Over the past few decades, trends in healthcare have shifted to promote healing to take place in a patient’s home. This is achieved in parts by advances in medicine, training families as care partners, and by earlier discharges. For instance in the 1990s when patients had open heart surgeries, they would have an 8-day hospital stay, barring complications. Today’s technology creates less invasive surgery for many of the once more complex procedures. These advances can put a patient back in his home for the recovery portion of surgery within 3 to 5 days. The evolving of medicine and research has also shown that patients have better outcomes at home for the convalescence phase of disease and surgery. The advantages of home care versus hospital care for recuperation and maintenance of sickness can be explained by 4 Cs: containment of infection, cost control, decreased confusion, and comfort.

Cost reimbursement by insurance companies pre-determines the amount of payment for diagnosis/ length of stays. A skilled nursing visit at home can be roughly $132. Companion care by a home health aide or nursing assistant is about $200 a day. A stay in the hospital can cost $4200 -10,000. Whether these costs are paid for by insurance or out of pocket, clearly the cost-effectiveness of home recovery is evident.
Containment of infection is a big reason to stay at home, when possible. Ideally, all of the patients in a hospital get better. Sometimes, hospitals can actually make a person sicker. Nosocomial infections are diseases specifically acquired while a person is in the hospital. Pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and wounds also known as bedsores are some of the complications that can arise in hospitals and long-term care facilities. With nationwide bans of visitors in skilled nursing facilities during the Covid pandemic, outbreaks can be attributed to staff and new clients infecting residents.

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Confusion among the elderly is an often-unexplained phenomenon among the elderly. Up to 24% of patients over 65 experience confusion in the hospital environment. Confusion and delirium can lead to further complications such as falls, broken bones, head injuries, blood clots, and pneumonia. Patients are far less likely to fall and become confused in their own homes where paths are clear, they are oriented to their surroundings and loved ones are near.

The comforts of a home go a long way to help with healing. Home-cooked meals, friends, and family as well as all of the other creature comfort one is used to, are all-powerful medicine. Patients in long-term care settings can tend to “give up.” They lose heart surrounded by multiple sick people, alarms, and constant unfamiliar noises.

Hospitals are certainly necessary entities. These institutions are equipped to save lives and reduce morbidity and mortality in the overwhelming cases of people who present to them. The bridge from hospital to home can be navigated best, in most situations by home health. Patients, once they are stable and on the road to recovery, fair better in their own homes. With the assistance of nurses, CNAs, therapists and home health aides, there is no sweeter place than home.

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21st Century