Home Health Care, (also referred to as Domiciliary care, Nursing care, or In-home care), is supportive care provided within one’s home. Care may be provided by licensed healthcare professionals who provide medical care needs or by professional caregivers who provide daily care to help to ensure the activities of daily living are met. Home Health services predominantly help Senior Citizens for Assisted Daily Living, or recovering after discharge from Hospital or Facility Stay, or need additional support to remain safely at home and avoid unnecessary hospitalization. It is estimated that for most people, over 70% of their health care needs can be met while they are at home.
Globally, home healthcare has evolved around the idea of aiding a patient who is ill enough to need additional long-term care, but stable enough to not have to be in the hospital. This typically requires either physician, nurse or trained caregivers in the home who can administer infusions, do basic rehabilitation exercises, provide respiratory therapy, and other moderately invasive procedures, up to and including hospice care.
Major factors that contribute to the need of Home Health Care include rising aging population, increasing incidences of chronic diseases, growing demand for affordable healthcare delivery systems due to the increasing healthcare costs, technological advancements, and increased awareness about home healthcare.
Home Health Care in India
India has the second largest geriatric population in the world. According to a United Nations Population Fund report, the number of people age 60 and over in India will increase from 100 million in 2011 to 300 million by 2050; this means one in five Indians will be above the age of 60. Of the 300 million over-60s, 200 million are likely to be suffering from chronic ailments, which is roughly to total current population of Brazil – the fifth most populated country in the world !!
Already, non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer cause around 50% of all deaths in India.
The pity is that today’s rapid urbanization has overtaken the traditional value-system of our people and shifted their socio-economic priorities. Sons and daughters and their children find no time for the senior citizens in their family. The elderly, who have provided their services and support to the society, feel neglected at this phase of their lives. Their deteriorating physical strength and other geriatric illnesses add to their difficulties.
The concept of old-age homes or assisted living is socially largely unacceptable in India and therefore better home-based health care facilities are becoming an imperative. It is estimated that for an average individual, 70% of health care needs can be met in the home environment. This can result in better health outcomes and lower medical costs for the patients.
With life expectancy increasing significantly in India, home health care is becoming mandatory. Patients who are suffering from chronic illness like heart failure, respiratory failure and Alzheimer’s do not really need hospitalization.