How Long Does it Take to Get Home Health Care?

Author: Sarah Williams

Reviewed by: Catherine Braxton

How long it takes to get home health care is about one to two weeks, although exact timelines vary. Timing depends on whether a physician prescribes services or individuals source their own care. Additionally, although services may begin relatively quickly, benefit claims can take a few weeks or more to process. Benefit applications also depend on whether an individual is at home or in a hospital.

Purpose of Home Health Care

Home health care services enable older adults to live safely at home with visiting medical and therapeutic support, removing the need for a prolonged hospital stay or nursing home admission. Services support those recovering from an illness, injury or surgical procedure. They include skilled nursing, rehabilitation therapies, health care monitoring, physician oversight, medical equipment assistance and personal care.

Factors Affecting Waiting Times

In most cases, a physician orders home health care services. Indeed, public funding only covers doctor-prescribed services. For those returning home after a hospital stay, they usually aren’t released until providers set up service plans in coordination with discharge planners and medical social workers. On the other hand, those applying from home may need to rely on family assistance for a short period while providers arrange services. Seniors also choose to appoint home health agencies independently and pay for caregiver services themselves. In such cases, waiting lists may apply.Although service provision often starts sooner, Medicare and Medicaid claims can take a few weeks to process. Additionally, those making claims on long-term care insurance policies must wait for the elimination period to elapse.