Healthy Tahoe: Quality care at home a team effort

Brian Kelly, PT, MS

Recovering at home, rather than in a hospital, is often a preference for many patients. It can mean greater independence and convenience providing relief for family and caregivers. Home health services continue to gain popularity among patients, medical providers, and insurers alike due to the efficient and effective nature of the services offered.

Brian Kelly

In recent years, increased demand due to our aging population has paved the way for advancement in medical science and technologies in the home health setting. Treatments and symptom management, previously only done in a hospital, can now also be done at home.

The professional team of home health nurses, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, medical social workers, and home health aides work with the patient, family, and attending medical provider to develop a personalized plan of care to meet the patient’s health goals. Often these goals include learning to better manage medications, avoid falling, care for wounds, complete activities of daily living like bathing and dressing, and reentering the community for needs like shopping or going to appointments.

Family members and caregivers are a key part of a patient’s care team and can actively participate in home visits so that they’re educated in how to better assist their loved ones throughout the recovery process. Most home health care visits are regularly scheduled over a four to eight week period, providing ample opportunity to explore new care solutions, ultimately contributing to improved patient independence and quality of life.

Most insurance providers, including Medicare, offer benefits that cover home health services. The guidelines vary from insurer to insurer, but a referral from a medical provider stating the need for skilled medical care for a homebound patient is a common requirement.

Once a referral is received and insurance coverage confirmed, an initial start-of-care home visit is completed. During this visit, a home health clinician completes an examination and evaluation to help set goals and determine the ideal home health care team. This plan-of-care is then approved by the attending provider and home healthcare commences.

For eligible patients, medically-skilled and licensed home health agencies provide access to high-quality care in the comfort of home.

Brian Kelly, PT, MS, is a physical therapist and manager of Barton Home Health & Hospice. Barton Home Health provides high quality, cost effective, compassionate care using the latest technology. Learn more at

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