FAQs

Home Health Care

What is home health care?

Home health provides services to those recovering from illness or surgery, individuals living with chronic conditions, and those who can avoid hospital admission and remain safely at home with some medical and personal assistance.

How do I make arrangements to have a nurse come to my home?

Our Transitional Care Department accepts and processes all patient referrals. They can be reached at 1.800.841.9397. A patient can be referred by their physician, hospital, rehabilitation facility, skilled nursing or assisted living facility, clergy, family, friends or self-referral. If you are referring yourself for services please contact our intake department and we will request an order from your physician. Home health patients must meet certain requirements:

  • Services must be ordered by a physician
  • The patient must be “homebound”. This means it takes a considerable taxing effort for you to leave your home. You can still be considered homebound if you occasionally go to the barber or beauty shop or for a walk around the block or a short drive or even to routine medical appointments.
  • The patient’s condition requires skilled care by a nurse or therapist

Does a patient need to be hospitalized to qualify for home health care?

No, hospitalization is not a requirement to receive home health care. In fact, many of our patients are referred by their personal physicians.

Will you explain what "homebound" means?

In general, you are homebound if:

  • You have an illness or injury that restricts your ability to leave home unless you have help, or if it takes a considerable and taxing effort to leave home (if you need a wheelchair, special transportation, or other assistance)
  • Absences from the home must be infrequent or for a short period of time, as in only leaving your home for medical care
  • Trips out cannot last longer than one to two hours or occur more than one to two times per week for activities like grocery shopping, attending a worship service, or going to a hair appointment

You are not​ considered homebound if:

  • You are able to drive
  • You leave your home for reasons other than receiving medical treatment
  • The absences are long and frequent, such as frequent shopping trips or visits to friends

Who pays for home health services?

The cost of professional home health services provided by Community Nurses is typically covered by your insurance including Medicare, Medicaid, Senior HMOs and most private insurances.

What if I don’t need or qualify for medical services, but still need help to stay in my home?

Our Community Nurses Home Support Services provides the services you may need. Trained aides offer personal care such as help with bathing and grooming. They assist with household duties such as laundry, light cleaning, and household chores. They prepare and serve your meals. They provide companionship for you while your caregivers take a break. Anyone can request these services. Fees are based on an hourly rate and may be paid by the client or by special government funding for those who qualify.  

Hospice

Can you explain what hospice care is?

Hospice is a special way of caring for terminally ill patients and their families. This philosophy of care focuses on patient comfort and symptom management so that their remaining days can be lived as fully as possible. Hospice patients are cared for by a team consisting of a physician, a nurse, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and volunteers. Each one provides assistance based on his or her own area of expertise. In addition, hospices provide medications, supplies, equipment, and other services related to the terminal illness.

Is hospice only for people with cancer?

No. Many patients are admitted to the hospice program with conditions such as congestive heart failure, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), end-stage kidney disease, the last stages of dementia, and other life limiting diagnoses. Hospice cares for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly.

Will my doctor suggest hospice?

Your doctor may, at some point in your care, suggest hospice. Most often, doctors wait for families to bring up the subject of hospice. This is part of the reason so many patients do not benefit from hospice until the last days of their illness. If you ask your doctor if he or she would not be surprised if you would die in the next six to twelve months and the answer is “no, I wouldn’t be surprised”, it is time to begin talking about hospice. Our hospice nurse can provide an informational visit with you and your family with no pressure and no obligation on your part.

When is the best time to start hospice care?

Most patients and families who receive hospice care say they wish they had known about it earlier. Looking back, they realize that they needed the help much sooner than they received it. Research has shown that hospice can increase both the quality of life and how long a patient lives. Experts agree that at least two to three months of care is optimal. It is better to ask sooner rather than later so you do not regret having missed the support that hospice has to offer.

Can hospice care be provided anywhere other than my home?

Hospice services can be provided wherever the patient calls home. That means a patient in a nursing home or assisted living facility can receive specialized visits from hospice nurses, home health aides, chaplains, social workers and volunteers, in addition to the care and services provided by the facility.

Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery return to regular medical care?

Yes, a patient may leave hospice care for a number of reasons. Some patients decide to resume aggressive curative treatment.  If the patient’s condition improves enough that he no longer meets hospice guidelines he can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or go on about his daily life. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurance will allow additional coverage.

How many family members or friends does it take to care for a patient at home?

There’s no set number. One of the first things a hospice team will do is to prepare an individualized care plan that will, among other things, address the amount of caregiving needed by the patient. Hospice staff visit regularly and are always accessible to answer medical questions.

Must someone be with the patient at all times?

In the early weeks of care, it’s usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient all the time. Later, however, as the care needs for the patient increase and to ensure safety, hospice generally recommends someone be there continuously. While family and friends do deliver most of the care, hospices may have volunteers to assist with errands and to provide a break and time away for primary caregivers.

How does hospice manage pain?

Hospice addresses all types of pain: physical, emotional and spiritual. Hospice nurses and doctors are highly educated on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief, with a very high success rate in battling pain. When a person has a legitimate need for pain medication, they do not become addicted to it. Community Nurses Hospice has the expertise to manage pain so that patients feel comfortable and remain as alert as possible, given their medical condition. Hospice uses some combination of medications, counseling and therapies, to help most patients attain a level of comfort they consider acceptable.

Does hospice provide care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

Hospice staff is on call for emergencies 24 hours a day. Hospice care does not include a nurse in the home 24/7. If you require more care than can be provided in the home, you may choose to transfer to a nursing home that works with our hospice program