A home health care provider is a medical professional, just like the medical professionals who work in clinics, hospitals and private practices. As such, they are required to abide by specific policies and procedures. Private home care provider policies and procedures often mirror the policies and procedures used in hospital and clinical settings. In many cases, this is because home health care providers are bound to the same legal requirements to which doctors, nurses and other health care providers are bound.
Home Health Care Policies
Policies are the guiding principles that home health care agencies and other types of health care providers follow when approaching patient care. These are broad, open-ended guidelines that shape health care providers’ actions rather than the specific instructions they should follow. For example, a private home care provider policies and procedures manual might state that the agency’s policy is to always have health care providers visit patients in pairs.
When writing a set of private home care provider policies and procedures, an agency manager can rely on the agency’s ethical code to determine appropriate policies. She can also look at other home health providers’ policy guides to see sample policies and procedures for home health care.
Home Health Care Procedures
When looking at sample policies and procedures for home health care, an agency manager can also see examples of procedures to include in his employee handbook. These procedures are the specific instructions employees are to follow when providing care for patients as well as in regard to their positions with the agency.
For example, an agency whose policy is to always have two caregivers dispatched to a patient’s home might include a procedure for caregivers to follow when only one is available for a patient visit.
Sample Policies and Procedures for Home Health Care
Examples of policies a home health care agency might include in its employee handbook include:
- The circumstances under which the home care provider will call for a doctor or an ambulance.
- The agency’s commitment to treating all patients with dignity and respect.
- Employee sick time and vacation policies.
- The agency’s policy concerning the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
- The agency’s policy concerning the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.
- Which insurance coverage the agency accepts.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines for home health care providers.
- Vaccinations policy for employees.
- Sexual harassment policy.
A few example procedures to include in a home health care handbook are:
- Care providers must always ask new patients about their cultural and religious practices that can impact their care.
- Always administer CPR when the patient has stopped breathing or has no detectable heartbeat.
- How to bill patients’ insurance providers for care.
- How to record and file documentation of patient visits.
- How caregivers are to respond to suspicions of patient neglect or abuse.
Writing a Nonmedical Home Care Employee Handbook
Not all home care providers are medical professionals. Many provide nonmedical home health care, which can include any type of living support like:
- Performing household tasks like cooking and cleaning.
- Helping the patient dress, bathe and use the bathroom.
- Managing the patient’s daily routine.
- Performing tasks like grocery shopping and refilling prescriptions.
The policies and procedures that are included in a nonmedical home care employee handbook are different from those included in a medical home care employee handbook. This is because of the different tasks that nonmedical home care providers perform versus medical home care providers.
A nonmedical home care employee handbook’s policies and procedures might explicitly state that the home care provider is not to administer any type of medical care beyond first aid and instruct him to contact a specific health care provider if his patient needs medical attention.