Home Health Care Offers Wide Array of Options for PatientsAired March 9, 2000 - 2:19 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Experts say older people with medical problems do better and live longer if they receive health care at home, rather than the hospital. And when it comes to home health care, there's a big array of options for patients.
CNN's Tony Guida has a look at some of them.
TONY GUIDA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This former congressman from New York fought for the elderly for 20 years on Capitol Hill. Now, Mario Biaggi knows firsthand what challenges seniors face on day to day basis.
MARIO BIAGGI, FMR. CONGRESSMAN, HOME HEALTH CARE RECIPIENT: Although I've seen it, living it is another matter.
GUIDA: Mr. Biaggi, who is 82 and a widower, suffered a broken hip last year, and he still has difficulty walking because of bullet wounds he suffered during his 23 years on the New York police force. He knows the importance of a helping hand.
BIAGGI: I' have no need for a nursing home. The health care keeps me comfortable and permits me to function on a daily basis.
GUIDA: This year, Americans will spend over a trillion dollars on health care, $40 billion on home health care alone. Cost cuts, combined with better portable medical technology, have led to the growth in home health care. And experts believe that patients do better at home.
SUSAN SCHULMERICH, MONTEFIORE MEDICAL CENTER: They live longer. They enjoy a life with their family and their community, and that is not afforded to them while they are in the hospital.
GUIDA: Experts note, home health care patients have options when it comes to providers and care. They can use providers referred by a doctor or a hospital, or ask for a list of certified home health agencies. They can also research providers on the Web, to find out everything from accreditation to the extent of the geographic area that they serve.
Patients do have rights. LYLE CHURCHILL, VISITING NURSE SERVICE OF N.Y.: They have a right to chose the home care provider that they want. And they should do their homework and make sure they are going to get the level of quality and excellence that they want in their own home.
GUIDA: Home health care has provided Biaggi with a peace of mind that he may not have had otherwise.
BIAGGI: For those out there who need home health care, who need more than they have in order to live a slightly better life, have faith and pursue this. It will help you considerably. This isn't a question of pride, it is a question of living a more tolerable life. Not a great life, but a more tolerable life. And the little things, like the song says, the little things mean a lot.
GUIDA: Tony Guida, CNN Financial News, New York.
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