Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is home care?

A: Home care encompasses a wide range of healthcare and health support services administered within the patient’s home. Home care is a general term which applies to all types of health care provided within the patient’s home. Home care agencies provide a variety of services. In home nurses can provide assistance to people recovering from injury and illness, the disabled and those suffering from chronic and terminal illness.


Q: What is the benefit of choosing home care and home nursing?

A: The goal of home care and home nursing is to allow individuals to remain in their own homes even during times of medical challenges. In home nurses can help people avoid the use of residential, long-term, or institutional style nursing care facilities.


Q: What type of professionals provide home care?

A: Sometimes there is a distinction made between home care and home health care. Non-medical care, provided by caregivers, family members and friends is referred to as home care or custodial care. Medical care provided by in home nurses and medical personnel is considered home health care. Today, however, the term home care has evolved to mean both medical and non-medical care measures provided in the patient’s home.


Q: Who can benefit from home nursing and home care services?

A: Anytime a person needs ongoing care that can’t safely, easily or effectively be provided by family, friends or other lay-persons, the skills and expertise of an in home nurse may be necessary. Senior citizens, individuals recovering from acute injury, those adjusting to physical and mental disabilities and individuals with social challenges can all benefit from home nursing services. Additionally home nursing services can aid in recovery from surgery. Home nursing and home care services are frequently used in conjunction with Hospice to provide care at the end of life.


Q: Are home nursing services only for the extremely wealthy?

A: In today’s world, home nursing and home care services are a critical component of healthcare for individuals of all levels of income. There are agencies that provide high-quality and affordable home nursing services and in many cases home care costs are covered by insurance providers.


Q: How has the aging population affected the home care industry?

A: Home care can play a critical role in maintaining health and wellness within the senior population. Seniors are living longer lives today and nearly all seniors wish to remain in their own home for as long as possible. The services of a skilled, private-duty, in home nurse contribute to the ability of seniors to safely and healthily maintain independence in their home environment.


Q: How do I know if my insurance will cover home care services or visits from an in home, private duty nurse?

A: Insurance coverage varies greatly across companies and policies. The home care service provider will be able to assist you in determining which services are covered.


Q: What does it mean to be “home bound”?

A: To qualify as “home bound” patients typically have a condition or injury that greatly restricts their ability to leave the home unless they use an assistive device such as a wheelchair, walker, cane or crutches. Patients who cannot leave the home without the use of special transportation, without the assistance of another individual, or those for whom leaving the home is not medically advised also qualify for “home bound” accommodations in terms of home healthcare and in-home nursing services.


Q: My loved one is considered “home bound.” Does this mean he or she cannot leave the house at all?

A: No, “home bound” individuals do not necessarily have to remain in their homes at all times.  Individuals may leave their home occasionally for reasons such as attending church services, funerals, and other family functions while being driven by another person. “Home bound” patients can also leave home to attend licensed adult day care programs, and for medical treatments such as kidney dialysis, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and for outpatient physical and occupational therapeutic services.


Q: How can a home care nurse assist patients recovering from injuries which require physical rehabilitation?

A: Home nursing services are an ideal way to monitor healing and recovery specific to an injury that requires rehabilitation. When dealing with a physical injury home nursing care can ensure general health and wellness without the stress of leaving the house to visit the doctor’s office. In home nurses can also provide guidance and instruction on the use of mobility aids. Care of this type is usually implemented by a team of care providers under the skilled guidance of a nurse acting as a “care coordinator.”


Q: Can hospice services be arranged for individuals in the home setting?

A: Yes, many individuals who qualify for hospice care prefer to receive end-of-life support services in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.


Q: What type of care is provided by in home hospice nurses?

A: This type of home nursing care focuses on pain relief and symptom control for the patient. In home nurses also provide emotional and psychological support to the patient and their family members and coordinate other services such as those of home health aides, social workers, nutritional specialists and pastoral counselors.


Q: What types of services are provided by in home nurses?

A: Home care and home nursing provided by in-home nurses encompasses a wide range of healthcare and health support services administered within the patient’s home. In home nurses can provide assistance to people recovering from injury and illness, the disabled and those suffering from chronic and terminal illness. Patients in need of medical, nursing, social, and rehabilitation services, as well as those in need of assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) can benefit from home healthcare.


Q: What are activities of daily living?

A: Also referred to as ADL, activities of daily living include six tasks that can be used to measure and evaluate a patient’s ability to care for themselves. The six tasks are bathing, dressing, transferring, using bathroom facilities, eating and walking.


Q: What are instrumental activities of daily living?

A: Also referred to as IADL, instrumental activities of daily living include six tasks that can be used to measure and evaluate a patient’s ability to safely live independently in their community. The six tasks are light housework, meal preparation, taking necessary medications, shopping (for groceries and other essentials), basic financial management and the ability to use the telephone.


