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What Is Home Care?
Home care is the original way people cared for their loved ones. Before doctors’ offices, hospitals, and nursing homes existed, most people received assistance and care in their own residence. Though institutional care received most of the attention as our health care system matured, home care has remained an essential component, quietly serving millions of Americans where they most want to be.
Formal home care started here in Massachusetts when public health nurses began traveling to patients’ homes to care for the sick, instruct families, and comfort the dying. Though home care continues to provide these services, changing family dynamics, new client needs, and technological advances have enabled it to expand its repertoire.
Today, home care encompasses a wide array of services but – at its core – always involves aides, therapists, and nurses providing care and assistance in clients’ residences. Depending on the situation, it can include everything from occasional help with household chores, to daily assistance with dressing and bathing, to around-the-clock medical care.
For example, some people use home care briefly to recover from injuries or hospitalizations. Others use it to supplement services from assisted living or retirement communities. Still others use it to remain healthy and independent at home, despite chronic illness or diminished capabilities. In all these situations, good home care recognizes that each client requires an individualized care plan. Services vary, but the objective is always to support independence and allow the client to remain at home.