Senior Home Health Care

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Senior Home Health Care

If you are considering senior home health care services in a geriatric residence or on site, there are several important issues that caregivers should be aware of in consideration of legal obligation to patients. Here are five things you might not have known about senior home health care:

  1. Fall liability in geriatric care settings: In insurance agreements, the presence of geriatric patients in residence, whom exhibit physiological debilitation in motor sensory or neurological disorders, present complication in that they may pose a risk to institutions, where unforeseen side effects may lead to liability. Emergency rescue is normally cited as obligation to patients. Palliative care patients age 65 or older are at risk of secondary injuries from falls due to complications of those prescriptions. Falls are priority area of liability in administration of senior home health care run by third parties.
  2. Informed consent to geriatric or palliative care treatment: Patients undergoing palliative or geriatric care at home are normally involved in a health care loop that includes at home visitation, inpatient or outpatient treatment. The most vital element of legal intervention on behalf of patients is attention to informed consent laws. Medical treatment is a specialist procedure. Physicians and practitioners have a duty to a reasonable standard of care to patients. Informed consent rules state that patients have the right to know about treatment planning. This includes medication. Where patients are not competent to make treatment decisions, a third party intervener family member or other guardian is normally responsible for patients signed release of liability. A lesser known factor in comprehensive care of at-home patients, the rules to informed consent are vital mechanisms for reinforcing a senior’s personal healthcare choices. The more serious aspects of informed consent are, of course, the punitive elements, which protect a patient in the case that there has been an exception due to extreme circumstances or misconduct. Medical malpractice, or violation of terms of prohibition to procedures or medication by the patient even at home are important to long-term care of the most vulnerable patients.
  3. Managed care network access for senior home health patients: Where geriatric or palliative care patients are involved in managed care relationships, extensive records are generally subject to review on a consistent basis. However, inconsistency in quality assurance measures, coupled by low-to-poor accountability of post procedure preventable medical errors related to medication can compound issues in the home health care environment substantially. Patient user access to hospital and other clinical institution networks has improved some of the issues in aftercare. Education, referral partner networks, and an entire host of services related to managed care insurance providers has ostensibly improved the challenges faced by senior home health care agencies invested in “patient-centric” approaches to treatment and record management. Specialist knowledge sharing practice now involves patient user portals. Palliative care practitioners’ information can be obtained by contacting the American Medical Directors Association (AMDA). The AMDA provides guidelines regarding senior home health care by licensed practitioners, including rules to professional obligation to a duty to a reasonable standard in care.
  4. Medication administration rules and practice: Most senior patients are receiving pharmacological treatment in nursing homes. For geriatric patients, multiple medications may be substantial to enhancement of quality of life. Administration of medication should be prefaced with forewarning of any complications. Accountability to side effects may incur liability in a third-party setting. If administration of medication is the sole responsibility of caretaker parties, and secondary ailments or injury(s) in response to intake should ensue, patients who have been provided adequate care in dosage and forewarning of potential side effects is normally considered sufficient information. Where patients are incompetent, medication should be under strict supervision by the home health care nurse or other practitioner. Rules on the side effects of pharmacological prescription of multiple medications are imposed at time of signatory release from liability. Patient, legal conservator or substitute decision maker must acknowledge consent.
  5. Wellness programs as a path to senior health longevity : Seemingly the most facile, yet potentially the most forgotten quality of life aspect of senior home health care is the promotion of wellbeing. Senior patients spend an inordinate amount of time experiencing clinical treatment and intervention. In recent years, the popularity of combined alternative therapies has advanced the idea that seniors are holistic, intelligent, and sentient beings with natural vitality that is often untapped. Massage, Rolfing and Yoga are but a few options that seniors are exploring, a perfect accompaniment to wellness in the home health environment.