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The Holidays Highlight the Value of Home-Based Health Care

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Millions of Americans will be able to share Thanksgiving and other holidays with seniors and people with disabilities who are able to live safely and independently in the comfort of their own homes, thanks to home medical equipment, services, and supports.

Homecare also provides tremendous value to more than eight million Americans who require some type of care in the home, says the American Association for Homecare. Home medical equipment and services can be provided and maintained for just dollars a day, which is why homecare is a cost effective alternative to institutional care and is an important part of the solution to our nation's healthcare financing challenge.

Facts about Homecare

  • More than eight million Americans depend on medical equipment and services at home which treats conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease, spinal cord injuries, severe lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, sleep apnea, and diabetes. Virtually every type of health care short of surgery can be successfully delivered in the home.  Seniors and people with disabilities receive medically prescribed oxygen therapy, wheelchairs, hospital beds, drug infusion therapy, hospice care, walkers, and other medical services, supplies, and equipment at home.
  • Americans would rather receive care at home according to surveys by AARP and other organizations. Moreover, a 2011 Harris Interactive survey about spending priorities for health care found that 79 percent of Americans believe the federal government should strengthen patient access to home medical equipment and services and 61 percent favor investment in community- or home-based care to improve cost-effective health care.
  • Providers of home medical equipment and services help prevent ER visits and hospitalization and enable hospitals to discharge patients on a timely basis to post-acute care at home, which reduces length of hospital stays and lowers spending in the healthcare system. The home is the most cost-effective setting for many types of medical care including long-term care and is part of the solution for lowering health costs. In an October 20, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine article, Steven H. Landers, M.D., cites home oxygen as an example of advancement in portable medical technology and cites parenteral nutrition (tube feeding) and infusion as examples of home-based care that are cheaper than and as equally effective as institutional care.
  • Home medical equipment providers serve as first responders to ensure that people receiving homecare are safe in emergencies such as Hurricane Irene or ice storms where power is lost for days at a time. A power outage can be deadly for a person who requires a ventilator or an oxygen concentrator that treats lung diseases or chronic heart failure. During a power outage or evacuation, having an adequate back-up supply of battery power or oxygen is essential to the health of the device users. In a catastrophic pandemic flu, home-based care will play a large role in treating flu victims since patients will quickly overwhelm hospitals.

The American Association for Homecare celebrates the thousands of dedicated professionals and family caregivers who provide the equipment, services, and supports that enable seniors and people living with disabilities to remain in the care setting that most prefer – their own homes.

The American Association for Homecare represents providers of durable medical equipment and services who meet the healthcare needs of millions of Americans who require oxygen equipment and therapy, wheelchairs and mobility assistive technologies, medical supplies, inhalation drug therapy, and other medical equipment and services in their homes. Members provide homecare in all 50 states. 

SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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