Written by Carmen Santana-Restituyo
June 28, 2010
The elderly and people with a physical disability can receive treatment at home. This help can be sponsored by the government. These services may be covered by Medicaid, Medicare, secondary insurance, and or private insurance. Being older is no reason to qualify for these benefits. In New York, customers who wish to apply for such benefits must have a medical condition, be it temporary or chronic.
Several of the programs available provide Immediate Assistance for brief illness that estimates the customer will recover within eight weeks or less. This program is known as services of Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA). For these clients the services are paid for by Medicare. Services available include a nurse to assess the client, therapy services such as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, social worker, and a home aide to help clients with personal and domestic chores. The services provided by nurses include physical assessment, dressing of the client, injections, administering medication, intermittent catheterization and any other service that is authorized by the bylaws of the medical and nursing profession. If there is a change in the physical condition of the client, and it is determined that these services are to continue, there must be a reevaluation and permission must be granted from the client's physician.
After completion of the specified time for this type of service and if the customer is a recipient of Medicaid benefits, there are several options. The first is long-term service (Long Term Home Health Care Program). This program is for clients who suffer from a chronic disease and will never recover completely. The client will also need assistance at home for personal and domestic chores. The services are identical to the CHHA except that these services are offered to the client until his/her physical condition deteriorates, the client dies or no longer desires the services. The second option is to receive support services from the city’s Home Attendant Program. This service does not provide a continuous assessment nurse or any of the support services mentioned. On the other hand, it does provide an attendant to assist with daily household chores, though this does not include assistance with the personal care of the client. The nurse in charge or the client’s personal physician determines the continuation of service. The right program can be chosen once assessment of the client has taken place.
Knowing the services at one’s disposal is the first step in obtaining them. Clients should not be afraid to ask for help they really need it. If you are not sure, check with your doctor to find out what is the best option for you.
If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to call me at 718-567-2614, Monday through Friday 8:30am-4:00pm.
Written by Carmen Santana-Restituyo, RN, BSN, nurse by profession. Manager and program director of Health House of Hamilton Park in Bklyn, NY.