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Home Care Guide
Home care services are delivered at home to recovering, disabled, chronically or terminally ill persons in need of medical, nursing, social, or therapeutic treatment and personal assistance with the essential activities of daily living (ADR).
There are approximately 33,000 home care providers that care for individuals suffering from long-term health conditions, acute illness, terminal illness, permanent disability, and a wide variety of temporary conditions. The rate of usage of home health care is much higher for women than for men. Interestingly, a new study say "More than 80% of home health care patients aged 65 years and over had a primary caregiver outside of the home health care agency" and with men it is usually their spouse who is the primary caregiver and for women it is usally their child or nonspousal family member. .
Examples of skilled in homehealthcare services include: Skilled nurshing services, physical and occupational therapy, wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound, speech-language therapy,dietary counseling and assisted with what is called the activities of daily living - like eating, getting dressed, like getting in and out of bed (sometimes called trasfers) bathing, and using the bathroom, as well as routine chores such as cooking, housekeeping, laundry, errands, bathing, medication reminders, and bill-paying. Source: CDC.gov
There are several home care organizations including home health care agencies, home care organizations, and hospice organizations. Some of these organizations are certified by Medicare, which allows the providers to bill Medicare for reimbursement. Not all in-home care agencies are Medicare certified.
We feature Home Care Provider listings for various Metro areas and these pages can be accessed with the links in the left column of this page. Many Home Care Agencies will provide both in-home care and home care services to a client who resides in independant living communities, assisted living or skilled nursing facilities.
Tips for Finding Health Care Providers
Contact several health care providers and interview them in person either outside your home in a public place or in your home. Meeting the person who will be working with you is important to see if there is a match and it feels right. If it does't then move on to another provider.
Make a list of the tasks that you need help with. See what services the healt care person provides. Can they meet your needs? Maybe the home care person can tell you about other tasks they perform that you are not aware of that could be of service to you.
Find out what is covered and what the fees are. Is there a contract and what are the cancellation provisions. Can you request a different person with the same company if needed?
Check references of the home care provider. Check as many as you can. Are they really impressed with the service or just so-so in their recommendations. Ask questions and see how similiar their situation is to yours.
Find out if background checks have been done by the provider on the persons coming into your home. If you are hiring an independent person for home care, you need to complete the background checks yourself. You can use the Internet and your local police department even legal aid services to find companies that provide this service.
Who is Home Care For?
Typically, in-home care is the preferred method of care when an individual prefers to stay at home, but still has ongoing needs that go beyond the scope or ability of family and friends. There is a current trend of elderly people that are choosing home care because they desire to live independent lives away from an institution, but cannot adequately care for themselves.
Younger people who are permanently disabled or recovering from acute illnesses are electing to go with in-home care as well. Infants and children suffering from acute and chronic illnesses are also able to receive home care because of advancements in mobile medical treatment options and technology.
Home Care services are often necessary for Seniors who choose to age in place. Aging in place is defined as being able to live in one’s home while still receiving the necessary services and goods even as needs change. Senior Centers can also help aging in place by providing services such as meals programs, transportation, information and referrals, and a wide range of activities designed to keep seniors active and socially engaged.
Many , which allow seniors or retired persons to live independently, have optional in-home health care services available. These services are either provided by an in-house home health care staff or an outside home health care agency which has a professional relationship with the Senior Apartment company.
Aging in place can be made much easier with home modifications to improve mobility and to make your home more comfortable for you and everyone of all ages. Universal designs features like shower grab bars, wide door ways, lelvers not door knobs, ramps instead of stairs and a bathroom on the main level. Some home care professionals can recommend improvements to your home to make it more livable.
Also there are day programs outside of the home, called senior daycare, which can keep you busy and active and also provide socialzation with friends during the day. Mostly social but some of these day care programs provide some limited health services as well.
Home Care Statistics
Medicare is the largest payer of home health care services with Medicaid not far behind. In 2009, Medicare monies accounted for over 40 percent of all home health care expenditures. In order to cover home health care, Medicare and other health insurance plans have certain requirements, for example, Medicare requires you to be “ homebound ”, which it defines as:
- Leaving your home isn’t recommended because of your condition
- Your condition keeps you from leaving home without help (such as using a wheelchair or walker, needing special transportation, or getting help from another person)
- Leaving home takes a considerable and taxing effort
Anyone interested in receiving in-home care services should contact
their insurance plan first for information and requirements. For additional
information related to Medicare coverage please visit Medicare.gov.
A 2009 study commissioned by AARP showed that over 65% of home care givers are women. The study also showed that nearly 90% are informal in-home care givers watching after a relative. The average caregiver is a 50 year old female who provides care of more than 20 hours per week. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics there are approximately one million individuals employed in home care organizations.