The LightHouse Keepers Corner

Hey it's me, Tiffany!  Call me or email today with your questions!

Hey, its me Rosie! Call me or email today with your questions!

Hi!  As one of the LightHouse Keepers at LightHouse Healthcare, it’s my job to help you shine and help our caregivers shine.  To do that, I must be knowledgeable about the value of home health care and help you get the answers you need.  Whether you choose LightHouse now or sometime in the future, know that we are there to help you find the right care at the right time.

Here is  a summary of the questions I’m asked most, to get started. I hope they help.

What is home healthcare?

Home healthcare allows patients to receive needed health care services in their home. At LHI,  we believe this is the very best place to receive care. Our mission is “keeping families together.” By receiving needed services at home, a patient recovers more quickly and has the emotional support of family and friends.  We encourage  patients to be as independent as possible so they can remain in their own homes as long as possible.

What services do you provide?

LHI provides skilled nursing, physical, speech, occupational, and home health aide services. We also have highly trained caregivers to complete the team in our patient’s recovery such as Certified Wound/Ostomy Nurses, Diabetic Educators, Registered Dieticians, and Social Workers. Our newest service includes Gero-Psychiatric  nursing to those who are suffering from depression or anxiety while recovering from an illness. All of our services are nicely complimented with our Private Duty program which offers non-medical or personal care  support in the home.

What is your coverage area?

We service all of Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, and Stafford Counties and the city of Alexandria.

Who pays for home healthcare?

LHI is a Medicare/Medicaid Certified Agency. Skilled  services are paid for 100% under a patient’s traditional Medicare benefit. We also participate in Virginia Medicaid, Tricare, Workmen’s Compensation, and Private Pay; both skilled and non-skilled. We also participate in managed Medicare plans (some Medicare Advantage Plans) which may require authorization and/or a co-pay for services. LHI will verify your benefits for  these plans and inform you of any out-of-pocket expenses prior to admission.

What is the difference between skilled and non-skilled services?

Skilled care describes services that need to be completed by a nurse or therapist. These services include but are not limited to wound care, medication management, and CVA or stroke aftercare. Non-skilled services are those services provided in the home by a certified Home Health Aide or Certified Nursing Assistant. These services include but are not limited to personal care needs, assistance with activities of daily living, and accompanying patients to MD visits.

What is the difference between having a home health aide through Medicare and a home health aide through Private Duty?

In order for a patient to be eligible for a home health aide under Medicare, he  must be receiving skilled services. The specific tasks will  include those indicated on the Home Health Aide Care plan developed by the Registered Nurse and the patient at the time of admission. The number of times per week is also determined at the time of care plan development.  The visit includes the amount of time it takes the Home Health Aide to complete the items on the plan of care. Typically the home  health aide visit includes bathing and grooming, assistance with toileting, and other personal care.  A private duty aide is an out of pocket expense and is designed to provide care to our patients for an ongoing period of time. The private duty aide care plan is also developed by a Registered Nurse, but duties and hours are much more flexible and at your request.

Can you come to my mother’s house two times a day to administer her medication? Or a monthly blood draw?

We can provide these types of services as a Skilled Private Pay service; however, these services are not covered by Medicare. Our Private Duty aides can give medication reminders, but they cannot administer the medication.  Routine or monthly blood draws can be arranged but are not typically covered under your Medicare benefit.

Is a hospitalization required to be eligible for these services?

No, and at LHI we prefer to admit our patients to services prior to a hospitalization as we guide them at home in hopes of preventing one. To qualify for home health care, the patient needs to be under the care of a physician who authorizes the need for services. Our intake team is more than happy to contact your physician and obtain approval for services on your behalf. To qualify for skilled services under Medicare, the patient also needs to be homebound. This means it is a “taxing effort” for the patient to leave home. Patients are allowed to leave home for brief, infrequent periods of time while receiving home healthcare services.

My father had a stroke and his physician wrote a prescription for SN, PT, OT, ST, and HHA. What does this mean? Are these 5 different people? What will they do? How often will they come? How long will they stay? Do I have to be present for each visit?

Your father’s physician is asking for a Registered Nurse, a Physical Therapist, an Occupational Therapist, a Speech Therapist, and a Home Health Aide to come to the home for CVA or stroke aftercare.  These are 5 different people and each has his or her  own individual skill needed to ensure your father’s recovery at home. Once this order is received by LHI, we will begin the Admission Process. During this time you will receive an introductory call from a member of our intake team to introduce LHI and answer any questions you may have. You/the patient will then receive a call from each clinician to schedule individual evaluations. Each professional clinician conducts his or her own discipline-specific evaluation.  Then, the team collaborates and  develops an individualized Plan of Care which will include interventions and goals of treatment. At this time, the clinician will develop a visit schedule in collaboration with the family. Loved ones are not required to be at visits but if they would like to, we do everything we can to accommodate schedules. An average “skilled visit” is 45-60 minutes. This may vary depending on the plan of care that has been established for the patient.

My father’s doctor didn’t write a prescription. He just told me to call. How do I know what services I need?

LHI’s office team is highly trained in obtaining and assessing patients’ needs over the phone. This question is usually answered by asking about the challenges the patient/family is facing at home. Clearer pictures emerge once one of our highly trained Registered Nurses or Therapists conducts the first home visit. Needs found at this visit will be communicated to the patient’s physician immediately and provided to you as soon as possible.

What if I have a problem on a weekend? In the middle of the night?

LHI is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our normal business hours are Monday thru Friday 8:30am-5pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm. If you need us after those hours please call our regular business line, 703-550-1400 where you can leave a message with a customer service representative.  Our On Call Registered Nurse will return your call.

We believe it’s a privilege to be invited into a patient’s home.

Why LHI?

Because there is no other group of people who care more. All home healthcare agencies require their employees to be licensed, insured, and credentialed. But they cannot require their employees to care about each other, the patients, and the agency. We find employees who go the extra mile. We believe it is a privilege to be invited into a  patient’s home, and to be trusted to manage you or your loved one’s health is a responsibility that is taken personally by each team member, each office staff person, and each administrator. We know we will not be successful in our mission without these people. We hire like minded clinicians who support each other both clinically and personally.  I am not an RN or a therapist but I am the person who is trusted by the agency to send these wonderful people to your home, during a very vulnerable time in your life. Please feel free to call me anytime so I can tell you a little more about who and what to expect…

 

I realize this is not a complete list and may not answer the particular question you have, or consider your unique circumstances, so feel free to call me us at  703-550-1400. Most people find us pretty easy to talk to.  I hope you do, too. Or you can email me using the form below.

 

P.S The Primer on Home Care manual is pretty useful as well, if you are just getting started, and Choosing the Right Home Care Provider, also a good read.  XO, Rosie

 

Contact the LightHouse Keeper

I would love to help you get answers to your specific questions about home health care. Contact me today! Send me a message below or call me at 703-550-1400. We will safeguard your confidentiality.
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