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Home Healthcare Overview

Picture of elderly woman and younger woman holding hands

What is home healthcare?

Before modern medicine, caring for someone medically in the home was quite common, and hospitalization was rare. Today, with a growing trend toward reduced hospital stays, home healthcare is gaining in popularity. While caregivers of the past were generally family members or friends, home healthcare today usually consists of a professional healthcare team working toward a common goal.

Today home healthcare may be considered for patients who are:

  • Recovering from an illness

  • Undergoing treatment

  • Disabled

  • Chronically ill

  • Terminally ill

Home healthcare is not a choice for everyone. Generally, the patient receiving care or treatment at home must be well enough to be cared for in the home setting.

Types of home healthcare services

Many types of medical and social home healthcare services are available and may include:

  • Healthcare provider care

  • Nursing care

  • Physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy

  • Medical social services

  • Care from home health aides

  • Homemaker or attendant care

  • Companionship

  • Volunteer care

  • Nutritional support

  • Medical equipment and supplies

  • Laboratory and X-ray imaging

  • Pharmaceutical services

  • Transportation

  • Home-delivered meals

A patient may receive 1 of these services or a combination of several services.

Who provides home healthcare services?

Various agencies and other companies provide home healthcare, including:

  • Home health agencies

  • Homemaker and home care aide agencies

  • Pharmaceutical and infusion therapy companies

  • Durable medical equipment and supply dealers

  • Staffing registries and private duty agencies

  • Independent providers

Online Medical Reviewer: Buslovich, Steven, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Taylor, Wanda, RN, Ph.D.
Date Last Reviewed: 5/23/2015
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