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Home Health Care: Why Aren't More Seniors Buying In?

Jul 31, 2017 by Larry Morgan

A startlingly common reason why more seniors aren’t choosing home healthcare is due to their confusion about what services are actually offered. Combined with the negative stigma and misconceptions against it, it sounds even more unappealing.

This is quite problematic. Research shows that as many as 28% of older Americans don’t accept home care after discharging from the hospital. This refusal of post-hospital care makes the risk of readmission skyrocket. Hospitals define “readmission” as being checked back into the hospital within 30 days after the patient’s original incident.

Even if they are not readmitted, not having the much-needed help can make recovery take much longer, or even make total recovery unachievable.

Some of the misconceptions that lead to patients shying away from home healthcare are:

  • They don’t want to be “babysat” in their own home
  • They don’t want a stranger coming in and “invading” their private space
  • How embarrassing it is to have someone take care of you
  • That they feel like they can take care of themselves just fine

These negative connotations make people afraid of accepting the help they need. Some examples of the many home healthcare services provided are:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living, such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing
  • Physical therapy required for injuries
  • Medication management, especially important for antibiotic regimens
  • Everything from basic care up to hospice care
  • Short term care to long term care, ranging from a few weeks through the end-of-life stages

What can we do to solve this issue? The answer is education.

Hospitals and rehabilitation centers are increasing their efforts to inform their patients prior to and upon discharge about the many benefits of home healthcare, even if it’s only temporary. Changing misconceptions about such an important branch of healthcare can result in less hospital admissions, readmissions, and ultimately, save more lives.

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