Long-term care options for the elder population can provide a number of specialized services that fit the needs of the patient and provide a caring and healing environment for the residents. Different patients may be looking for a variety of amenities and services that are included in the care provided in home, although considering these variations of specialty can be just as important as evaluating the quality of care.
Due to the rising need of better and more empowering elder care, as well as concerns over the quality of life within the environment, a number of government agencies and elder advocacy groups also provide resources that can let family members compare different services and offerings between registered agencies. This resource also gives individuals current updates on licensing status for the caregivers and areas of expertise or familiarity.
General Home Nursing Services
Basic home nursing services can be a valid way for elderly patients to maintain independence even with a comprehensive treatment routine. This type of care is also effective in maintaining positivity and a better quality of life, as it allows for clinical services in the comfort of the home. Some of the basic services to expect from home nursing include:
- Rehabilitation treatments, including physical and cognitive or speech based therapy
- Case management
- Medical and social counseling for patients and for family members
- Nutritional therapy, including gastric and esophageal tubes
- Infusion therapies, including dialysis
- Vaccinations and preventive services
- Wound care and post-operative oversight
- Palliative care and medication management
- Home safety education
- Drawing blood and running diagnostics
- Pain management techniques
- Resources for support and education
- Life saving techniques and measures
- Critical and acute care
Most nurses will also modify in home services to better fit the patient’s needs, so that the focus can always be on the greatest benefit to the client. This often allows for some flexibility in negotiating services that will be most applicable.
Live-in Home Nursing Services
For patients who have severe disabilities, terminal conditions, and cognitive impairment, the use of a live-in nurse can be more appropriate. In this case, the live-in nurse attends to caretaking in the same capacity as though the patient were in a hospital setting, although they are still in the comfort of their home. In these cases, expanded services can include:
- Handling chemotherapy drugs and administering cancer treatments
- Assisting in physical functionality and working with patients for coping
- Monitoring vitals and regulating drug regimens
- Coordinating the installation of necessary equipment for treatment
- Working on cognitive stimulation and memory retention
- Updating and counseling family members about the situation
- Bathing, feeding, and other routines
Live-in nurses tend to be a necessity when the patient’s health situation has reached a stage where it is no longer manageable for family members. This includes the ability to administer treatment and to devote the time to monitoring conditions. Some in-home nurse will also extend services to include basic housekeeping tasks as they relate to the patient and the patient’s immediate environment.
Although home nurse do include many tasks that are related to maintaining quality of life through some household management, home nurses who do not live at the residence will generally not assist in household chores. Other providers can give non-medical assistance in these situations, and allow the nurse to focus on immediate patient health care.
In cases where a live-in home nurse is necessary, services can also extend to non-medical and practical tasks. This is especially true if the patient lives alone, although the details will vary depending upon family and caregiver negotiations. Further limitations can also exist based on the agency or organization that employs the home nurse, as certain legal restrictions can also influence the scope of services.
In cases where non-nursing services are necessary along with medical assistance, it is often recommended that family members take the time to comparison shop and explore the extent of care that may be offered through any provider. This can also be important in regards to the scheduling of care, since insurance and agency agreements may only cover a set amount of time with the patient.
Financing Home Nursing Services
Depending upon the agency or affiliation, certain coverage can apply to home nursing services. Many agencies are included in Medicare provisions, although this may require a plan of care and referral in order to qualify. Other insurance providers will operate in a similar manner, with accepted treatment course being covered, while services that are deemed as not necessary may be subject to out of pocket payments.
Some home nursing agencies will also give concessions for individuals who do not have accepted insurance coverage, or who need services beyond the scope of the insurance parameters. In these cases, a payment contract between the facility and the patient or patient’s guardian can provide a viable solution for both the range of services and the fees for care.
For patients with cognitive or mental disabilities, a psychiatric nurse can also be beneficial to consider for home nursing. In this type of situation, services can also include:
- Psychological diagnosis and evaluation
- Counseling and therapy sessions
- Bio and neuro feedback
- Prescribing medications
- Monitoring blood chemical levels
In cases where emotional or cognitive issues are witnessed, home nursing services must be specialized to address possible issues that can arise. Psychiatric nurses receive comprehensive training that addresses physiological and psychological conditions, and this allows for a more accurate perspective of and progress or changes in the patient’s circumstances. This can also ensure that the quality of care is a best fit for the presenting condition.
While many home nursing services can be utilized for a variety of patient circumstances, some illnesses will require more than the standard care. This can make it necessary for individuals to confer with physicians in deciding on which services are appropriate to the patient. Often, doctors can refer clients to agencies that will meet the requirements of the situation.