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An unfortunate part of aging can be losing the ability to take care of yourself. Whether you are living alone or with someone at your constant beck and call, the complication of being able to do less is a continual hardship. There are many solutions to dealing with such a struggle. One in particular that is becoming increasingly popular is home health care.
Home health care is essentially receiving services you would at a hospital or nursing facility inside your own home. The advantages to this in-home care are numerous.
For example, think of some services your daily week requires: laundry, grocery shopping, cooking. Now think of work you have trouble doing that is even more basic in scope: getting out of bed, taking a shower, eating, going to the bathroom. This is where home health care spans and fills the gaps of your need.
Of course, we’ve all heard this routine before. So how does home health care outweigh that of a nursing home?
The first way is basic, but something on everyone’s mind and that’s cost of care. As individuals who need care, or as family members looking to provide care for their elders, the most important decision is cost. No one wants to feel like a financial burden on another, nor does a friend or loved one wish to deal with the guilt of paying less for care that provides fewer services, if need be.
With home health care, one doesn’t have to worry about sacrificing care for cost. Since any individual receiving these services isn’t having to worry about being charged for the utilities of a facility or on-hand resources, the costs instantly dwindle. That leads us to the next advantage.
Remaining in your own home keeps you one step ahead of the game. There’s no having to find a sterile room or apartment at a larger facility and trying to make it your ‘own.’ There’s no better advantage than feeling safe in your surroundings and that’s the foremost provision of this care: you’ll get to feel comfortable sooner and faster than anywhere else.
The next way is by individualized attention. A person doesn’t just get home health care, but they can received skilled health services like speech therapy or physical therapy.
While the latter can sound daunting, they’re generally not. Often speech therapy begins with practicing new words or word games to help sharpen the mind. Physical therapy as well as occupational therapy can be easy pinpointing of symptoms: from hand stretches to limited weightlifting with the feet. The upshot is it’s one-on-one directed.
Overall, it’s important to think about home health care in terms of who is the one receiving the benefits. If an individual is struggling and not able to perform everyday maintenance in their life, they shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed or out of place to solve the issue. Home health care offers a reliable and personal treatment to the often expensive out-of-house care of nursing homes.
It can be extremely overwhelming to have a family member that requires constant care. A lot of us simply don’t have the time or the facilities to be on-hand at all times even though we might want to. You may experience feelings of guilt that you can’t do all that your family member needs and can’t be with them all the time. However, you are not alone. Today, millions of adults across the word are finding themselves in a position where they are juggling taking care of older relatives or parents and their own lives and career. Many people struggle so you shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty about your inability to do everything.
It can be hard to get the balance right between doing all you can for your elderly relative and looking after your own needs and this is why many people turn to home health care to help lighten the load. Home health care is a great way to ensure that you get the respite you need while making sure that your relative or parent is still looked after. In many cases, home health care is a necessity for families as it allows the career to get enough rest to ensure that they will be able to look after the elderly relative properly in the future.
There are many benefits involved in hiring home health care. The main advantage is that the person in question will be receiving the very best care possible. These people are trained medical staff and now how to look after your relative or parent properly. They will have years of experience and a wealth of expertise in dealing with emergency health situations so you really can trust them.
As well as providing essential medical care, home health care professionals will give the social interaction that your loved one really craves. No-one likes to be left on their own for long periods of time, and as much as they will love talking to you, they will also really enjoy interacting with other people. For some, home health care is their only connection to the world and without they feel lost.
The chances are you won’t always be available to help your loved one with their meals. If you worry that they aren’t eating nutritiously, that they aren’t eating at all or that they are skipping their medication then home health care could help. A member of staff can help your loved one with meal times and ensure that take their medication at the right times throughout the day.
Home health care workers can also help with any transport issues you may be having with your loved one. If you can’t get to them to take them to the doctors or any other appointment then they can do this for you and make sure that they get their safely.
