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America has a highly developed health care system which is available to all people Although it can be very complex and frustrating at times it has come a long way from the health care organizations of yesterday Previously most health care facilities were a place where the sick were housed and cared for until death Physicians rarely practiced in hospitals and only those who were fortunate could afford proper care at home or in private clinics Today the level of health care has excelled tremendously Presently the goal of our health care is to have a continuum of care for the patient one which is integrated on all levels Many hospitals offer a referral service or discharge plan to patients who are being discharged Plans for the patient are discussed with a discharge planner The discharge planner is a person who is trained in assessing what the patients requirements for health care will be after discharge from the hospital This enables the patient to continue their care at a level which is most appropriate for them Items reviewed for discharge planning include but are not limited to therapies medication needs living arrangements and identification of specific goals A few of the options that are available for persons being discharged from an acute care hospital can include home health care assisted living facilities long term care or hospiceAccording to Growing Old in America 1996 Home health care is one of the fastest growing segments of the health care industry p 114 Alternatives for home care can meet both the medical and non-medical needs of a patient These services are provided to patients and their families in their home or place of residence Home care is a method of delivering nursing care and other therapies as required by the patients needs Numerous alternatives are available for persons seeking health care at home With transportable technologies such as durable medical equipment oxygen supply and intravenous fluids there are
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