Senior Assisted Living Vs. Home Health Care: Which One Is for Me?

Being unable to keep up with your home or having difficulty with everyday tasks such as taking a shower or getting dressed is frustrating. Realizing you cannot do it on your own anymore can be scary; however, you are not alone.

There is no shame in needing and asking for help. That is why senior assisted living programs and home health assistance programs are available. Choosing a senior assisted living or home health care program doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It is important to be informed and aware of all senior health care options. When you have all the facts, it is much easier to make the decision that will best suit your needs.

Home health care allows you to remain in your home while a nurse/aid visits to help you with any daily activities you would normally struggle with on your own. This can mean anything from bathing to administering medications to preparing meals. Normally, people who choose home health care are more enabled than people who choose a senior assisted living program. A senior living program combines housing with assistance for everyday life activities.

If you find yourself unsure of which one to choose, it is wise to read the checklist below to help you decide what health care assistance program is right for you.

Mobility – Do you find it difficult or painful to get out of bed in order to begin your daily activities? Do you find it difficult to move around your home? Are you unable to drive or with no reliable transportation to get groceries or go to appointments? It’s important to understand that a senior help living community provides reliable transportation for any needed trips. Assisted living also provides services such as housework, cleaning, and laundry, so you don’t have to worry about your limited mobility.

Personal Care – Are simple tasks such as eating or dressing yourself too difficult due to pain or illness? Can you accomplish some life tasks, but not others? Home care is not 24/7, but it can be arranged to suit your needs at the times you need them. If you are totally unable to take care of yourself or your home, an assisted living program with its 24/7 available assistance might be a better choice.

Medical Issues – Do you suffer from an illness or disease that limits what you can and cannot do? Is it hard for you to administer your medication on your own? A home health care nurse/aid can help you administer medication at your home. An assisted living program can help with any medical treatment required and are on call 24/7.

By knowing the answer to these questions, you will better understand your wants and needs. Talk to your health care provider about these topics, especially if you answered “yes” to any of the questions above. Home health care and senior assisted living programs invest in your safety and satisfaction. There are over 31,000 senior assisted living programs nationwide. You are not alone.

How to Effectively Use an Interim Home Health Care Manager

Whether it’s planned or it happens suddenly, losing a leader in your home health care agency can disrupt business and leave you feeling rudderless. With the industry more competitive than ever, lack of leadership for even a short period of time makes a huge impact. Interim home health care management prevents these disruptions from harming your business and puts you back on the path to growth.

Working with interim managers lets you take advantage of the skills of an experienced home care professional and helps you better meet the needs of your clients. They can operate as your CEO, CFO, COO, or fill any other management position to refocus your agency and implement change. But for an interim home health care manager to be successful, you and your employees need to take a few steps to make the most out of the experience.

Why Hire an Interim Manager?
In addition to the obvious benefits of bringing in executives with the right experience, you also know you can trust their motives. After all, they have no history with your agency and no axe to grind. All politics aside, they’re just there to put their talents to good use and put your agency back on track. They help you develop short- and long-term goals and recommend cost-effective solutions to make your agency competitive. An interim home health care manager can also be flexible to work around your schedule and take on multiple roles.

Use an Organizational Assessment
You will want to work with an interim manager who begins by performing a thorough organizational assessment. This audit takes a close look at all of your systems, people, and processes to uncover problem areas and understand your operations. It also ensures the interim management services are aligned with your agency’s needs and goals. After getting a clear picture of your agency’s strengths and weaknesses, an interim home health care manager can then develop a plan to achieve your specific goals. Keep in mind that this may require organizational restructuring too.

Be Open and Ready to Change
You bring in interim home health care managers for a reason. While it may be hard to hear some of the things that need to change in your agency, remember that they have no personal stake or attachment to your agency. Your agency’s growth and development are at the center of every decision, so the advice they provide is for the greater good of the company. All you have to do is be ready to change and follow their lead.

What’s Your Opportunity?
Whether your agency is in transition or has an immediate need, approach this time as an opportunity to develop your agency into a leader in your market. Put an interim home health care manager to work for your business to solve your short-term challenges and achieve long-term goals. By providing valuable insight into your company that a traditional manager may not be able to offer, an interim manager can help guide your growth and sustain your success well into the future.

Want to learn more about your options for interim home health care management? Call 206.721.5091 or schedule an appointment online with the experts at Kenyon HomeCare Consulting to discover the ideal solution for your agency. Visit http://www.KenyonHCC.com.

Ginny Kenyon is the founder and CEO of Kenyon HomeCare Consulting. Ginny’s knowledge and passion for helping clients achieve success defines the mission of her company. She worked as an administrator in Public Health, Home Health, Hospice, and Private Duty home care for the last 27 years. She has a strong background in operations and program development through her experience with the visiting nurse services, national home health companies, and working with investors in startup companies.