There are so many more benefits to hiring home health care but the main one being that some of the pressure is taken off you and you can get back on track with your own life and responsibilities. Home health care really is a practical alternative to attempting to take on everything yourself. Home health care really can be a godsend for those people who don’t need continuous nursing help but who want to be cared for in the comfort of their own home. Most people feel most comfortable at home as it is the place where their family and friends can come and visit them and sometimes familiar surroundings can help aid recovery time. Home health care services vary depending on the personal needs of the person needing the care. For some, they just need some companion care whilst other suffer from more serious illnesses and require more complex medical monitoring.
Most seniors prefer and feel comfortable retiring in their own homes as much as possible when the need for long term care arises, regardless of their health condition. They would choose to receive care at home even if their health becomes physically exhausting and financially devastating.
Everyone must have heard of home health care and home care, but can’t figure out the difference of the two. The two services seem so related with each other, although the differences could be very trifling. Home health care service is directly related to medical services in line with home chores, while the latter is restricted to housekeeping and other personal care for the patient. Home health care can be used to assist a person recover from illness or injury. This may also include but not limited to speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy that patients with chronic condition might need. Home health care requires registered nurses, therapists and home health aides to ensure the health and safety of patients.
Perhaps the biggest question is how to determine if you are receiving quality home health care services. There are so many agencies where you can find help, but you may likely end up in a substandard company if you can’t figure out the qualities of a good home health care.
When hiring an independent home health caregiver, make sure to conduct extensive background check on that person to ensure he or she has no criminal background. You must interview the applicant and ask for references that you may check afterward. Before the interview, make sure you had prepared a detailed list of what a sick spouse or loved ones need, and then ask what specific services he or she can deliver. The screening will be less strenuous if you know what to expect and the qualities you are looking for.
Hiring a home health care professional through an agency would be more efficient, because it could lessen the screening process. Normally, these agencies have available staff ready for the work the moment the client needs the services. Good thing about this arrangement is you can meet that individual and discuss everything you expect from the job before he or she formally starts working. You must tell the provider all the details about your loved one:
•Health condition – illnesses or disability
•The drugs or treatments used and how they must be taken
•Behavioral problems – if the senior has unmanageable depression, fear, anger etc.
•Likes and dislikes
Other than those things, there may be other special requirements your loved one might need. For example, tell the caregiver what kind of clothing he or she needs every day to prevent any discomfort. The health provider should also know your contact number and other immediate family members in case of an emergency. Common things like where to find food, emergency kits, and how to fix household or medical appliances must be instructed to lessen the worry. Anticipating all the possible risks and changing needs of your loved one can help you become more prepared when any unexpected events happen.
More and more people are choosing home health care as an alternative to entering assisted living facilities. There are different levels of care available to individuals who wish to remain in their homes but who need a little extra help. Having these options make it possible for lots of folks to stay in their houses longer and live their own lives. There are several compelling reasons families are choosing this for their loved ones.
Better for the Well-Being of the Patient
Studies have shown that being allowed to stay at home and to maintain some level of independence is better for the patient’s overall health. Feeling “put away” can cause feelings of depression or hopelessness, which in turn may cause increased health problems. If a patient has a say in their own care, they feel much better and their body can recover and heal more efficiently. This is true even if they do decide to enter a nursing home, but simply having the option is a big help.
Comfortable and Convenient
When the time comes when someone needs a little special attention or care, it is important for them to be as comfortable as possible. A big change in their health condition is stressful enough. Sometimes, the best decision is to make sure they can stay in their own home where everything is familiar, so that there aren’t as many drastic changes all at once.
Not having to pack a bag or decide what can stay or go is another benefit to home health care. Everything is as it always was, but now there is someone there to help with the details.
The old stereotype about home health care is that it is not affordable except for the super-rich. This is not at all the case. An ever increasing number of health insurance providers are covering this type of care, and certain government programs can offer financial assistance.
Easier on Families
Home health care is a wonderful blessing for couples who need help for one person but not the other. The couple can stay together in their own home, but without the pressure of one person having to provide constant assistance to the other. The strain is off the partner, and the couple can simply enjoy being together. This also has health benefits for the partner.
