Historically, health care in the United States has functioned by addressing crisis. For older adults, that may mean hospitalization due to illness, a chronic health condition, or a fall. Unfortunately, once a senior enters the hospital for treatment, a cycle of readmission can ensue, with patients getting better and being discharged, only to return with a complication, or similar issue.
But what if there were a way to approach health care from a preventative mindset that could help break the readmission cycle: a long-established approach that could be utilized by nearly anyone and that addressed a patient’s physical health as well as his or her lifestyle to help create a safe and beneficial environment?
In-home care for seniors is just such an approach to preventative health care. As Matt Hansen, DPT, General Manager of Homespire Health, a new Intermountain Healthcare Companyand owner of Soma Health, LLC, points out that in a traditional clinic or hospital setting, the health care professional is only able to address the health crisis based upon the information the patient provides, and after discharge, a patient may not be seen again. In-home care helps break the cycle of health issues by looking at the situation holistically, and most importantly, the individual is able to recover and remain in the comfort of home.
When we choose home care, caregivers not only address an immediate health need, but they can see and work to remedy factors that may contribute to and precipitate readmission. For example, if the individual is diabetic, the caregiver can observe the types of foods kept in the home and address unhealthy eating habits. If the individual is recovering from a fall, the caregiver can address basic safety around the house like eliminating throw rugs, adding grab bars, and repositioning furniture to help make navigating the house safer.
Professional in-home caregivers from an agency oftentimes supplement the caregiving provided by family members. According to Hansen, it’s important to have a frank conversation with your senior loved one to let him or her know the level of care you are able to provide, taking into consideration your own health as well as any commitments you have to children still living at home.
As Hansen points out, as wonderful and as rewarding as caring for a loved one can be, it can be challenging and involve tasks that you may not be comfortable performing. He recommends thinking about time-consuming caregiving tasks and considering what type of meaningful interaction you and your loved one could do instead, if an outside caregiving agency provided supplemental care. Would you engage in a favorite hobby? Have a meal with friends at a local restaurant? Reminisce and record memories?
A driving principal for Hansen within the home care industry is the 7 essential elements of wellbeing, developed by Homespire. These are the essential areas people need to live life to the fullest and are utilized as a guide in creating a plan of care. They are:
- Health and wellness
- Home and safety
- Personal identity
- Social supports
- Thinking and memory
- Purpose and passion
Hansen believes purpose and passion are the most critical components of an in-home care plan because when caregivers understand what sparks an individual’s passion, they can help the senior remain safely at home and engaged in life.
To learn more about in-home care as preventative health care, listen to the full episode featuring Matt Hansen in the Help Choose Home podcast series by searching for “Help Choose Home” on iTunes, Google, or on any device at https://player.fm/series/help-choose-home.
The Help Choose Home podcast series is a joint effort between the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), Axxess, and corecubed. The vision is to provide information and resources to help those with a care need learn more about healthcare at home. Podcasts are hosted by Merrily Orsini, president and CEO of corecubed, a firm dedicated exclusively to elder care marketing.