Home care is more commonly known as personal care, health care or inpatient care offered by an external professional caregiver within the person’s personal home rather than medical care offered in nursing homes or group facilities such as clinics. The caregiver provides personal care services to patients who cannot provide it on their own. Sometimes the services include helping with meal preparation, shopping and hygiene.
The primary focus of home health and personal care services is to enhance the quality of life for patients who require assistance to perform activities of daily living. This may include helping to dress, bathing and exercising; but also involves helping the patient avoid potential falls and accidents. Home care involves monitoring and correcting the activities of the patient so they are not injured. These services also include preparing meals for the patient and making sure he has a comfortable environment in which to sleep. Ensuring the safety of the patient is of the utmost importance and part of the overall quality-improvement process.
As stated previously, the practice of home health care involves the implementation of many different strategies throughout the patient’s entire home health care setting. However, there are certain key issues that need to be addressed as well. Within the overall patient autonomy concept is a concern for quality improvement. This would include evaluating current practices and strategies to ensure that they are effective, using the best practices available and improving upon those that are currently ineffective.
One of the biggest issues that face home health care patients and their families is the issue of patient safety and the prevention of falls. It is important for caregivers to recognize the risk factors for falling. These include obesity, aging and chronic illness. Therefore, it is important to implement strategies that address these issues. A great example of this is the development of a coordinated weight-reduction plan for patients in the home health care setting.
There is a literature review that indicates that approximately one in five people who experience an unexpected hospital admission do not make a complete recovery. Furthermore, studies indicate that a significant number of these patients will experience additional falls. Due to this high incidence of falls, home health agencies have developed policies that require providers to establish a physical presence in order to monitor the levels of physical activity of their patients. In addition to this requirement, there are policies that require providers to provide instruction in emergency procedures and first aid techniques. The goal of these policies is to create a higher level of safety for both the patient and the caregiver.
A systematic review published by researchers in Emory University School of Nursing found that the most common mistake made by caregivers was not providing consistent and appropriate information regarding methods for fall prevention. The majority of these providers did not have clear evidence related to the methods they recommended to their patients. This lack of evidence may be the result of either incomplete or inaccurate information. According to the evidence based practice implications of evidence, it is important for agencies that provide home health care to implement policies that require consistent and appropriate information dissemination. The evidence provided may also influence policy makers to develop preventative measures that effectively reduce the risk factors associated with falling.