According to a public health report in 2011, “the escalating problem of multiple chronic conditions (MCC) among Americans is now a major public health and medical challenge.”
Nearly half of adults in the United States live with at least one chronic illness. Chronic illness is defined as conditions that last a year or more, require ongoing medical attention, and limit activities of daily living.
These conditions include a broad array of physical illness, such as arthritis, asthma, respiratory illness, diabetes, and heart disease, among others.
Steven H. Landers, MD, MPH, in a recent paper for the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine said, “Home based care will play an increasingly important role in the health care system as the United States seeks ways to provide cost-effective and compassionate care to a growing population of older adults with chronic illness,” he continues “every serious analysis of our current health care environment suggests a need for better care for the chronically ill at home and in the community.”
A recent report commissioned by the National Coalition on Care Coordination supports these findings, citing, “a need for increased home-based, health care services.” Fortunately, with advances in monitoring and telemedicine, complex medical care in the home can match the care delivered in a hospital or other care facility.
The benefits of treating those with chronic illness at home are significant and most people prefer to be treated or recover from illness in the comfort of home.
Here are 8 ways home health care improves the outcomes of those living with MCC:
- Cost effective care. Overall, home health care reduces the cost per client treated by 44% compared with hospital based treatment; the cost to family caregivers is also reduced by 23%.
- Improved quality of care. Home care may reduce client incidents, such as risk of fall or medication mismanagement, among other safety issues.
- Decreased hospital and facility stays. Clients who utilize in-home care services spend, on average, 31% fewer days in acute care hospitals and 28.43% fewer days in a rehabilitation facility.
- Increase in “healthy days”. Home care clients report an increase in healthy days over a 12 month period.
- Better care transitions. In an in-depth review of 34 studies it was reported that, on average, 27% of client readmissions were preventable. With home care intervention, hospital readmission within 30 days decreased between 12% - 17%.
- Control over health. Clients using home health care report feeling more “in-control” of their health and better able to manage their conditions because of the intimate one-on-one clinical care they are receiving.
- Improvement in activities of daily living. In a survey conducted by the Common Wealth Fund, home care clients reported improvement to activities of daily living, such as grooming, dressing, and bathing.
- One-on-one care and support. Clients report more trust for their health care professionals when they are treated in the home.