Home Care is non-medical support or medical care offered directly by an independent professional caregiver within the patient’s home, rather than care given in group homes, clinics, or nursing residences. Inpatient home care is also referred to as domiciliary housekeeping, social service, or in-house care. The scope of home care includes but is not limited to elderly medical problems, disability, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and physically or mentally challenged individuals. It can also be extended to include patients with developmental disabilities or those with developmental hearing loss or speech problems.
When referring to home care services include physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychological evaluation, and comprehensive wellness programs such as special education and adapted fitness instruction. The term home care does not exclude licensed practical nurses (LPN) who have been licensed by the state to provide specified direct patient care and who are supervised by a licensed social worker. They may also provide a variety of home care services.
Occupational therapy is a body of treatment that addresses problems associated with movement, posture, sensory processing, balance, muscle tone, and gait. It usually incorporates aspects of medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and psychology. Oftentimes, occupational therapy is included in a senior citizens’ home health care program because it can be practiced safely and at home. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is the most common patient in an occupational therapy setting. Other common patient populations include stroke and heart disease patients, diabetic and overweight seniors, and those recovering from an acute illness or injury.
A registered nurse (RN) is a healthcare provider that has graduated with an RN degree and has successfully completed five to seven years of experience as a nurse in any specialty area within the field of nursing. Registered Nurses assist doctors, surgeons, and other licensed professionals in providing a wide range of patient care, ranging from bathing, feeding, conducting physical examinations, applying medications and therapeutic procedures, and helping with exercise activities. RNs can specialize in a particular area of nursing, such as pediatrics, adult daycare, geriatrics, and women’s health. Some RNs perform invasive procedures only. Long-term care facilities use RNs in long-term health care units.
A skilled nursing aide (SN) is someone who is trained in a clinical setting to perform tasks for a patient that cannot be performed by a nurse. The tasks that an SN would be expected to perform include cleaning, feeding, and comforting a patient who is bedridden, or unable to sit up. For seniors, nurses, elder care assistants, and therapists are often the preferred choice between home health care and custodial care for an elderly relative. Skilled nursing aides often require on-the-job training in medical settings. There are actually several types of these aides including janitors, therapists, and office personnel.
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) provide routine assistance to nursing staff in the most basic caregiving tasks. CNA duties range from bathing, feeding, and exercising seniors to moving them from one room to another, and more. CNAs usually are able to work in private homes or in healthcare facilities, but may work in a variety of locations depending on their experience and education. Certified Nursing Assistants also provide preventative services in health care settings such as gyms, schools, senior centers, and more.
Home Health Aide (HHC) is a specialized position that requires more training than most other home care aides. A Home Health Aide provides personal care services to the public and is often trained in the more difficult aspects of personal care. These may include bathing, feeding, and exercising seniors with physical disabilities, but may also include helping clients with toileting requirements, taking them to meal preparation areas, and more. Unlike RNs, Home Health Aides have more opportunities for career advancement; however, they generally start at the bottom rung of the salary ladder and must struggle to obtain sufficient hours to be promoted. In some areas, Home Health Assistants are even certified to work as full-time hires instead of being certified to become licensed practical nurses (LPN).
Home Care For The Elderly also referred to as Senior Home Care, is provided to those adults with chronic illness or disability who don’t require constant assistance from others. Typical home care includes companionship, supervision, comfort, exercise, and specialized medical care. These services are typically provided by agencies or caregivers contracted by the client’s physician or another medical professional to provide special needs care. Most individuals with a chronic illness will need periodic supervision and exercise, and may only require routine tasks or medications occasionally. Home care provides an extra source of income for many seniors who would otherwise be unable to work and offers a level of independence for those with special needs that often makes them happier and more satisfied with their lives.