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When is home health care appropriate?

Home health care is appropriate for acute medical conditions that need professional attention from a nurse or therapist (as opposed to an ongoing need for household help or personal care assistance - for this type of service, see Commonwealth Nursing Services). Home health care is for patients who have difficulty getting out of the house, and who need treatment and education. For example:

  • Recovering after surgery or a hospital stay
  • Healing after a serious injury
  • Coping with a major change in health
  • Receiving complex medical treatments, such as wound care or IV medications
  • Avoiding complications after childbirth
  • Learning how to successfully manage a chronic disease
  • Preventing frequent hospitalizations or emergency room services

Home health care is delivered to patients who are safe living at home. Home health care visits, services and staff are scheduled according to the patient's medical condition. A physician's referral and ongoing direction are necessary for home health care.