Can the Mentally Disabled Receive Home Care?

Author: Andrea Miller 

Reviewed by: Amanda Young

The mentally disabled can receive home health care through Medicare if they can’t leave the home because of their disability. They must also require skilled nursing care, physical therapy or occupational therapy, such as active treatment from a psychiatric nurse. A doctor must certify the person’s need for home health care, and the family must use a Medicare-approved home health agency. 

What Home Care Services Benefit People With Mental Disabilities?

Home health care services that benefit people with mental disabilities include:

  • Skilled psychiatric nursing services
  • Occupational therapy designed to improve function
  • Medical social services
  • Assistance with activities of daily living as needed

A specialized psychiatric nurse visits at least every 60 days to observe the person, assess their health status, provide behavioral or cognitive interventions, offer training activities and provide hands-on patient care when needed. The nurse develops and administers a personalized care plan in cooperation with the person’s physician and mental health provider.

When Does a Mentally Disabled Person Need Home Care?

A mentally disabled person needs home health care if their illness prevents them from leaving the home, even without physical limitations. Medicare considers these individuals homebound for coverage purposes if they have:

  • Panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired cognition
  • Acute depression

What Types of Mental Illness Commonly Cause Disability?

According to research reported by the American Psychiatric Association, the types of mental illness that commonly cause disability include:

The study authors determined the years of healthy life individuals lost to mental illness by looking at the age at diagnosis and the severity and duration of symptoms. Based on this metric, people with schizophrenia lost an average of 73% of time spent healthy each year.