According to the CDC, 80% of COVID-19-related deaths reported in the U.S. have been among adults 65 and older.
With new cases on the rise again, the novel coronavirus remains a very real threat to America’s seniors.
In general, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. As we age, the immune system weakens, and it becomes more difficult to fight off infection. Additionally, older Americans are more likely to have underlying medical conditions, making it harder to recover from the virus.
The CDC recommends that adults over the age of 65 – especially those with certain underlying medical conditions – take steps to protect themselves by staying home and limiting interactions with others.
However, there is growing concern that this guidance may also prevent seniors from getting the medical care they need.
A new survey shows more than half of older Americans, canceled or delayed medical treatment during March and April.
As the country navigates the ongoing pandemic, keeping seniors healthy and out of the hospital should be a top priority. Now, more than ever, it is critical that older adults can easily access home health care services.
Each year, millions of Americans rely on home health for the essential medical services they need. These services are delivered to the patient at home as they recover from illness, injury, a medical procedure, or manage a chronic condition. Provided by an experienced team of nurses, therapists, and aides, home health care is designed to help the patient achieve the best possible outcome and regain their independence.
When patients are unable to access the care they need, they risk developing complications that can lead to unnecessary hospitalizations. In the hospital setting, they are far more likely to come into contact with COVID-19.
Home health care allows these patients to continue receiving the care they need in the safety of their homes.
Normally, patients are only eligible for Medicare home health benefits if they are “homebound.” This means the patient is confined to their home due to illness or injury or leaving home requires “a considerable and taxing effort.”
However, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded the definition of “homebound.” It now includes patients with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 and patients with a medical condition that increases their risk of infection.
The move to expand home health eligibility requirements allows seniors, particularly those with high-risk underlying conditions, to continue receiving the care they depend on while maintaining social distancing and maximizing patient safety.
While in-home care is proving to be the safest and most reliable option for seniors, leading home health care providers are taking steps to protect their patients. At Intrepid USA, we proactively implemented safety protocols to safeguard our patients and clinicians because of the importance of home health care, including:
- Daily screenings of all employees and volunteers
- Increased patient screenings
- Mandatory face coverings for all employees
- Updated infectious disease training for clinicians
- Implementation of TapCloud, a telehealth app that offers secure virtual visits, where necessary.
The battle against COVID-19 is far from over. But increasing access to in-home care is key in keeping our seniors – and our communities – safe and healthy.
To find out if you or a loved one may qualify for home health services, contact us today. A member of the Intrepid USA Care Team can help determine if home health is right for you.