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What happens when a home health agency comes to my home?

What happens when a home health nurse comes to my house?

Medicare will pay for your home health services if you are under the care of a doctor and you meet some criteria. Your doctor tells the home health agency what to do to take care of you. This is called “doctor’s orders." Once your doctor orders home health care, someone from the home health agency will call you and schedule an appointment for a nurse or therapist to come to your house.

Once at your house, a nurse or therapist will:

  • talk to you and your family about what you need
  • ask you some questions about how you are feeling, including if you are having pain. It is always a good idea to tell them how you feel that day or if you have felt better or worse over the past several days
  • check your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and your breathing
  • get information about your medical issues you have
  • check that your house is safe for how you are able to walk and move when they see you, and
  • ask to see all the medicines that you take, including the medicines that you buy that do not need a prescription for like aspirin, or cold medicine. (Be sure to show all the medicines that you may take to the nurse or therapist, even if you do not take them often.)

The home health nurse or therapist will also talk to your doctor about how you are doing at home, and whether you need to see him or her again soon. Your doctor will tell the home health agency nurse or therapist how to see you at home. It is very important that they see you as often as the doctor wants them to come to the house. Also remember that you can call the home health agency 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you have a question, or if you think you are feeling worse.

Medicare pays for home health care to help you stay at home as safely as you can. If you think that you need help at home, ask someone in the hospital or nursing home before you get home, or talk to your doctor anytime about needing more help at home. Home health care is one of your Medicare benefits. Please ask about using it to feel better and to feel more safe at home.

Last updated: 03-30-2018