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Home health FAQs

The following is a list of frequently asked questions about our home health program. If you have additional questions or want to schedule a free consultation, call 541.274.6293.

How do I know if I am eligible?

You must be deemed "homebound" to receive services. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services defines homebound as being "difficult and taxing to leave the home." If someone calls and thinks they might be eligible for home health, we call their provider. If the provider states that the patient is indeed homebound, then we work with the patient and their family to get them the in-home care they need. Our services are available to clients who live in Oregon within 33 miles of Klamath Falls.

How much does home care cost?

Home health cost is free as long as the patient is considered homebound. Medicare covers the costs for in-home care at 100 percent. We work with all of the major insurance companies as well. Depending on the type of insurance, there might be a co-pay. For non-Medicare patients, two months of home health service typically costs between $200 and $300.

What types of conditions do home care services treat?

The top four conditions home health patients are experiencing are congestive heart failure, diabetes, cancer, and wound care. But we provide care for procedures such as catheter care, education, disease management and prevention, medication, diet, and self-monitoring techniques, speech and physical therapy, exercise, home safety evaluations, occupational therapy, and medical social work.

How do I apply for in-home healthcare?

All you need to do is call Sky Lakes Home Health for a free consultation and be prepared to have your provider validate the need for in-home care at 541.274.6293.

Who is on the in-home care team?

The home healthcare team consists of highly trained and compassionate nurses, therapists and aides, who are all CPR certified. They fall into the following categories:

  • Nursing—for procedures such as wound care, catheter care, education on disease management/prevention, medication, diet, and self-monitoring techniques.
  • Therapy—physical therapy and speech therapy for rehabilitation, home exercise programs and home safety evaluations.
  • Occupational therapy—assistance with activities of daily living (ADL's), assistive devices.
  • Home care aides—for personal care.
  • Medical social work—for community resources and economic and emotional problems.

A typical team of caregivers could be two nurses, a licensed practical nurse and a home care aid.

What is their experience?

We believe in ongoing education with our nurses. All our staff have at least three years of nursing experience before they come to home health.

It’s imperative that our in-home health caregivers have experience in the acute care setting, which helps inform their independent decision making.

Will I have the same care team each visit?

We try, but it depends on the availability of the staff that day. Home healthcare aims to work in teams related to a geographical area.

How do you help a patient coordinate care?

Our admission nurses work with patients to schedule convenient in-home healthcare visits, such as provider's appointments and bathing, as well as coordinate with licensed practical nurses, home care aid and therapy.

How are provider visits handled?

For insurance reasons, we are not allowed to transport a patient to a provider. Instead, home healthcare brings the provider to the patient via the phone. If there is an issue or change in the patient's condition, we call the provider to receive new orders to institute them in the home. Home health can draw labs in the home as well as take them to the hospital to be processed. The patient does not need to leave the house. In the case of therapeutic testing, where we can get results right away, we will call the doctor from the home and make the necessary adjustments.

What are some of the benefits of in-home care?

In-home care can stop things before they progress to needing emergency care. For example, a person with diabetes might have a blood sugar reading out of the normal range, but may think it's normal. With home healthcare, we can report symptoms to the provider and institute a change if the provider orders. Or, in the case where we find the blood sugar to be alarmingly high, we can coordinate transportation to the emergency room if necessary.

What is a typical visit?

Our visits are based on each patient's needs, so there is no format that limits the number of visits. Home health visits typically last about an hour, with two to three visits per week, depending on the admission diagnosis. In some instances we are there five days a week, but that's not normal for more than two weeks at a time.

How can I refer a friend or family member for home health?

Most of the time we're contacted via a referral source through a physician who has discharged the patient from the hospital. We also receive some inquiries for our private division, usually when someone is looking to take care of a loved one in their home.

Typically who are your first referrals?

Our intake nurse makes discharge rounds every day at the hospital, working with patients who need in-home healthcare. The nurse will talk to the patients while they are in the hospital and introduce in-home care, explaining our services and informing them that we will be calling as soon as they are discharged. The physicians at the hospital also tell us who might be a candidate for home health.

What services does home health provide?

We offer skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, a medical social worker, and home care aides who can help with bathing and similar services.

What are the benefits of having home health?

Our nurses do not diagnose; rather they report symptoms. We bring the doctor to the patient via the phone. If in-home care staff notice a change in the patient's condition, we call the provider right away, noting the details. Given the vital signs, and our in-person assessment, the provider can make recommendations to change a patient's medication or care regimen.

