Home Health Care Patient Experience
Quality home care is critical to ensuring patients continue to receive treatment after a hospital stay for medical conditions that may require it. Clear communication and compassionate care from home health providers ensures patients and families understand how to manage their health condition. This measure is based on a standardized national survey that was sent in the mail to patients that asks about their experience of care from the home health care agency.
What is this measure?
The Johns Hopkins Care at Home and Johns Hopkins Care at Home - Potomac provide home health services, such as skilled nursing, physical therapy and speech therapy, for patients.
A standardized national survey called the Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) is mailed to some adult patients so they can provide their perspective on their care experience with the home health agency.
The survey asks adult patients questions about clear communication, frequency of communication about medications, home safety and pain management, and the patient’s overall experience.
Patient responses are submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which publicly reports the annual results from all U.S. home health care agencies online at Care Compare.
See examples of HHCAHPS survey questions:
- In the last two months of care, how often did home health providers from this agency explain things in a way that was easy to understand?
- In the last two months of care, how often did home health providers from this agency keep you informed about when they would arrive at your home?
- In the last two months of care, how often did home health providers from this agency listen carefully to you?
Patients have the choice of responding with always, usually, sometimes or never. The percentage of “always” responses are shown in the data graph below.
Why is it important?
Quality home care is critical to ensuring patients continue to receive treatment after a hospital stay for medical conditions that may require it. Effective communication and compassionate care from home health providers ensures patients and families understand how to manage their health condition, which can help to prevent a hospital readmission.
HHCAHPS survey questions are designed to measure how often key components of home health care happen. Prospective home health care patients and families can use HHCAHPS survey results to objectively compare other patient perspectives on communication quality, communication frequency and overall experience.
Johns Hopkins Care at Home and Johns Hopkins Care at Home - Potomac consistently work to ensure patients receive quality care and personal attention.
Home safety is key to preventing accidents that could cause serious harm. Our home health care staff talk to patients about how to set up the home so patients can move around safely, such as checking for any rugs the patient may trip over or other potential issues. The nurse makes a list of all medications in the patient’s home. This is compared to the hospital discharge instructions to make sure the patient has all the right and needed medications.
Communicating Clearly with Patients
Home health care providers ensure their communication with the patient is clear by using a “teach back” method. For example, after receiving direction on how to use a catheter, a patient must then try to teach the nurse on how to use it as a way to review the material and ensure the patient understands. Our home health care staff make sure they explain things in a way that is easy for patients to take in. They speak slowly and do not use too many medical words. The nurse can then address any areas needing clarification.
Nurses also ensure patients are clear on when the different home health team members — for instance, other nurses, therapists, social workers and aides — will be visiting them at home.
Knowing about your health condition, medications and plan for future care are critical for keeping you healthy. If you are unclear about anything regarding your health condition or treatment, ask your home health care team for help. Continue taking your medications as prescribed and following any physical therapy guidelines. You can also ask for additional home safety tools and resources.
For more information
- Johns Hopkins Care at Home
- Johns Hopkins Care at Home - Potomac
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Home Health Compare
The organization’s quality and safety performance may have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We would urge patients to consider more recent performance in combination with historical performance. Patients may benefit from discussing with their healthcare provider the disruptions COVID-19 may have caused on quality and safety of care.