The term “health care” might bring to mind images of doctors and nurses in sterile clinics and hospitals. Seldom do people think about home health care as a thriving and growing industry. Thousands of people chose to remain at home to receive medical treatments such as rehabilitation services, respiratory therapy and home infusion therapy as well as unskilled home care services. Patients prefer this model because of the convenience and cost-effectiveness that it offers.
Everyone knows health care costs are on the rise, people are living longer and aging baby boomers are putting a greater demand on the health care industry. The elderly are among a large portion of recipients of home health care, but infants and young children who have been under the care of hospital staff can be transferred home to recover from illnesses. A home health care market report saysÂ the home health care market will grow nearly 8 percent between 2011 and 2016 because of rising costs of in-hospital care.
Significant Cost Savings
Home health care is up to 19 percent less expensive than traditional in-hospital care, according to The Atlantic. The Children’s Hospital in Boston created and ran a program called Community Asthma Initiative as a way to help low-income families address the issues associated with asthma. As part of the program, a trained health care professional visited the home of each participant to find and eliminate triggers of asthma attacks. The health care worker taught each family to manage asthma by maintaining a clean, dust-free environment.
While the program costs $2,825 per child, the savings came in at $3,827 per child. Essentially, the program more than paid for itself by reducing the number of hospitalizations and ER visits for each child. The number of missed school days went down by 41 percent, while the number of the parents’ missed workdays was reduced by 50 percent.
Medicines and Supplies Are Cheaper
Hospitals aren’t necessarily known for the cheap medicines and supplies that they offer; everything comes with a high mark-up. As home health care picks up, more companies are trying to get their share of the market. They are offering low-cost medical supplies, delivered right to the patients’ homes. Customers can find these companies online. One such company, 1-800Contacts offers a 1800contacts coupon that customers can use to get their prescriptions delivered right to their front door at reduced prices. Cigna reports that customers can save as much as 33 percent by using home delivery pharmacies.
Not only are customers saving money, but they are also saving time by not having to go to the store and wait for their prescription to be filled. Additionally, the companies are saving money using this business model as they aren’t having to rent and staff store fronts.
Comfort and Convenience
Depending on the patient’s situation, a nurse or caregiver may be present 24 hours a day or stop in a few times daily to administer medicines or treatments. For those who need infrequent care, it’s nice for them to be able to go about their day without making trips to the hospital to receive their treatments. In the case of infants who need round-the-clock care, mom and dad will feel much better knowing that their baby, while under the watchful eye of a nurse, is sleeping in his own crib at home.
For those receiving long-term care at home, being in familiar surrounding with loved ones is important to their healing and mental well-being. They can stay near to family and friends who make up an important support network. If they have pets, patients can continue to look after their furry friends. “News In Health” reports that having a four-legged friend does wonders for a patient’s recovery. While research in this area is ongoing, a study of 421 people who had heart attacks reported that those with dogs had higher chances of being alive one year later.
Unlike hospitals, homes do not have visiting hours, which makes it easier for patients to maintain contact with their social circles. Friends and relatives can stop by with a home-cooked meal whenever they have the time. Remaining in isolation in the hospital is not good for patient morale. Many senior citizens are living alone and are in great need of companionship. Depression is a serious issue, and when a person remains at home, there is a lower chance of suffering from the illness since they are around neighbors and care givers who give them one-on-one attention.
Better Recovery Rates
MedPage Today reports that hospital patients receive care for 1.2 days more than those who are treated at home. Home care patients experience fewer falls. They also have a lower mortality rate than their hospital treated counterparts. For elderly patients, the thirty-day readmission rates did remain stable. Also, since they are exposed to fewer people, at home patients will contract fewer unrelated illnesses while receiving care.
At home, patients usually have the freedom to walk around and maintain a moderate level of physical activity, which will aid in their recovery. They also have better hygiene which cuts down on other illnesses that may pop up during a hospital stay.
So, it turns out that Dorothy was right: There’s no place like homeâ€”especially when it comes to getting less expensive health care. Of course, many procedures can’t be done outside of a hospital, but for those that can, expect to see more and more patients head home to receive their medical care in the coming years. Being treated at home not only saves money, but also helps the patient to feel more comfortable and recover faster.