4 Tips For Finding The Best Home Health Care Provider

Home health care is a delicate matter and must be handled with tact and commitment. There may come a time when a parent or other elderly loved one is no longer able to safely support themselves on their own. Home health care is a viable alternative to sending someone to a nursing home and is a convenient option that enables your loved one to get the care they need without having to be uprooted from their home. With an enormous amount of options, it can be tricky to find the best service but continue reading and you will discover several easy tips for finding a high quality home health care provider.

Get References/Recommendations

Any successful home health care provider should have references or recommendations readily available. Talk to your loved one’s doctors, attorney, financial advisor and other members of the community that may know of companies that offer a premium quality service. Your local Area Agency on Aging will have a list of providers you can look at. If this agency or a hospital social work department can give a recommendation that would be great because they rarely do so and tend to save such references for the very best services.

Find Out Your Liability

Whenever you hire a private home health care provider, please understand that there will be certain liabilities involved. Be sure to learn more about insurance, taxes, worker’s compensation, training and background checks before making any decisions. If you use an employment agency to make a hire for example, you could become the official employer of the caregiver which means responsibility for payment, taxes and numerous other obligations.

Analyze Their Equipment

Only consider home health care providers that use cutting edge communications and monitoring technology. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. For example: How long does it take the service provider to find out if their employee has not turned up? How do they communicate with you? Do they provide online monitoring? Be specific with your questions and don’t be fobbed off by vague answers.

Know Your Provider

As this company will be responsible for taking care of your loved one, you need to learn more about them and how they operate. Find out if they allow you and your loved one to interview candidates for the job and get information on how they train and support their team. Additionally, you need to find out how many different caregivers will be responsible for providing care. It is best if only 1-2 staff members are involved to maintain continuity. Your loved one should not be subjected to the confusion of having several different strange people in his/her home.

Remember that home health care is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution and the company you choose should have the ability to provide a service specifically tailored to the needs of your loved one. The home care agency you choose should be licensed and subject to state regulations but there will always be qualifications and skills that sets one provider apart from all the rest. Don’t settle for second-rate home health care, do your research and ensure the person you love receives the best level of attention and support possible.

The Benefits Of Home Health Care

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.

8 Questions to Ask Your Home Health Care Agency Or Nurse

If you are in the process of finding a home care services agency or if you are considering hiring a home care nursing aide or a home health care physical therapist or occupational therapist, it is critical to find out their qualifications.

We assembled a list of 8 questions you can ask the home care agency to ensure that you are choosing the right provider for your needs.

1) What is the background of the home care company & how long have they been in business?

You want to find a reputable in home nursing agency that has been in business for a number of years and has a successful track record. Most newer home nursing care agencies haven’t been around long enough to build a proven track record or a list of red flags.

So, it’s important to find out as much information about the company as possible. You can do this by finding information on who owns the company and what role the ownership plays in the type and levels of service.

2) What are the home nursing care agencies qualifications, certifications, experience and training of their home care aides and nurses?

It’s extremely important to find out about the credentials of the home health aides and nurses that the home care company sends to your home.

Make sure their home health aides and nurses are certified and have received adequate training.

3) How does the home nursing care agency monitor care and can the family provide feedback?

Find out if there are any quality assurance measures in place. Many home health care agencies periodically visit the home of the client or make regular calls to gather client feedback.

If this is not the case, find out how a family member can provide feedback on the quality of care or who they may contact in the home care agency to have any questions answered.

4) Are there any home visits or assessments that take place prior to home health care services beginning?

Find out if there are any options available that allow the family members, client and the home care agency representative to meet prior to the start of services. Most reputable home nursing care agencies offer free consultations.

5) Does the agency have a current operating license in their respective state or city?

It is important to find out if the home health care agency has a current and valid license to operate in their respective city or state. This often overlooked aspect is the most important factor in choosing a home health care agency.

6) How does the home nursing care company work with your doctor in developing a plan of care?

Most agencies work directly with your doctor in planning for your care, especially if the client requires care that is beyond the scope of activities related to activities of daily living.

7) Can the home care company provide references or testimonials?

Most reputable home health care companies can provide references from doctors, nurses, social workers and even clients if requested. They may even have a page on their website that is dedicated to providing this type of information to potential clients.

8) What happens if a home health aide or nurse is absent from the agency on a particular day?

If the home health care provider is required to take a day off for illness or another emergency, what type of protocol is put in place by the home health care company to cover the absence?

There are usually plans put in place to ensure that the client receives that continuity of care in the event of an absence by their home care provider or nurse.

5 Things To Consider When Integrating Your Home Health Care With Medicare

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.

Home Health Care Services – Allowing Those Who Need Help To Live Independent Lives

Old age can keep us from doing things we once thought were easy. As we grow older, living on our own can become something of a struggle. However, home care and home health care services can provide the elderly or sick with the aid and activity they need on a daily basis, allowing them to continue living an independent life.