How does home health help prevent conditions from deteriorating further?

One of the major problems that patients run into is that they start feeling bad, or experience a seemingly innocuous symptom like weight gain. They call their physician but they can only get in for an office visit in two weeks. By the time they get to see the physician, the symptoms have progressed to the point where they may need to be admitted to the hospital. In-home health care can help stop the symptoms from progressing that far.

How does home health manage my medications?

This is one of the most important things we do. In-home health caregivers can alert the patient's physician if they feel that it is necessary to amend their medication. The home care nurse has the patient's information with them on a computer and can relay the information to the doctor, who might not have all the information in front of them. At the direction of the patient's physician, the home health nurse can help the patient adjust dosages, change their medication box and help them apply the corrected doses.

Does a call from home health get more authority on behalf of the patient?

Yes. Often when patients call their provider they aren't specific about their issues. A home health nurse can give the doctor meaningful and useful data. The provider can then ask questions and get objective information back from the nurse. The caregiver is right there with the patient, with their information on the computer.

How easy is the admission process?

To get started, all you need to do is call home health and be prepared to have your doctor validate the need for in-home care. Once we have word from the doctor, our goal is to be in the home within 48 hours.

The admission process is relatively easy. It takes about three hours—about half of that is reviewing and signing consents for treatment and safety evaluations, the remainder is a head-to-toe assessment and medication review.

Who are home health's main referral sources?

Providers who practice in the hospital; their offices; the Sky Lakes rehab facility; and Marquis Care at Plum Ridge, the long-term care facility. We also hear from patients' family members. Our intake nurses make discharge rounds every day at the hospital, working with patients who need in-home healthcare. Those nurses talk to the patients and introduce home health and its services, and let them know we’ll be calling them as soon as they are discharged.

The private division: In-home care vs. home health

The private division deals more with certified personnel—individuals who are passionate about their work. They are not licensed. The private division is strictly a pay-for-need service. You pay hourly for respite care or for someone to come to your house to do minor housekeeping, look after your pets, help you with a bath, go grocery shopping and the like. In-home care service is for people who don't have significant healthcare issues, but just need help around the house.

Respite care

Sometimes family members need to go out of town for the weekend. In this case, respite caregivers will spend the night with the patient so the family knows the patient is not alone.

What is the difference between licensed care and unlicensed care?

The delineation between licensed and unlicensed care is touch. Touching the patient, or assisting with bathing, requires a certified nursing assistant (CNA).

How can I request private care?

Just call our office, 541.274.6293. No referral is needed. No contact with a doctor is needed.

What are some of the more common requests for private care?

People want to know what we can do for them, our availability, how soon we can come and visit, and the home health cost. Private care is very flexible and fluid. It's not regulated. No physician orders are needed. You don't have to be homebound. There are no restrictions. It's as simple as recognizing there is a need for somebody to be with you or with your loved one for a few hours.

Is private care covered by Medicare?

No. There are some long-term private insurances that cover some services, but typically it's considered "not skilled," so no nurses or therapists are needed.

How much does private care/caregiver relief cost?

Home health cost is billed on an hourly basis at $18.50/hour. Admission is $65 and then a base rate of $18.50/hour.

What if I don't have significant health issues? Can I still have in-home care?

Yes. We are here to help. We admit patients who are strictly physical therapy patients. Many people think they need to be diagnosed with a chronic disease to qualify for home healthcare, but you can be a patient recovering from a joint replacement who is experiencing a slow recovery. Or, you are a patient that can't leave the house due to icy or snowy winter conditions. We have occupational therapists for patients who fit the in-home healthcare status requirement.

What are the services of an occupational therapist?

Occupational therapists are called in to help patients who aren't as mobile as they could be. We teach patients how to get dressed, wash their clothes, make their bed, clean the dishes and the like.

How available are you?

We are here 24/7/365. We're just a phone call away, no matter what time of day or night it is.

To learn more about how Sky Lakes Home Health can help you, call 541.274.6293.

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Contact us

All services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a two-hour minimum. To learn more about Sky Lakes Home Health, call 541.274.6293.

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The Sky Lakes Medical Center website offers general information and is not intended to provide medical advice for individuals. The website’s Contact Us email service helps users get answers to general questions about programs and services.

For inquiries related to personal health conditions, seek advice from your physician. Sky Lakes patients can communicate securely with their physician's office through the MyChart patient portal.

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