Home Care And Clinical Practice Guidelines To Follow

As our loved ones get older and require individual care, it can be a struggle to find a qualified agency or home care service where you are confident they will be taken care of appropriately. I find that following these specific guidelines for all home care agencies and clinical practices will help you through this trying process. Whether it is for general care or for any specialized care process, these are the guidelines that are actually set by the government to ensure that proper care is provided. In addition to that, abiding by these guidelines ensure adequate reimbursement to the Medicaid certified home health care agencies. 

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The best home care practice recommendations were designed and made available by the state as an initiative to ensure safety to the patients, especially while treating wounds and injuries, skin tears, and pressure ulcers. Downloadable from the internet, these guidelines comprise of several important elements:

  • Focusing on prevention more than healing
  • Identifying all the risks involved in the care process and
  • Fostering the healing process by choosing the right care method and dressing process.

These basic guidelines are targeted, especially for those older patients needing home care who are:

  • Immobile
  • Undernourished or malnourished
  • Unable to perform their daily activities for living 
  • Of impaired cognition  
  • Incontinent and 
  • Those who have friable skin.

As part of this guideline, it is also recommended to categorize wounds, skin tears, care processes, and risks based on different parameters but especially according to the needs of each patient. 

Other objectives of the guideline

They emphasize encouraging a safe environment to provide care to the patients, whether it is within the nursing home facilities or in a home setting. It requires that all caregiving professionals, staffs of the home care agencies as well as the patients and their families are educated about:

  • The care process to be followed
  • The needs of the patients
  • The risks involved in it, if any and 
  • What each can do to ensure a better outcome.

All these guidelines have one common aim: to protect the older adult from further injury during routine care as well as any self-injuries.

The caregivers must manage all situations and complications that may arise from time to time with panache and skill so that the chances of any aggravation of the situation can be avoided. 

In short, these best practice recommendations for home care and the International Consensus Statement both promote consistent care and fair practice. It requires proper classification of each care process, and irrespective of the classification system is used, it is imperative to manage care strategies adequately and appropriately and at the same time, document the healing outcomes.

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The classification of care processes

There are different classification systems used by home care agencies and caregivers for different types of care needs. For example, if the patient is suffering from skin tears, a unique classification system will be used to group the characteristics and degrees of skin damage, for that matter; ideally, there are three main categories:

  • Category I: Skin tears without skin loss that takes about ten days to heal completely
  • Category II: Skin tears with partial-thickness skin loss that normally takes about 14 days to heal and 
  • Category III: Skin tears with complete tissue loss that takes about 21 days to heal on an average.

Similarly, there are other classification systems used to classify the wounds, the condition of the patients, the risks in the care process, or the degree of vulnerability of the patients.

The classification systems undergo changes continually, which is why a home care agency should be well abreast of the developments to ensure proper care is provided just according to the set guidelines of best home care practices. Even the nurses in a home care setting should consider using these updated classification systems as a part of their overall assessment and care process. 

Predicting the risks

The main objective of using this classification system is to ensure that the occurrence of further injuries is prevented. The best approach to follow is to start with predicting the risk level of each patient and identify those who are at high risk. This will help them to design the care process and prevention program just as it is required by a particular patient.

Predicting risk is a critical part of the care process and should typically be done before any injury occurs. Since older adults are at high risk and more vulnerable to injuries, especially in a home care setting, therefore making a comprehensive risk assessment can really be difficult. 

However, it should be performed on all of the older patients that need home care as per the recommendation of the guidelines for best home care practices. The process of risk assessment should include things like:

  • A complete assessment on admission to the home health agency if the situations aggravate aftercare is provided at home 
  • The accordance and suitability of the settings if care is to be provided at the home of the patient
  • The condition as well as the change in the condition of the individual patient as well as 
  • The care policy of the home care agency to judge compliance with the set parameters and guidelines and other requirements.

It is recommended that the home care agencies use well-validated and useful risk assessment instruments to determine the degree of risks of injuries, adverse effects of medications, and other related matters that may influence the final outcome. 

All these tools are relevant for home care agencies and the patients receiving home care because it places the patients into different groups. This eventually will help in implementing a risk prevention plan that is best suited for the patients according to the risk categories. 

Wrapping it up

Therefore, in this modern world where there is a high demand for home care among the ever-growing aging population, the home care agencies should be well adverse with the developments in the home care guidelines. This will help them to abide by the set standards of home care.

They must also make the best use of technology in their care process, maintenance of records, and even in the claiming process, if applicable. 

All these will ensure that the best and most appropriate care is provided to the people who need it the most.