Home Health Care in the United States

Terminologically, one can define the notion of home health care as domiciliary medical attendance. The main goal of it is to enhance the patients’ self-sustainment and health-related quality of life (Rowles and Teaster 118). The concept of home health care dates back as far as the first midwives offered their services to women in labor. However, the path-breaking programs of state-approved home health care appeared in the late 19th century. During the Progressive Era, the caregiving has developed to roughly the same algorithm as it is known today (Rowles and Teaster 116). It is primarily aimed at providing skilled medical support to elderly patients and those physically challenged.

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The caregiving services are funded by various institutions, including the states and the federation. The agencies presenting such services can be either state-owned or private, conducting therapeutic services or functioning as hospices. State-owned organizations are to be certified, and the range of services they offer is limited, whereas private ones can render medical or non-medical services on a larger scale. The National Research Council asserts that caregiving at home should include prophylactic treatment, periodic or continuous care, and supporting the terminally ill (14).

Home-based care can be provided to those financially and medically indigent regardless of their age, race, gender, or the type of disease they have. Yet, nowadays, this field of medicine faces the aging of the population, which is why home health care is required largely by senior citizens. According to the 2007 statistics over the USA, the majority of patients tended to be elderly white females diagnosed with diabetes (Caffrey et al. 3). Nevertheless, the home caregiving sector does not limit the services to treating diabetes, since skilled therapy and nursing are also eagerly sought for.

Home health care organizations develop new methods and approaches that in the end tend to prove efficient. Treatment programs are coordinated, telemedical services are adopted, and the outcomes are strictly monitored (Parker et al. 26). However, there are still areas that need to be enhanced. There is the issue of inappropriate medicaments given to patients either because of the caregivers’ lack of skill or as a result of an indeterminate diagnosis. It is stated in the research by Bao et al. that, in 2007, more than a third of home health care users across the US were given wrong medicines (305). In spite of the agencies’ safety policies to prevent the case, stricter control and monitoring is needed as well.

Another problem is related to the cost of the services and the reliability of the whole program. Some agencies are concerned with the price increase caused by inflation and are not entirely sure the treatment will be affordable to the major part of their patients in the nearest future. Intending to provide the patients with highest-quality health care services at a fair price, the policymakers are currently conducting research on the issue. The main aim of it is to calculate the possible strategy regarding the future of the whole medical sector (Lee and Schiller 86).

Thus, home health care services are intended for treating those unable to be hospitalized or treated outpatiently. The range of services provided by home health care agencies is broad, and the service standards are high. However, this field still needs developing, considering the inflation-driven increase of prices and the necessity to hire qualified specialists. If the development results in the enhancement of the home health care policies, the outcome will be millions of people with a normal life quality on the global scale.

Works Cited

Bao, Yuhua, Huibo Shao, Tara F. Bishop, Bruce R. Schackman, and Martha L. Bruce. “Inappropriate Medication in a National Sample of US Elderly Patients Receiving Home Health Care.” Journal of General Internal Medicine, 27.3 (2012): 304-310. Print.

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Caffrey, Christine, Manisha Sengupta, Abigail Moss, Lauren Harris-Kojetin, and Roberto Valverde. “Division of Health Care Statistics Home Health Care and Discharged Hospice Care Patients: United States, 2000 and 2007.” National Health Statistics Reports. 38 (2011):1-27. Europe PubMed Central. Web.

Lee, Teresa, and Jennifer Schiller. “The Future of Home Health Project: Developing the Framework for Health Care at Home.” Home Healthcare Now, 33.2 (2015): 84-87. Print.

National Research Council. Health Care Comes Home: The Human Factors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011. Print.

Parker, Emil, Stephanie Zimmerman, Sally Rodriguez, and Teresa Lee. “Exploring Best Practices in Home Health Care: A Review of Available Evidence on Select Innovations.” Home Health Care Management Practice 1.26 (2014): 17-33. Print.

Rowles, Graham D., and Pamela B. Teaster. Long-Term Care In An Aging Society, New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2015. Print.

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