What is Home Health?

By: Misty Kevech, HHQI RN Project Coordinator

Medication ReviewWe know what Home Health is, but how do you describe what Home Health is to others?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) describes home health to the general public as, “Home health care is a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and is just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF).” The CMS document follows with some examples of services included, such as wound care, patient/caregiver education, etc.

Most people in the community do not know what home health is unless they have experienced the services first hand or with a close family member. The same statement is true of other health care providers including physicians. Yes, they may order or send referral information to home health, but most do not fully understand the value of home health and how this setting can reduce hospitalization, infections and other hospital acquired complications, let alone affect a person’s life.

A sentence in CMS’s one page explanation of home health states, “Home health care helps you get better, regain your independence, and become as self-sufficient as possible.” This statement draws us closer to explaining to others the value of home health. It is improving and stabilizing people’s lives to be able to stay at home and live their lives to their fullest based upon their health status and functional limitations.

As an industry, we have to share more about what home health is. One of the best ways to explain home health is through stories. It is also important to be armed with an “elevator speech or pitch”, which is a short, prepared speech that clearly and succinctly explains what your organization does. These speeches can be used in the community or when talking with your physician during a personal appointment – sharing who you are and what matters to you. Be prepared with a couple of great short stories (keeping HIPPA information out) to demonstrate what home health is and how it impacts lives. Keep it short and simple.

So I pose to you, how do you explain home health and the value it brings in a couple of sentences? Do you have a short story you can share? We would love to have you share your elevator speech and short stories on My HHQI’s Blog. (Please leave a comment at the bottom of My HHQI Blog) or on My HHQI on Facebook.

Together, let’s spread the true meaning of home health and the lives that are changed.

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