Q:

How do Medicare patients qualify for home-health help?

A:

Quick Answer

Medicare patients enrolled in Medicare Part A hospital insurance or Medicare Part B medicine insurance are eligible for home-health help, reports Medicare. A doctor from a Medicare-certified agency must confirm that a patient is homebound and establish a regular plan of care for patients to qualify for home-health services.

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Full Answer

A doctor from a Medicare-certified agency must also certify the patient's need for services, such as intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech-language therapy, according to Medicare. The amount of time needed for therapeutic services must be reasonable, and recovery must be evident in a predicted time frame. Patients who need more than part-time care do not qualify for home health services. Medicare does not cover fulltime home care, delivered meals, performance of household chores or daily personal care.

Health care covered by home health services includes injections, care of surgical wounds and pressure sores, monitoring unstable health, nutritional therapy or intravenous feeding, and caregiver and patient education, as reported by Medicare. Home health care providers monitor temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and nutritional intake. They also ensure the patient takes prescription drugs correctly and on schedule and monitor the patient's home safety. Home health agencies coordinate communication between the patient, the patient's doctor and other health care providers. The aim of home health services is to improve a patient's condition and restore independence.

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