family members are involved in deciding on an appropriate home care provider. When a patient and his/her family members decide on a home care provider, they will discuss the plan along with the services to be provided, the kind of environment desired, the number of personnel required and the kind of reimbursement to be paid. Services to be provided would include companionship, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, medicine, hospitalization, home health maintenance, and other specialized services, including nutrition counseling. You may also be asked to coordinate care with home healthcare professionals.

To provide the best possible care for a patient, home health care professionals will need to be trained in providing medical treatment and guidance. They will work in conjunction with the patient’s family and other primary care providers. To be a good home health care provider, you need to have a good bedside manner, excellent communication skills, compassion, patience, and people skills. You also need to have the medical knowledge necessary to treat injuries and illnesses that may require specialized treatment.
Although many chronic conditions can be managed by home health care professionals without extensive medical training, some conditions such as diabetes and certain heart conditions may require specialized training. If you have any medical conditions that require special medical treatment, you will need to disclose this to home health care professionals at the time of their initial meeting with you. For instance, if you are diabetic and need to have low blood sugar monitoring, you will need to mention this condition to your caregiver. In this way, he/she will be prepared in case the situation ever arises.
Home health care professionals, such as nurses and physical therapists, should be trained according to the National Association of Home Health Care Professionals standards. According to these standards, they should be licensed to practice in their respective specialty areas, be competent in providing services, be committed to the confidentiality of the patient, possess good communication skills, have good socialization skills, possess a sense of humor, respect the ability and intelligence of their patients, have understanding and compassion for all age groups, have a genuine interest in the needs of the person and are willing to modify their behavior to meet the needs of the patient, be willing to contribute to the overall well-being of the patient, and possess the qualities of caring about yourself, your family and your fellow patients. Nurses are the most important role of home health care professionals. Physical therapists should not be the only ones responsible for treating patients.

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