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March 1995, Vol. 118, No. 3
T he home is now the choice for certain types of health care. Although home health care is not a replacement for all hospital care, it has become an important setting for delivering preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, and long-term maintenance services.
The health care that patients receive in the privacy and comfort of their own homes breaks the past pattern of confining sick, handicapped, diseased, and mentally ill individuals to hospitals or institutions. Expansion of Medicare benefits, lower costs for care at home relative to hospital care, and modern technology are among the reasons home health care has become the fastest growing segment of health care services, and the second fastest growing industry in the economy as of October 1994.
For example, cancer patients can now live at home and even return to work with the aid of computerized pumps that deliver medications and precise dose frequencies and intensities. Portable ventilators allow babies with respiration problems to scoot around the floors of their own homes. Heart patients are monitors and treated at home by hospital-based teams using fiber-optic telecommunications. Such modern technologies, the expansion of Medicare benefits, and relatively low costs for at-home care have combined to make home health care the fastest growing segment of the health care industry and one of the fastest growing industries in the economy.
This excerpt is from an article published in the March 1995 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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