Kids, grandkids, brothers and sisters might be helping out with the health care needs of an individual just so they can stay at home. With a home health care provider, the patient will receive professional assistance. The family members also benefit, because when they come to visit they can just spend quality time together instead of concerning themselves with all the health issues.
Home health care is a welcome option for many folks who are trying to decide how to plan for the future in light of their physical requirements. While a nursing home is still a very good option for many people, it is reassuring that there are choices out there to fit everyone’s individual needs.
Medicare can be perplexing, all the more so when you combine complex health issues and the need for medical aids such as oxygen or hospital beds. While the insurance maze can be difficult to traverse, an estimated 47.5 million people received this program in 2010, which is more than a sixth of the nation’s population.
Here is a brief overview and some answers to some commonly asked questions regarding Medicare and home health care.
1. Who qualifies?
Medicare is a national health insurance program provided by the U.S. government for those who are:
– 65 and older
– Under 65 with certain disabilities
– Diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), a form of permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant
2. What types of services does Medicare cover?
Medicare has four different coverage sections: Part A, B, C, and D. “Original Medicare” consists of Part A & B, while Part C is known as “Medicare Advantage Plan”. These four parts are summarized briefly:
– Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance
* Part A covers care while in hospital as well as health care in skilled nursing facilities, home health care, and hospice.
– Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance
* Part B covers doctor’s visits as well as visits to other health care providers. Additionally, Part B covers hospital outpatient care, durable medical equipment (like intravenous infusion devices), and home health care services. Part B also covers specific types of preventative services, such as getting certain vaccinations.
– Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage
* Part C combines health plan options you purchase from other private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Part C also integrates Medicare Prescription drug coverage (Part D) and can be tailored to include extra benefits at an extra cost.
– Medicare Part D: Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
* Part D covers the prescription of Medicare-approved prescription drugs and can lower the cost of other medications. Similar to Part C, Medicare-approved private insurance companies also run Part D.
3. Why do I need to choose between Medicare plans?
The choice of “Original Medicare” (Parts A & B) entails payment of monthly premiums for part B and may necessitate additional coverage to pay deductibles and coinsurance to see physicians, hospitals, and other providers who accept Medicare. If you require Prescription drug coverage, you must pay a monthly premium to join the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
The “Medicare Advantage Plan” (Part C, which covers Part A & B), also requires the payment of monthly premiums in addition to the Part B premium & a copayment for in-plan doctors, hospitals. If prescription medications are not covered by your supplemental coverage, you have the option of joining the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
As with prescription medications, you can purchase supplemental coverage to cover services not covered by Medicare. The “Original Medicare” plan allows for the option of buying Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap), while the “Medicare Advantage Plan” does not.
It is prudent to always check if you can take advantage of other additional coverage through your employer or union, military, or Veteran’s benefits.
4. Is home health care covered by Medicare?
The Medicare website states, “Medicare only covers home health care on a limited basis as ordered by your doctor”. As reviewed earlier, Parts A & B are the Medicare options which cover the home health care services specified by Medicare.
Coverage of home health care by Medicare in New Mexico stipulates you must meet the following criteria:
– You are currently receiving regular services from a physician. This physician must also maintain a care plan unique to you, which is reviewed regularly.
– Your physician must certify a “need” for specific medical services such as requirements for intravenous medication therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, or speech-language pathology services.
– The home health care agency providing you services must be Medicare-certified (for more details see below).
– Your physician must certify your health status as homebound, which is indicated by the following:
* Your health condition limits you from leaving the house.
* You are unable travel from home without help (i.e. transportation assistance such as aids or individuals).
* Leaving your home takes considerable effort and may be detrimental to your health condition.
5. My home health company does not take Medicare, why is this?
The Medicare-approval process is lengthy and costly, so while it may appear that many companies may not take Medicare, they may actually be in the process of becoming Medicare certified.
