Working in home health, you will rely upon your equipment to provide accurate results and keep your patients safe. Below is a list of equipment you must have, along with easy, cost effective links for obtaining this equipment quickly.
Thermometer (forehead or disposable tip)
A forehead thermometer does not require touching the patient, therefore, it doesn’t require cleaning. It is important to keep in mind that some medications can raise the temporal temperature, so if you are taking a temperature temporally, you should notate this in your documentation.
You can also purchase an ear thermometer or oral thermometer, along with disposable tips. These tend to have a higher initial cost, but the tips can be obtained in bulk for pennies a piece.
Blood Pressure Cuff
You may choose between an automatic or manual blood pressure cuff. Please keep in mind that an automatic blood pressure cuff must be calibrated every 2 years to provide accurate results. Should an auditor perform an in-home survey, they will ask to see this calibration card, which you will receive from the manufacturer. It may be beneficial to keep a manual blood pressure cuff as a back up in your trunk in the event that your calibration period lapses.
Stethoscope (Heart rate monitor)
Heart rate can be obtained without the use of a stethoscope, though a good stethoscope will last a lifetime and make your job much easier!
Pulse Oximetry Monitor
In 2018 Medicare updated their Conditions of Participation (COP) to clarify that O2 Saturation is a common vital to be taken for all patients. This is an adjustment upon previous regulations that this vital is only taken if the patient has orders and a qualifying diagnosis. Regardless of these regulatory changes, it has always been important to have a pulse ox monitor for the occasions you must take it (such as if the patient has COPD or CHF).
It is highly recommended you have a dedicated bag to place your supplies and equipment in. A bag with a strap allows you to keep the bag on your body if you are unable to place it down in the patient’s home.
Safety Precaution Supplies
In home health you must follow safety precautions to protect the sensitive population, so having alcohol based hand sanitizer, a protective barrier (e.g. wax paper or a paper towel) for under your bag, gloves, and alcohol wipes, is vital to keep you and your patients safe.
Equipment used during visits will vary depending upon your treatments and discipline. You may choose to obtain an ice pack, gait belt for walking, therabands for strengthening, or other equipment to ensure your patients achieve their maximum benefit from home health. OT’s may wish to purchase a ‘hip kit’ to demonstrate adaptive equipment. A foldable stepping stool may be used to sit on or place a bag on.
Common equipment is listed below.