Selecting a Home Care Agency

Home Care is a health care or personalized support care offered by a private caregiver within the person’s home, rather than care given in nursing homes or group facilities such as clinics. Homecare has also been called domiciliary care, community care, or personal care. It can be provided by anyone who considers themselves capable of providing a nurturing environment. Often children in family situations are the subject of this type of care and may receive help with everyday tasks, including:

Assisted living facilities are an option for elderly people who don’t require specialized personal care but who need assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, dressing, and getting up and down from the bed. These living arrangements offer many benefits; however, they are typically expensive and place a significant financial strain on caregivers. Many seniors who live in independent living apartments and stay in long-term health care facilities or nursing homes receive home care services. This helps them maintain their independence and continue to live independently.

There are a variety of services that home care services may offer. A physical therapist may help patients with mobility or balance problems. A dental hygienist cleans and inspects a patient’s mouth before doing a cleaning session to avoid tooth decay. A speech pathologist provides communication therapy to improve the verbal communication skills of seniors. An occupational therapist provides training in using the equipment that may be needed for activities of daily living.

Assisted-living facilities may provide a daily activity or situation-specific program to help with everyday activities, such as grooming, cooking, light housework, and shopping. The staff can assist with bathing, walking, and basic exercise. The program may include using medical devices that are prescribed by the doctor, participating in an activity-specific plan, or helping a senior maintain independence through simple tasks, like bathing or getting dressed. Seniors who experience chronic illness or disability may qualify for a program that involves both the caregiver and the client.

When evaluating caregivers, it’s important to assess not only their competencies but the personal characteristics that may affect the home care needs of a loved one. Assesses should include family members, friends, co-workers, and the agency itself. Interviewing potential caregivers should include obtaining details about their casework history, any prior experience with assisted living, and any recommendations they may have. One of the most common mistakes made is hiring an agency without confirming its competency. If a homeowner wants to hire an in-home caregiver, there are many online resources to do so. It’s important to make sure that the individuals being considered are trained and capable of providing the specific assistance needed.

The elderly may require daily living assistance such as companionship and assistance with bathing. Some homeowners desire this level of assistance because they’ve experienced accidents that leave them unable to dress or get to the bathroom on their own. In addition, a few seniors who live alone may be lonely and/or frustrated by their condition and need an extra pair of hands. This type of service can also provide companionship.

Most agencies will offer complimentary drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment if a resident is enrolled in a Medicaid program. A few companies will cover home health care expenses for individuals who are eligible for Medicare but are not covered by their private insurance. If the senior has Medicaid, the agency may pay for part or all of their in-home medical and personal care assistance. Home and community health aide programs are also available for Medigap applicants.

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It’s important to understand the difference between short-term and long-term care services before hiring an agency. Long-term nursing care is provided under a patient’s wing until they’re able to return to living on their own. Short-term services are often provided for those who are recovering from an injury or surgery and don’t require daily housekeeping assistance.

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