By Lisa Devlin. 

The rising cost and quality of health care is a big concern for most Americans. Hospital care is very expensive and there is often a short supply of open hospital beds to serve those in need. Due to these costs and demands on resources, hospital stays have been getting shorter on average, leaving many patients worried that they are not prepared to be fully independent as they are released from the hospital back to their homes.

A key tool used by the medical profession to help in transitioning people out of the hospital to home is that of home health. It plays a key role in helping keep seniors safe and helps to restore function after an illness or injury. Home health provides a wide range of services from physical therapies, speech, and occupational therapies, to wound care and bathing. Requirements for home health include an order from your physician and that you be homebound. The cost of home health is covered through Medicare/Medicaid as well as private insurance; however, there are limits to home health coverage. These limits include the number of visits covered, and the types of duties performed. Home health provides medical care, but does not provide for personal care expenses, such as meals or housekeeping.

Many times, home health is the bridge that the senior needs to get stronger and remain in their home. This service can educate seniors on how to prevent falls, as well as instructing them on how to do everyday day tasks in a new and safer way. For example, many accidental falls happen when a senior gets up too quickly. They get dizzy or lose their balance. Just by teaching them to sit on the edge of the bed or their chair for a moment before standing can reduce the risk of a fall.

Anytime a senior has an illness or injury and is unable to leave the home, other than for doctor appointments, ask the doctor if home health can be ordered. It can be a very valuable tool to keeping seniors safe at home.