Q: Do in home nurses provide help with ADLs, IADLs or both?

A: In home, private duty nurses typically provide medical care. Individuals needing assistance with ADLs and/or IADLs may require the services of a home nurse to assist with their medical well-being. Home healthcare agencies will also provide caregiver or home health aide services for those who need help with IADLs and ADLs.


Q: Can an in home nurse help my family to better care for our ill relative?

A: Teaching is often a key component of the care plan created by nurses providing home care services, in fact there is an expectation that the patient and/or their caregivers will be taught self-care skills over the course of time in which home nursing services are provided. Patients who require teaching related to illness or injury until such time that they can provide self-care, or until family members or home health aides can safely and competently provide required medical type care are ideal candidates for home care services. In home nurses also provide community referrals to help patients and families.


Q: What kinds of things will an in home or private duty nurse typically do?

A: Examples of care provided by in home nurses include tracheotomy care, assistance with catheterization, nutritional counseling, guidelines on medication, leg wraps, wound care and dressing changes, diabetic care, colostomy care, IV therapy, blood draws, and supervisory visits. They are typically responsible for evaluating patient needs, formulating a plan of care, initiating and revising care plans, planning for and providing specialized nursing services, coordinating and implementing preventative and rehabilitative care modalities, and preparing clinical notes to provide physicians and others involved in the patient’s case.


Q: I am expecting a child. Can a home nurse help me during the postpartum period?

A: Yes, in home nurses support mothers during the early postnatal period and provide weight-checks and wellness evaluations on newborn babies.


Q: I really think my mother needs the services of an in home nurse. How can I go about finding a nurse who does home visits and provides home care?

A: The vast majority of in home nurses, private duty nurses, visiting nurses and home care workers are employed by home care agencies. Selecting a reputable, high quality home nursing or home care agency is the first step to enjoying the health benefits of home nursing.


Q: The doctor has recommended that we arrange home care services, including home nursing, for my father-in-law. We’re not sure what services we’ll need. How can we arrange this?

A: Agencies which specialize in the placement of in home nurses, visiting nurses, and home care have the staff necessary to coordinate care for all types of health needs. Upon intake, a plan of care will be formulated to provide for the individualized home care needs of your loved one.


Q: How do I know what home care agency to select?

A:  A talk with your doctor about what type of home care services are best for your individual needs can help you identify an agency that will suit your requirements.


Q: Is it difficult to find an in home nurse?

A: No, there are many agencies that offer home nursing services, however, finding the right home care agency does take a bit of work. You should spend time learning about the agencies in your area.


Q: What general types of questions should I ask prospective home care agencies?

A: Inquire about the services offered by the agency and ask for references. You should ask to see testimonials about the in home nurses and other home care providers employed by the agency.


Q: Will Medicare cover the costs of home care or home nursing?

A: In most cases, Medicare does cover these costs. The home care agency can help you to verify coverage.


Q: We’re trying to plan for the future. Is there any insurance we can purchase to help us in the event we require the services of a home care agency or need home nursing visits?

A: Yes, home health care insurance is available. Carefully consider policy coverage and costs before selecting a plan.


Q: What is hospice care?

A: Hospice care seeks to improve the quality of life of terminally ill individuals and their families. Hospice focuses on relieving symptoms of illness, as well as pain and suffering, rather than trying to cure the illness.


Q: What type of symptoms does hospice care address?

A: The symptoms addressed by in home nurses and others practicing hospice care may be physical, emotional, social, and spiritual.


Q: The doctor has recommended we begin hospice care for my aunt. I know that she will be most comfortable in her own home. Can we arrange for in home hospice care?

A: Yes, many home care agencies offer hospice care in-home. The treatments will be provided by in home nurses and a team of other home care professionals.


Q: What are the advantages of using in home nurses and visiting nurses to provide hospice care?

A: When hospice care is administered at home it allows the patient to live out their life in a familiar and comfortable environment. The combination of the hospice nurses palliative measures along with the familiarity and comforts provided by being in the home environment can greatly improve the quality of life for terminally ill patients.


Q: Is hospice care provided by in home nurses expensive?

A: Cost varies but hospice care provided by in home nurses and other home care professionals is usually covered by Medicare, and in many cases costs less than hospital based treatments for terminal illness.


Q: Our family is in shock and having a difficult time coping with the terminal diagnosis of our loved one. Can hospice home nurses help us?

A:  In home hospice nurses provide information and support to the patient’s family and friends. In home nurses providing hospice care can be a great help when dealing with the stress and sadness associated with terminal illness. When hospice care is initiated the needs of the family are addressed by the in home nurses and other home care providers.