Furthermore, the Medicare criteria for individual qualifying to receive home health care are very strict; the reality is that many people who may apply for coverage by Medicare for their approved home health company services will not actually receive coverage. Currently, Medicare pays only about half of all health care costs to seniors. Medicare very often denies payment due to not meeting criteria, so it is essential to be aware if you meet these criteria prior to restricting yourself exclusively to Medicare-approved home health care companies.
It is crucial not to become overwhelmed by the complexities of Medicare, as there is a vast wealth of information on the Internet.
There are many things that seniors enjoy. They often enjoy the benefits of their life long work. They also enjoy their independence. As they age, many of their loved ones worry about their ability to stay in their home alone. Rather than give up their independence, they will investigate the options of home health care to satisfy their concerns.
As seniors advance in age, they can sometimes experience age related issues. Sometimes they aren’t able to do things they used to because they don’t have the energy to do them. Families don’t like seeing their loved ones lose the ability to do things and it makes them wonder if they are able to care for themselves in a sufficient manner. Instead of seniors bowing to pressure and moving into a nursing home, they find an agency that specializes in home health care and continue to live in their home.
When seniors look to find a home health care agency, they find there are many agencies that can help them. These agencies have many different services available to for them to choose from. When seniors are ready to decide, they normally will make an appointment to speak with a representative that can guide them through the process.
As the agency representative meets with their prospective client, they listen to the things that are being said. It is important for them to get a clear understanding of what the client needs. When seniors are looking for a home health care professional, not only are they answering questions, they are asking many questions so they can get an understanding of the programs and benefits.
Seniors are normally very honest in the things they need help with. They want to continue to live independently and to have a home health care professional work with them will ensure they are able to do so for as long as possible. These seniors have to consider many different things before they start the service.
Some seniors are in very good health. They are able to live independently and care for themselves very well. They sometimes have trouble doing certain things around their home because of their age but they can still manage their household. For seniors in this situation, having a home health care professional visit once a week may be ideal. They can help with errands that need to be run, correspondence or just to check their health. Seniors enjoy the help and they don’t feel they are being intruded upon.
There are other seniors that need more help from their home health care professional. Some seniors unfortunately have different medical or age related problems that interfere in their ability to care for themselves. Families worry and try to help them as much as possible but sometimes it’s not enough. For seniors in this position, they need a home health care professional to visit daily, helping with basic household chores and ensuring they are in good health. Many home care professionals also assist their clients with basic life skill activities such as bathing, brushing their teeth or even cooking.
Once seniors have decided the amount of help they need, the make arrangements with the home health care agency of their choice. These agencies are familiar with the struggles many seniors face and strive to ensure they are able to continue enjoying life and good health. Their families are relieved that their loved ones are able to continue their independence but allowing a medical professional to help.
What exactly is home health care and how do you enter this booming market? As indicated by its name, home health care is simply health care provided for those that require assistance in their home. It shouldn’t be confuse from basic home care, which does not account for the trained medical care that is provided.
In most cases, simple home care involves meeting the day to day needs of your loved one, like shopping, cleaning and errand running, and is mostly provided by friends or family. On occasion a companion is hired to perform these tasks. In contrast, home health care is usually provided by a trained professional. This may be a nurse, a therapist, or a home health aide.
To become a home health care professional, you will be required to receive some type of training. The training focus will usually center on home safety in regards to the patient. You will also receive training on how to deliver professional personal care, and how to properly use the equipment needed to assist those requiring home health care services.
The training required for the various positions can vary from on the job training to more advanced training that requires certification or a degree. The largest organization that offers training for home health care certification is the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. They offer various certification programs.
If you are in a current management position, you may want to become certified as a Home Care and Hospice Executive. If you want to receive a certification in the hands on training area, you can apply for the Home Care Aide National Certification program. No matter which certification you seek, you will need to re-certify every four years.
For the home care aides, the certification process will involve three elements that you must pass. You must pass the Training portion, the Skills Demonstration, and the Written Examination. The training portion requires a curriculum of 75 hours. This training will give you the medical skills to become fully certified.
The Skills Demonstration portion involves demonstrating competency in seventeen various skills. Demonstration of this competency comes from observation and documentation. The Written Examination is administered by the Home Care University. Obtaining your certification will ensure patients and clients that you are providing them with a higher standard of home care aide.
