Home Care Agencies

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What types of home care services are available?

Through a home care agency, you can get many of the same care and services as in a hospital. A doctor will work with your home health care providers to set up your plan of care. This plan includes the services you need, the type of staff best suited to provide those services, and how often the services are needed.

Nursing care

A highly skilled registered nurse (RN) can be very helpful to a cancer patient at home and can help relieve the burden on family members. With home care, a nurse comes into the home, looks at the care needs you and your family have, and sets up a plan of care along with the doctor. Services may include the care of wounds, ostomy care, giving intravenous (IV) treatments, giving and supervising medicines, and watching for side effects. Your care plan may also include giving supportive care, like pain control, as well as health teaching and emotional support. The needs of both the patient and the family are covered.

Physical therapy

Physical therapists can help you to regain the use of impaired or weakened muscles. They also work with you to improve the range of motion in joints and learn to use any special equipment needed for daily activities.

Occupational therapy

An occupational therapist can help you with problems that keep you from doing activities of daily living. An occupational therapist will look at what you can do, and then teach you ways to do daily tasks, like eating, bathing, dressing, and household routines. If special equipment is needed, you will be taught to use it. With the therapist’s help, you can learn to do more things on your own.

Speech therapy

If you cannot talk the way you used to, a speech therapist can help you communicate again by teaching special techniques and helping you practice. They may also help if you have problems swallowing.

Social workers

Social workers look at social and emotional factors that affect patients. They serve as case managers for patients with complex needs and help find sources of help in the community. This can include helping the family look for financial help when needed. They also counsel patients on coping with the demands of illness, family conflicts, and grief, all of which can affect the patient’s care.

Home health aides/home care aides

With the help of an aide, you can better handle personal care, such as getting in and out of bed, walking, bathing, and dressing. Some aides have had special training and are qualified to give more complex services if supervised by a registered nurse.

Homemaker/attendant care

A homemaker can perform light household tasks for you, like laundry, meals, housekeeping, and shopping. These services are done to help maintain your house rather than give health care. Some agencies assign a home health aide these tasks along with health services.

Volunteers

A volunteer from a community organization, a home care agency, or hospice can sit with you, give emotional support, and help with personal care, paperwork, and getting to and from doctor visits.

Others

Home care services may also include some of these:

  • Nutrition support and help with diet
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Lab and x-ray studies
  • Pharmacy services
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Transportation
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Problem-solving or other help by phone
  • Dentists, clergy, specialist doctors, and other health professionals
  • Emergency alert or safety monitoring systems

Last Medical Review: 05/08/2013
Last Revised: 05/08/2013