In the 1950’s the average American lived to be 68. Thanks to medical breakthroughs and advances the average American can now expect to live to be 78. This increased life expectancy coupled with the fact that the baby boomers are beginning to enter their “golden years” is a growing concern among the medical community. The aging baby boomers will require more medical attention, will make up a greater proportion of hospital patients, and will have more demands and expectations of the health care system. Yet, the number of doctors and nurses can not increase at the same rate as these demands nor can the capacity or capability of hospitals. Due to the growing imbalance of supply and demand of the health care system, home health care has become an increasingly popular option.
Home health care allows patients to receive the necessary care in the comfort of their own home by trained professionals. It reduces hospitalization time and opens more beds in the hospitals. Both patients and their families benefit from home care and it reduces the strain put on the hospitals. The services provided by home caregivers are diverse and are suited to match the patient’s needs. Home caregivers do more than tend to the medical needs of the patient. They can help with housekeeping, cleaning, washing/ bathing, transportation to appointments, and any other duties that help the patient return to a level of independence.
Patients prefer the comfort of their home to the impersonal sterile hospital environment. They also recuperate better and faster in familiar home settings. Patients develop a more meaningful relationship with their home caregiver that is not possible in a hospital setting. This relationship provides the patient with a sense of security that can aid in the recovery process. Many elderly patients are resistant to moving into nursing homes or assisted living centers because they feel like they are giving up their freedom; home caregivers are the perfect solution for individuals who need assistance but do not want to lose the independence living in their own home gives them.
Home caregivers help more than just the patient; they give the families of patients the security of knowing their loved one is being taken care of. Illness of or the assistance required by an elderly relative or parent can be both stressful and overwhelming. Families do not have to worry about whether or not their loved one is eating properly or taking their medication when a home caregiver is hired. Nor do they have to worry about if their loved one is lonely or feeling isolated. Home caregivers provide companionship to their patients and help them stay connected to the world.
Patients, families, and hospitals all prefer home health care to long hospital stays. It gives patients more personalized care and lessens the stress put on families. Home health care is usually cheaper for the patient and more cost effective for the hospital. As a result of the strain the baby boomers are putting on the health care system, the home health care industry is booming. In light of all the benefits home health care offers, one has to wonder why it has taken so long to catch on.
About the Author: Erika Christenson is a Staff Writer with the Clear Medical Solutions Communication Team. Her work is regularly shared on the Clear Medical Agency newsletter and the ClearNursingMatters.com blog.
“The Benefits of Using Home Health Care” http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Benefits-of-Using-Home-Health-Care&id=1892252
AHA: Press Release: “Baby Boomers to Challenge and Change Tomorrow’s Health Care System” http://www.aha.org/aha/press-release/2007/070508-pr-boomers.html