Written by Dr. Verna Benner Carson, PMH/CNS

Over the last few weeks there has been significant information in the news about Alzheimer’s disease. On March 5th, 2014 in USA Today and many other Psychiatric home care is focused on “making better” the patient who has been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder.

The most common diagnosis is depression but it is not the only diagnosis that can benefit from in-home psychiatric care. Patients who have been recently discharged from an inpatient facility but who are still profoundly depressed benefit from home health nursing visits not only to ensure medication and follow up adherence, but to put in place other resources such as Social Work services and Occupational Therapy. These home care visits ensure that whatever improvements have resulted from the hospitalization will be reinforced and extended. Likewise patients with psychiatric diagnoses who reside in the community, but who are beginning to exacerbate, perhaps because of medication noncompliance, can benefit from psychiatric home care to get them back on the “treatment track” thus preventing another expensive hospitalization. This service is fully funded by Medicare in the same way all home health services are funded. Medicare elucidates specific criteria for psychiatric home care. This specialty is holistic in its approach, assessing for and addressing the total needs of the patient – physical and emotional. Not only does the patient benefit, the family also benefits by learning new skills to help their loved one remain stable. The health care system benefits by maintaining the patient who struggles with persistent psychiatric issues in the least restrictive (and least expensive) setting, the home. Psychiatric issues may include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

HealthStar Home Health offers Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) for adults 18 years and older who have a qualifying mental illness and are eligible for medical assistance that want to improve their life. ARMHS is not case management or traditional therapy, but instead is mental health services aimed at teaching you skills for managing your mental health symptoms. HealthStar also offers support for those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia through our Alzheimer’s Whisperer program.

For more information, contact HealthStar Home Heatlth directly by calling 651-633-7300.

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