Whether you desire to enter this field in a management position, or as a hands-on care provider, the home health care industry has an increased need for professionals in this field. Because of our aging population, the need is expected to continue to rise through the next ten years or so. Obtaining your certification in this area will give you a leg up on your competition.
Providing the primary care for an elder loved one can be difficult. When you cannot deliver all the elder care yourself and support from friends, family, and community organizations is not enough, it may be useful to hire a home health care worker. He or she can offer care from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day, and can provide many other helpful services. Types of in-home health care services include:
General Health Management like administration of medication or other medical treatments
Personal care such as bathing, oral hygiene, dressing, and shaving
Nutrition help like preparing meals, assisting eating, and grocery shopping
Homemaking services including laundry, dishwashing, and light housework
Companionship for example reading to the senior or taking them on walks
Recruiting and Interviewing Applicants
There are many avenues for hiring a home health care employee. Generally, home health care workers can be hired directly or through an agency. Home health care agencies often have a staff that includes social workers and nurses that will manage your care. However hiring an independent home health care worker is generally more cost effective, it will also give you more control over the type of care you receive.
Senior home care workers should be carefully screened for proper training, qualifications, and temperament. Fully discuss the needs of the elder care recipient during an interview with a prospective home health care employee. There should be a written copy the job description and the type of experience you are looking for.
Have applicants fill out an employment form that includes the following information:
Date of birth
Social Security number
Before hiring, you should ask to see the senior home care worker’s licenses and certificates, if applicable, and personal identification including their social security card, driver’s license, or photo ID.
References should be checked out thoroughly. Prospective employees should provide the employer with names, dates of employment, and phone numbers of previous employers and how to contact them. It is best to talk directly to previous employers, rather than just to accept letters of recommendations. Also ask the applicant to provide or sign off on conducting a criminal background check
Special Points to Consider
Make sure the person you are considering hiring knows how to carry out the tasks the elder care recipient requires, such as transferring the senior to and from a wheelchair or bed. Training may be available, but make sure the worker completes the training successfully before hiring him or her.
No one should be hired on a seven-day-a-week basis. Even the most dedicated employee will soon burn out. All employees need some time to take care of their personal needs. No worker should be on call 24-hours a day. If the elder care recipient needs frequent supervision or care during the night, a family member or second home health care worker should be able to help out or fill in.
Live-in assistance may seem to be more convenient and economic than hourly or per-day employees but there can be drawbacks. Food and lodging costs must be calculated into the total cost of care, and it could be difficult to dismiss someone without immediate housing alternatives. If you decide to utilize a live-in arrangement, the employee should have his own living quarters, free time, and ample sleep.
Job Expectations and Considerations
Before hiring a senior home health care worker, you should go over the tasks you expect them to perform and other issues, such as promptness, benefits, pay scale, holidays, vacations, absences, and notification time needed for either employer or employee before employment is terminated. If you work and are heavily dependent on the home health care worker, emphasize the importance of being informed as soon as possible if he or she is going to be late or absent so that you can make alternative arrangements. Be clear about notification needed for time off, or what to do in the case the home health care worker experiences a personal emergency that requires them to abruptly leave work. It is important to have a backup list of friends, family, other home care workers, or a home health care agency you can call on.
Be clear about issues concerning salary, payment schedule, and reimbursement or petty cash funds for out of pocket expenses.
You should spend the day with the home health care worker on his first day to make sure you are both in agreement over how to carry out daily tasks. It would also be helpful to supply the home health care worker with a list of information on the elder care recipient such as: special diets, likes, dislikes, mobility problems, health issues, danger signs to monitor, possible behavior problems and accompanying coping strategies, medication schedule, therapeutic exercises, eye glasses, dentures, and any prosthetics.
You should also provide the following information to your home health care worker: your contact information, emergency contacts, security precautions and access to keys, clothing, and locations of washing/cleaning supplies, medical supplies, light bulbs, flashlights, fuse box, and other important household items.
