Nursing and home health

A very common problem among families of children with special needs is finding reliable, trustworthy home health care providers to care for their kids so they can work or enjoy leisure activities with the rest of the family. There are typically two different levels of home health providers: nurses and home health aides. In general, home health aides are not allowed to administer medications, but can usually be alone with you child and help him or her with their activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, and eating. Nurses can generally administer medications as well as other therapies.

  1. The first step in finding home health care providers is to call your child’s insurance company and ask for a list of home health care agencies.
  2. Contact the agencies and ask them for tips on what to include in the physician’s letter of medical necessity, and any other documentation that you will need to provide, such as proof of employment.
  3. Ask other parents in your area who have the same insurance company for feedback on the agencies and sample letters of medical necessity, if available.
  4. Talk to your child’s school to see if the nurse would also invited as classroom support.  This would potentially increase the hours requested.
  5. Ask your child’s physician to write a letter of medical necessity. Often, if you provide a sample letter or at least many of the details, the letter will go faster. If you know your hospital social worker, include that person on the e-mail, as they are often the person who writes the letters for the physician.
  6. If your insurance denies the request, ask your physician to initiate an appeal. Also ask the agency if there is a specific change that you can make to the request that would increase the odds of getting the request approved. For example, you may not qualify for a nurse, but you could be eligible for a home health aide.

Check out the articles below for more tips from other parents on how to obtain home health services!

Complex Child Magazine’s Guide to Care At Home connects families with home health aides and nurses.