Medicare does cover home safety assessments. The home safety assessment or evaluation must be ordered by the beneficiaries’ primary care physician. The home health care agency will bill Medicare, then your Part B benefits will pay for the assessment.
5 Medicare Home Safety Assessment Categories
The assessor will observe and discuss with you the following issues as they are relevant.
Five categories to assess during a home safety assessment:
- Fire Response (performed for all patients)
- Exit procedures – do you have a plan
- Smoke detectors – are they working.
- Fire extinguisher – do you have one
- Cause of fires and fire prevention – do you understand
Assessing the Structure of a Home
The intention is to confirm the floor is solid with no potential for holes causing persons to fall.
Structural limitations include:
- Floor strength
- Adequate door width
- Adequate ventilation
- Equipment location acceptable
- Home suitable for equipment/ service
Also, any stairs must be in good shape, and you must repair loose boards. The door width for an interior door is 36 inches standard.
But, both 30 and 32 inches are available. A wheelchair is 32 inches wide. A standard 36-inch-wide door is a preference.
Then, there would be no need to retrofit the existing door should a wheelchair be necessary.
Home Fall Risk Safety Assessment
While the statics show that 1 in 4 Americans over age 65 fall each year. Falling isn’t inevitable, and most falls can be prevented with a willingness to make a few changes.
Fall risk assessments include:
- Throw rugs or runners
- Loose carpeting
- Extension cords in walkways
- Uses O2 tubing over 25 feet
- Clutter environment objects blocking the walkways
- Pets in a home that could cause a fall
Consider removing and replacing any loose carpeting. Further, don’t use extension cords in the walkways. If you have throw rugs on the floor, consider double-sided tape or a non-slip backing to prevent falls.
Tape cords and wires next to a wall. As tempting as it might be to save old magazines or books, everything needs to be off the floor. Modifications can change your living environment and allow you to stay in your house.
You can add handrails, remove clutter, and add physical activity to your daily living.
Fire Hazard Assessment
The use of home oxygen is commonplace. But, most users may not be aware that oxygen under high pressure can be volatile.
Fire Hazards of oxygen can include:
- Dangers of smoking– are there smoking materials in the home
- Post a “no smoking” sign– due to the potential for open flames
- Placement of oxygen– The patient or caregiver understand fire safety instructions.
- Placement of back up oxygen
Home Electrical Safety Assessment
The assessor reviews these points when you obtain specific medical equipment. But, a home ventilator machine would require an assessment of the home’s electrical system.
Electrical factors include:
- Sufficient electricity
- Safe wiring
- Power strips
How to Get Medicare Coverage for a Home Safety Assessment
You may be eligible for a home safety assessment if a doctor orders one due to a recent hospitalization. Also, those with home health care could be eligible for evaluation. Some non-profits provide home safety assessments for fall prevention.
The National Aging Council can help with eligibility for a home safety assessment. Then, a physical or occupational therapist can do the evaluation. The assessment falls under Part B; a Medigap plan can help cover the costs you'd otherwise pay.
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