Another big consideration in hiring a senior home care worker is how he or she is going to get to work. If they do not have a reliable car or access to public transit, then you might want to consider hiring someone to drive him or her, which might be more economical than using taxis. Inform your insurance company if the home health care worker is going to drive your car when caring for the senior. Your insurance company will perform the necessary driving background checks. If the home health care worker is using his or her car to drive the elder care recipient, then discuss use of her or his car, and conduct a driving background check.
Insurance and Payroll
Check with an insurance company about the proper coverage for a worker in your home.
Make sure all the proper taxes are being drawn from the employee’s check by contacting the Internal Revenue Service, state treasury department, social security, and the labor department. If you do not want to deal with the complexities of the payroll withholdings yourself, than you can hire a payroll company for a fee.
Even if your home health care worker is working as a contractor, you are still obligated to report the earnings to the IRS. Talk to your accountant or financial adviser about making sure you are following IRS rules.
You should protect your private papers and valuables in a locked file cabinet, safe deposit box, or safe. If you are unable to pick up your mail on a daily basis, have someone you trust do it, or have it sent to a post box. You should check the phone bill for unusual items or unauthorized calls. You should put a block on your phone for 900 numbers, collect calls, and long-distance calls.
Keep checkbooks and credit cards locked up. Review credit card and bank statements on a monthly basis, and periodically request credit reports from credit reporting agencies. Lock up valuable possessions or keep an inventory of items accessible to people working in the house.
You can help to prevent elder abuse to your loved one by:
Make sure the home health care worker thoroughly understands his or her responsibilities, the elder care recipient’s medical problems and limitations, and how to cope with stressful situations.
Do not overburden the home health care worker.
Encourage openness over potential problems.
The following are possible signs of elder abuse or neglect:
Crying, whimpering, or refusing to talk
Poor personal hygiene
Disorganized or dirty living conditions
Signs of inappropriate sedation, such as confusion, or excessive sleeping
Mysterious bruises, pressure sores, fractures, or burns
If you suspect abuse, act immediately. Do not wait until the situation turns tragic. Investigate the situation by talking to the elder care recipient in a safe situation, or install monitoring equipment. Examples of abusive behavior include yelling, threatening, or over controlling behavior that could involve isolating the senior from others. If the situation is serious, you should replace the home health care worker as quickly as possible. If you fear the elder care recipient is in danger, he or she should be separated from the home health care worker as soon as possible. Place the elder care recipient with a trusted relative or in a respite care facility. Make sure your loved one is safe before confronting the home health care worker, especially if there is concern about retaliation.
Report the situation to Adult Protective Services after ensuring the safety of the elder care recipient. The police should be contacted in the case of serious neglect, such as sexual abuse, physical injury, or misuse of funds.
Supervising a Home Health Care Worker
The most important thing to remember after hiring a home health care worker is to keep the lines of communication open. You should explain the job responsibilities clearly, and your responsibilities to the home health care worker. Do not forget that the home health care worker is there for the elder care recipient and not the rest of the family. For live-in arrangements, the maximum amount of privacy should be set up for the home health care worker’s living quarters. Meetings should be set up on a regular basis to assure that problems are nipped in the bud. If conflicts cannot be resolved after repeated attempts, than it is best to terminate the employee. In such a case, you may have to either place the elder care recipient in a nursing home temporarily or hire a home health care worker through an agency. Reserve funds should be kept on hand in the case of such an emergency.
General Eligibility Requirements for Home Care Benefits
Hiring a home health care worker directly is usually less expensive than hiring through a home health care agency; but if the elder care recipient is eligible and you wish to use assistance from Medicare, you must hire someone through a certified home health care agency. For the senior patient to be eligible, three or more services must be ordered by a physician. Other factors or eligibility are the required need for skilled nursing assistance, or one of the following therapies: physical, speech or occupational. The elder care recipient’s medical needs will determine asset and income requirements.
