Home health care is intended to provide services to a child and his family to make sure that the child’s medical needs are met in his natural home environment. An evaluation will be completed and a plan of care will be developed to meet your child’s needs. Each home health agency has its own process for these evaluations. Some services, like in-home nursing, may only require orders from a doctor, where other services, like therapy, will require the therapist to conduct an evaluation. It is important to ask your home health company what their process is, what information is needed and who needs to provide the information.
A plan of care is developed by each therapist after they evaluate your child. Ask for a copy of this plan if one is not given to you.
Some of the most common home health services are:
- Skilled nursing care (help with ventilators, trachs and apnea monitors, for example)
- Speech-language therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Medical nutrition therapy
Sometimes you can get multiple services through one company. Other times you may need to work with several different companies to get all of your family’s needs met.
Sometimes there are so many providers that choosing a home health company can be overwhelming. You and your child’s pediatrician should discuss which services are needed. Your doctor may have companies/providers that she has worked well with, so ask for her recommendations.
Once it has been decided that your child needs home health services, contact your insurance company and/or Medicaid to find out:
- Which home health services and providers are covered under your policy (remember these are different from clinic-based services)
- What is required to get coverage, such as doctor’s orders
- Whether there is a limit to the number of visits that are covered, and if so, what that limit is
Since these providers will be in your home and working closely with your family, it is important that you feel comfortable with them. Communicate any concerns you have with the company.
Also, keep in mind that other parents can be great resources when looking for a company—local parent groups are a good place to start.