As an integrated component and continuum of healthcare, home care ensures that patients who are discharged from the hospital due to acute disease, injury or surgery get sufficient medical attention and treatment at home. The skilled nursing services and physician visits provided in the comfort of your residence ensures that there are no gaps in the care services rendered to avoid rehospitalisation and illness relapse.
Home Care services are specifically tailored to the need of the patients and focus on paying individual and undivided attention to provide better treatment options. It is provided by a comprehensive team of doctors, nurses, therapists for occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy, paramedics, personal care attendants, trained social workers and healthcare professionals. This team not only works to cater to the patient’s existing problems but also monitors their overall parameters to quickly identify and prevent potential clinical issues which can cause hospital re-admissions. Research reveals that proper home healthcare services produce better healthcare outcomes and reduce the need for rehospitalization by as much as 25%!
The need for home care has risen largely because many patients wish to get discharged faster and recuperate at home in an atmosphere that is more familiar to them and under the company of their family members and friends. This actually expedites the recovery and healing process by boosting their mental health. Home care also provides high quality and reliable care services in a low-cost setting making healthcare accessible to one and all.
A multi-disciplinary team involved in home care ensures that the patient is assessed frequently and monitored closely for all probable health risks. These teams also co-ordinate well with the primary care physician and other specialists as per the patient’s clinical requirements. Due to the digitization of healthcare records and the advancement of healthcare technologies, doctors are now able to access patient information in real-time. This ensures that treatment is dispensed immediately without delay thereby eliminating fatalities and permanent impairments to a large extent.
Drivers for Home Care
Home Care is gaining momentum worldwide including in developing countries like India. Though this market is nascent here currently, it is expected to grow wider as in other countries where nearly 80% on non-emergency care and treatment may be delivered at home. One of the main reasons for the demand for home care services is the evolving clinical and social settings and the emerging expectations of patients and their families. Other drivers for this are-
- Better Continuum of Care – There is a strong need for high standard post-operative and post-hospitalization care to enhance patient recovery and treatment success rates after medical intervention and surgical procedures. Additionally, several non-communicable diseases are chronic in nature and call for long-term attention with close monitoring and periodic interventions to keep them under control.
- Limited Family Support – With the increased number of nuclear families, employment of family members and changing lifestyles and priorities, care and support for the elders have become tedious. There is also greater urbanization and international migration calling for an alternative medical support system in the form of home care services.
- Increased expectations on Quality of Life – Patients today not only look forward to better treatment routes and longevity of life but also expect a better quality of life in a pleasant and healing ambiance. Home care facilities this by providing improved symptom management in known settings. Besides, in the case of palliative care for life-threatening diseases, rather than aggressive medical interventions and complex medical treatments, home care provides a more healing and comforting atmosphere.
- Changing Mindset – Just like other sectors, healthcare services have assumed a new dimension with changing consumer mindset. Now, patients want greater accessibility and quicker responses to health problems at a place of convenience like a home rather than making cumbersome hospital visits.
- Expanding Senior Population – The ever-growing older population and their healthcare needs calls for improved geriatric home care services with greater patient-centric and preventive healthcare facilities.
Advantages of Home Care
- Ensures better healthcare accessibility and reduces the wide supply-demand gap prevailing in healthcare systems.
- Reduces the overall duration of hospitalization and also rehospitalization rates.
- Reduces the risk of hospital-acquired infections and other such adverse events thereby improving patient safety.
- Facilitates proper utilization of existing bed capacity and occupancy in hospitals and nursing homes.
- Provides a boost to the care continuum by delivering quality and cost-effective care at the doorstep and significantly reduces treatment costs and other related overheads.
- Allows better usage of hospital beds and medical equipment to patients who are really in need like critically ill people who need life-support systems.
- Utilizes advancements in medical technology like telemedicine, telehealth, interconnectivity of assistive devices and real-time health monitoring and integration with medical electronics to deliver affordable care services.
- Supports extended management of lifestyle and chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension and long-term rehabilitation after injury and stroke.
- Incorporates customized treatment plans for patients in consultation with their doctors through protocol led systems to promote quick recovery of patients.
Thus home care provides a convenient means of receiving care services at reasonable rates in a familiar and friendly setting rather than an unfamiliar environment of a healthcare facility!