Hiring Home Health Care Workers through Home Health Care Agencies versus Independently
Different health professionals can assess the elder care recipient’s needs. A nurse or social worker can help with design and coordination of a home care plan. Your care manager, doctor, or discharge planner can help with services being covered by Medicare. They generally help make the arrangements with a home care agency.
You should ask the home health care agency how they supervise their employees, and what kind of training their employees receive. Find out the procedures for when an employee does not show up. Also ask about the fee schedule and what it covers, there may be a sliding fee schedule. Furthermore, find out if they have a policy for minimum or maximum hours. Ask the agency if there are any limitations on the types of tasks performed.
Especially if you have to pay for the care services yourself, find out if there are any hidden costs such as transportation. If all the costs for hiring a care worker through an agency become too much, you may want to consider hiring directly.
Hiring independent home health care workers is not only more economical than using an agency, but it also allows more direct control over the elder care.
Home Health Care in Los Angeles
Home health care is health care that is provided to patients inside their home, and usually by either health care professionals or family and friends. The term “home care” suggests that the care provided is non-medical and more of a custodial nature, whereas “home health care” may suggest licensed staff members. The differences here are similar to the differences between assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Much like assisted living facilities, home health care lets seniors enjoy a good measure of independence. An elderly individual or couple will appreciate having privacy as well as assistance in daily living needs.
What Home Health Care Provides
What kind of services does home health care provide? Home health care may help seniors with daily living needs such as bathing, dressing, house keeping and cooking and dining preparation. Depending on the needs of the resident, there may be special provisions such as transportation services and errands, volunteer programs, exercise and walking, and toileting assistance. More extensive forms of home health care would also provide rehabilitation programs, including visits from physical therapists and nurses. Other qualified home health care professionals may include respiratory nurses, occupational nurses, social workers, mental health workers and physicians.
Who pays for home health care? This type of outside assisted living program can be paid by private resources from the resident or family, by public payers such as Medicare and Medicaid or by employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Medicare will usually not pay for home health care on a long term basis while Medicaid is more likely to help low-income families with little or no assets. Employer-sponsored home health care is likely to be on a short term basis unless the insurance plan is very generous. Most of the time home health care will be paid for by a family’s own resources.
Comparing Home Health Care with Assisted Living
How does home health care compare with in-house stays at nursing homes and assisted living facilities? Most seniors would prefer home health care, of course, as people always do value their privacy. However, there are also circumstances that would necessitate constant supervision of the resident at an assisted living facility, and not only occasional visits. Home health care is basically assisted living, but with even more independence. Therefore a resident that cannot be left alone for long periods of time would be better suited in a nursing or board and care type home.
It might appear that home health care would be cheaper than a stay in a nursing home. However, home health care costs can be just as expensive, depending on the number of hours aides work. Some residents have admitted that full time home health care usually costs twice as much as a stay in a board and care or assisted living home. Most home health care agencies will charge about $20.00 an hour or over. If the resident is relatively independent then the fees associated with the service can be controlled. However, don’t forget that if your needs are minimal to begin with, you could hire a trusted individual to perform the same tasks and save money from paying an agency fee.
Home health care is ideal for seniors who feel well and can easily get around but who need occasional doctor visits and help with housekeeping. It is also a preferable choice if a senior needs full time care but does not want to become a resident in a public nursing home. Full time home health care provides the most privacy and personal attention possible. If you are looking for this type of senior assistance, you should always be mindful of the qualifications of workers, as opening one’s home to a stranger could always be a security risk. The best home health care agencies have screened workers who are well qualified in their field.
How We Can Help You
ElderHomeFinders is a company dedicated to helping seniors locate assistance in the southern California area. We inspect assisted living facilities and retirement communities in the area so that our clients will find the perfect home at a price they can afford. Can ElderHomeFinders also help seniors find home health care? Yes. Our company can put you in touch with the right home health care agency, according to your special needs and budget limitation. We can also advise you on the differences between home health care services and assisted living and board and care facilities and which choice would better work for you. Seniors have worked hard all their life and surely deserve the best health care possible – whether in a senior living facility or in their own home.