When you’re in need of medical care, there are a few avenues you can take to get it. Which route you take often depends on your current situation. For minor issues that should be noted and looked at but don’t require immediate attention, many people will simply make an appointment with their primary physician. For acute issues that require some level of intervention but are not a threat to life, limb, or eyesight, you may choose to either stop by an urgent care clinic or the emergency room. Obviously, for a medical emergency, you should always go straight to the emergency room to be seen immediately. One of the newer avenues of care becoming available is hospital-at-home care.
What is Hospital-at-Home?
Hospital-at-Home, often abbreviated as HaH, is a newer service that is being rolled out by select hospitals around the country. It allows some patients to receive the necessary care from licensed and trained professionals while they remain in their own homes. Staff are provided by the hospital, so you still get quality care without needing to stay as an in-patient.
What are the benefits?
The benefits are numerous for both the patient and the hospital that is running the program. This frees up a bed in the hospital, allowing more space for the patients that need emergency and intensive care. It also lowers the workload for on-site staff.
For the patient, it allows them the opportunity to avoid a hospital stay when it isn’t completely necessary while still receiving expert care in the comfort of their own home. Hospitals are incredible facilities that serve an important need when it comes to emergency healthcare, but if you have an acute condition that doesn’t require emergency care, the hospital can actually be more of a burden than anything. Hospital-based infections are one of the bigger problems that patients have to contend with when they are admitted. These services can also be helpful for other vulnerable populations, such as young children and those who are immunocompromised due to a medical condition.
For the elderly, a hospital stay can be a serious issue due to the decreased ability to fight off infections. Many hospitals are still struggling to find enough beds for all of their patients as it is, making it more likely that even the elderly will be forced to have a roommate. This is an uncomfortable situation when you’re already not feeling well and want some privacy, but it also raises the risk of a secondary infection that could actually leave you sicker than you were initially. Hospital-at-Home mitigates this risk and leaves you to enjoy the privacy and comfort of your own space, which is also beneficial for mental health.
Currently, Medicare reimbursement for HaH care is done at the same rate as inpatient care, which makes it the perfect option for many aging patients who do not want to risk a hospital stay. The state of emergency ends on May 11th, but according to the AARP, these benefits have been extended through 2024. In the meantime, we will hopefully continue to see hospitals develop this important program.
What are the drawbacks?
The main drawbacks involve logistics. The nursing shortage makes it difficult to offer Hospital-at-Home as a viable option for many facilities. In addition, not every patient has a home that is outfitted to handle the need for virtual care options, so hospitals may need to provide a hotspot in order to offer appropriate care to HaH patients.
For patients, the drawbacks mainly involve unforeseen issues. For example, if a piece of equipment fails or needs to be tended while the nurse assigned to you is not on shift, it could take a significant amount of time for the issue to be resolved if you aren’t able to resolve it yourself. That said, according to the results of a satisfaction survey done by Providence St. Peter Hospital, 64% of in-patients reported being satisfied with their treatment, while 100% of HaH patients reported being satisfied.
Ultimately, there’s a lot to be said about the healing power of sleeping in your own bed.
Contact Aging Benefits Advisory Today!
If you need help navigating the world of senior health insurance, our advisors at Aging Benefits Advisory are here to assist. Take advantage of our free consultation to ensure that you receive the plan for your budget and needs. We specialize in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, Dental, Vision, and Final Expense insurance for the senior market of Pinellas County, Pasco County, Manatee County, Hillsborough County, Polk County, Sarasota County, Citrus County, and Marion County, Florida. If you would like a free consultation, contact us online or give us a call at 727-266-0355. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.