With over one million people making use of home health care, it has proven to be a successful alternative to long-term nursing facilities. A normal home care service consists of a nurse or aid visiting the patient’s home every day to help assist with whatever needs assisting. This can vary from simply cooking meals and housecleaning to providing the patient with physical therapy and medicine. No aspect of what a patient needs is overlooked, and every patient is treated differently according to his or her needs. While one patient might need help keeping maintenance of his or her home and minor physical therapy, another may require help in being bathed and fed. Nurses are trained to be attentive to any potential needs their patient may have.

The need for home health care isn’t always clearly determined. It is a good idea to consult with a doctor before deciding whether you or someone you know should seek the aid of home health care services. Consulting with a doctor may also help you financially. If your doctor confirms the need for home services and orders it, financial burden can be lifted off your shoulders through Medicare. Research the agency you use to make sure they can do whatever needs to be done to aid you or a loved one. Check if the nurses are licensed and trained. This research can help prevent any problems along the way.

One important thing to remember is that home care services and home health care services are different. While home care may provide the elderly with daily check-ups and domestic services, home health care includes helping a patient recover from an ailment, such as a heart attack or stroke. Depending on what is required, you might want to make sure that those you’d be hiring are licensed therapists or nurses.

Home health care is a great way to provide yourself or a loved one with the aid and medical treatment that’s needed on a daily basis. It allows patients to live healthy lives without encroaching on their independence. If you or someone you know is not ready to go to a long-term nursing facility, home health care is a viable alternative that might just be worth looking into.

Is Home Health Care For You?

To find out if the disabled person a disabled person is in need of home health care assistance, you should seek the advice of a physician. Be sure to find out the patient you are considering requires professional home health care or home care services.

Professional home health care services givers include the medial aspect such as nurses, therapists, home health care assistants, and other licensed and certified medical caregivers. They are present to administer skilled care to the patient.

Home care services are provided to those who need assistance with tasks such as house cleaning, running errands, cooking, and just being around to assist if the patient needs other tasks such as these performed.

Social workers also play a part in home health care. They can provide counseling for emotional and social problems that the patient may be experiencing. They will direct those who need it to community resources which are available to them. They have various other services to offer as well.

Companions are another part of the care giving team. They are the ones who provide companionship to people who can not stay by themselves. If a disabled person stays by their self having a companion there to assist them can help if an emergency situation should occur.

To be assured that you have the best quality home health care for your disabled family member speak with others who are having or have had the same experience as you are going through.

Make sure that the home health caregiver that you request is experienced in care giving. The caregiver’s supervisor should manage the care provided to make sure the patient is receiving quality health care.

Whether you are hiring a home health care provider on your own or through an agency be sure to conduct an interview. Go over the needs of the patient and make sure the caregiver is capable of providing the type care that the patient needs. Advise the caregiver on medications, physical and mental problems that the patient may have, and how to deal with them. Make sure they know where everything is situated in the house which pertains to patient care. It will help in case of an emergency.

The payment for home health care services may be paid by the patient or some such as a family member. Medicare, under certain guidelines, will pay for skilled caregivers. There are others such as Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, and Social Services have programs which assist qualified patients. There are various other payers such as private insurances and more.

If the cause of illness is a work related incident workers compensation could pay for the home health care needed. In any case, the actual cost of home health care depends on which state the patient resides in.

Home Health Care Insurance

There are various insurance policies that help pay for or totally cover the costs of home health care. Consumers are reminded to be very cautious when shopping, comparing and buying home health care insurance policies because coverage is often limited. Considering the limitations and loopholes that home health care insurance has, they may be more expensive than other insurance policies. Home health care may only be accounted for by comprehensive insurance policies with pay benefits for nursing homes, assisted living communities, and adult day care.

Types of Home Health Care Insurance

The different types of home health care insurance depend on each policy’s extent of coverage when paying for home health care services. Private insurance usually only pays for part of the home health care costs which include personal and hospice care. Managed care insurance plans may offer some help with home health care costs if the home health care provider is Medicare-certified, these plans also require hefty premiums.

There are also existing home care policies which actually pays for the excess amounts that your original insurance policy does not cover. These supplemental insurance policies cover additional payments on home medical equipment as well. Long-term care insurance cover most medical and nursing services including licensed home health care costs. They may even include personal care as well as services incurred for the upkeep and maintenance of the policyholder’s home. Long term care insurance is paid for in monthly installments based on the individual’s age and health conditions. Many times, the benefits may only be reaped after a pre-defined waiting period, or when the insurance company decides the financial assistance is actually necessary.

Originally, long term care insurance policies were intended to pay for a lengthy stay in a nursing home, yet because of the public demand and preference for home health care, a lot of long term care insurance policies now cover in-home services which may vary greatly according to plans. Considerations regarding pre-existing health conditions and prior hospitalizations usually limit the coverage of these insurance policies.

Home Health Care Certification

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.