When you think of your home health partners, do you think friend or foe?
We often hear that home health companies are the competition for senior housing at all levels, but do they have to be? Let’s talk about how your home health partners can help you!
First, what is home healthcare versus home care? These terms are sometimes used interchangeably or lumped together as home health, but there is a difference.
Home healthcare is skilled care provided in the home to help someone recover. This care is administered by healthcare professionals (e.g. nurses and physical, occupational, and speech therapists, etc.). The skilled care can include nursing services, physical therapy, wound care, and medication management among other medical services.
Home care is ongoing services provided to help seniors maintain their independence in the home. Services are typically delivered by non-medical professionals who assist with activities of daily living (ADLs), sitter services for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, errands outside of the home, housekeeping/laundry, and physical assistance as needed.
So how can you connect with your home health partners to establish a referral relationship?
Start thinking about the benefits of home health partnerships rather than the competitive side. True, senior housing and home health companies are often working with/for the same clients, but how can you work together?
Let’s think about some win/win scenarios:
- Residents can continue the relationships they have with home care providers, but still move into senior housing for additional support. If services such as laundry, errands, meals, etc. are not offered by your community, the home care provider can help supplement these services and still keep the stress off of family members.
- Residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s may need a sitter or extra one on one time with a home care provider in order to keep them in senior housing. Even in a higher level of care such as a specialized memory neighborhood or skilled nursing facility, one on one care may be required at times.
- Respite stays after surgery are an option in senior housing and home healthcare skilled services can provide the therapy and nursing care needed while in a community setting. These services can also be provided to residents already in senior housing that do not want to go to a rehab and have the approval of their physician to go home with home healthcare.
- Residents in senior housing that have a complex medical need such as a wound, diabetic management, or catheter care can continue to stay in their senior housing home with the supplement of home healthcare to provide the nursing oversight of their care.
These are a few examples of how your home health partners can help keep residents in senior housing as well as make referrals to you. Remember, home health providers are in seniors’ homes all of the time and they know who needs more help and who would benefit from senior housing options. Make sure you are helping your home health partners understand how you can refer to each other and where the win/win is in the relationship.
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