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So, Your Doctor Ordered Home Care
By Judi Meyer, PT

If you are hospitalized, become significantly ill or have an open wound your physician may recommend that you have Home Care. Generally, Home Care is advised when you are going home from the hospital but still experience significant difficulty leaving your home for routine activities. At that point, you will probably wonder what you can expect from your Home Care experience. It is our hope that this article will help you understand what Home Care does and what everyone's role in Home Care is.

Home Care is designed to serve as a bridge between good health and significant illness. It provides all the care you would need to assist your recovery with the exception of visits with your medical doctor and most diagnostic medical imaging. The Home Care team is comprised of a number of individual health care professionals all with the goal of promoting your smooth and complete recovery. It is usually done for a brief period of time but can continue for longer periods of time as your physician deems necessary.

So, who is on this Home Care team and what can you expect from them? The primary member of the Home Care team is the skilled nurse assigned to coordinate your care. In most cases, the skilled nurse will contact you within 24 hours of your referral. He or she will come to your home to evaluate your medical status, your home safety and your medications. They will follow you throughout your care to determine any ongoing needs and to insure you are satisfied with all the care you are receiving. The skilled nurse is your quarterback during your home care experience. In some cases, your doctor may determine that your situation does not require a skilled nurse. In this case, a member of the rehabilitation team will act as the coordinator of your care.

Other members of your Home care team may include a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a dietician, a Home Health aide, a phlebotomist and a medical social worker. The therapists will assist you in achieving maximum physical function by restoring your strength, endurance and safety with functioning in your home and eventually in the community. The dietician will assist you with determining a safe and effective food plan. The home health aide will assist you with your bathing and dressing until you can complete them on your own or with your family's assistance. The phlebotomist will perform blood work that your physician requires to evaluate your medical status at home. The medical social worker will help you identify resources for ongoing assistance for your long term care.

When you can safely leave your home your physician will be notified and you will be discharged to your own care or the care of your family. In some cases, you will be discharged from Home Care when you no longer progress significantly with the services provided. In general, Home Care functions to assist you to a level of recovery where you can function in your home and in the community safely.

Judi Meyer, Home Care Therapist, OSPTA @ Home, can be reached at judim15102@hotmail.com. For more information, visit www.osptainc.com/homecare.

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