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The Home Care Options Guide: Medicare-Certified Home Care

This type of home care is usually covered by Medicare or Medicaid and the nurses can offer skilled or unskilled care.

Medicare-certified home care, also known as skilled care, or visiting nurses, offer a range of services including wound care, pain management, infusion therapy, rehabilitation therapies and medication management.

If you or your relative is disabled or chronically ill, skilled care can be a big help. Visiting nurses can be especially helpful if your loved one has cancer, cardiac issues, immune disorders or some diabetic complications. Visiting nurses assist by coming to you or your relative’s home, monitoring vitals and assisting with pain medication management, medical appliances and wound care. Other skilled care, such as physical therapists, can help a hip or knee replacement patient regain the ability to function comfortably after surgery.

Who benefits from Medicare-certified home care? People with:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Immune disorders
  • Certain surgeries
  • COPD
  • Other chronic illnesses

What type of care can be provided?

  • Post-operative care
  • Wound care
  • Symptom management
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation care
  • Certified chemotherapy nurses can offer in-home consultation and care
  • Home infusion therapy
  • Pain management
  • Monitoring vital signs, disease management
  • Hospice and end-of-life care

How much do visiting nurses cost?

Most people hire visiting nurses based on their doctor’s recommendation and hire from an agency or health care organization. Medicare-certified home care is most often provided to individuals who are considered homebound and have short-term skilled needs post-hospitalization. A physician’s order is required for care to be covered by Medicare. If you are paying out of pocket, expect $25-75 per hour, depending on the market and the level of care required.

What to ask when hiring a visiting nurse:

  • Ask for a visiting nurse who specializes in your loved one’s condition—cancer, heart disease, immune disorders, etc.
  • Ask what background checks the agency does.
  • Ask if you can request the same visiting nurse each time, or if you will be assigned different nurses each visit.
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