Professional Home Health Care Options
How to Choose the Correct Level of Professional
Home Health Care for Yourself or a Love One…
Today’s reality is, unfortunately, that 7 out of 10 individuals over the age of 65 will experience a life altering health change. The health care arena now discharges individuals quickly and often with out support after discharge. As the demands of an aging population are upon us, more and more insurances are paying for home care. Medicaid still lags behind.
Several states now offer waivers that will allow an individual to receive care at home versus in a nursing home. Home health care is typically more cost effective than staying in a hospital or nursing home. Sixty eight percent of Americans over age 65 will require some form of long-term care. The cost of this care can range from $3,000 to $9,000 per month. On average, care may be required for up to five years, with an average nursing facility stay of 2.4 years.
The majority of baby boomers most likely envision themselves living out the balance of their lives in their homes or favorite retirement community. Home health care assistance can enable you or your loved one to maintain a well-deserved quality of life.
Families seeking long term in-home care, now have options that allow the aging adult to be able to make a choice to achieve life care at home versus moving into an institutional setting or a strange environment. The time has come where the aging adult can stay at home with increasing levels of care.
There are two kinds of aging home health care.
One is for the health and medical issues that an aging adult may have. They may require physical therapy, a professional nurse to administer medications, or you may have a condition where a nurse may need to come in several times a week and monitor your condition. This care generally requires a doctor’s order. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances will monitor these services and pay accordingly.
In home personal health care is typically provided by a home health aide or a certified nursing assistant. They perform such tasks as bathing, dressing, and assisting to the bathroom. In some states, these aides may remind an older adult to take their prescribed medications. They are not permitted to give them or dispense the medications to the aging adult. You will have to check your state laws to know what is permitted in your state.
As you see, home care services for the older adult covers a wide range of health and social services for individuals recovering from surgery or an injury, those with disabilities and chronic conditions, or people with terminal illnesses. Services can range considerably and can be tailored to meet your needs. Keep in mind that Medicare does not cover 24-hour home care, personal care, homemaker or any services not “medically-necessary” but considered to be custodial care.
If you are considering achieving life care home health care as you age, use this guide to help you decide which option is best for you.
Understanding the Professional Home Health Care Options
Medical Home Health Care
This level of care requires an order from the doctor and must be very specific as to what services he /she is requesting. The aging adult must be home bound and unable to leave the home except for doctor visits or church.
Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse ( LPN) and Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)
Care provided by an RN is typically supervised or prescribed by a physician. Services for individuals recovering from surgery or an accident, or with more complex medical needs which can be addressed in a home setting .
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or a certified nurse assistant (CNA), both are required to work under the supervision of an RN. Specific care provided may include some traditional nursing, and personal care. This care is provided intermittently and for a specific period of time.
Home Health Aide
An aide is a home care worker who assists people with activities of daily living such as getting out of bed or up from a chair, walking, dressing, bathing and toileting.
Occupational Therapist (OT)
An OT is trained to help individuals learn ways to cope with or compensate for limitations in performing activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, toileting and cooking. OTs can help train both the care recipient and caregiver in techniques to use adaptive equipment that allow each individual to do as much for themselves as possible with as little assistance as possible.
Physical Therapist (PT)
A PT is usually prescribed by a physician to assist a person with a disability or physical injury to improve physical functioning. A PT works on increasing mobility such as teaching how to properly use walking devices, and how to increase strength and endurance. A PT may also be useful in training caregivers in safe lifting or bending practices.
Speech therapists assist the aging adult with communication and swallowing disorders resulting from disease, injury, surgical intervention or a stroke. Speech therapists help their clients regain lost speech, cope with aphasias (a loss of the ability to produce and/or comprehend language), and learn special techniques to aide in swallowing, breathing, and muscle control.
Home Visiting Physicians
Home Visiting Physicians are committed to making healthcare more accessible for those individuals who have difficulty or are unable to leave their home to receive medical treatment, and/or for those who simply like the convenience of a physician seeing them at home. This service alone makes aging at home very possible.
Hospice is to help the terminally ill live out their days with dignity and to the fullest extent possible. Hospice does not shorten or prolong life and focuses on comfort not curing an illness. Care is individualized and each patient and their families are encouraged to participate fully in the care provided. Hospice includes pain control, symptom management, emotional and spiritual support.
This is a program that allows the caregivers time off for rest, for a specified period of time, from the constant and ongoing supervision and personal care of a person that is ill, injured or frail.
Non-Medical Home Health Care for the Aging Adult
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A home care worker typically performs light housekeeping duties including meal preparation, shopping, laundry, and clean-up. Such individuals are hired to help complete household tasks and generally do not perform personal, hands-on care.
A companion provides companionship to those who are home bound individuals. They may perform limited tasks (such as preparing a meal or a snack) but generally their duty is to provide company and/or supervision of the aging adult. Companions may be paid employees or volunteers.
Senior Meal Plans
If your loved one is content on his or her own and only needs a bit of help in the kitchen, consider turning to a senior meal plan solution. Golden Cuisine, developed in partnership with ConAgra Foods and Meals on Wheels Association of America, now offers over 40 specially formulated and delicious senior meals for purchase online. The meals are offered in packages of seven or more, and are delivered frozen to the doorstep of your loved one by UPS.
Social workers provide support and services to older adults and their families in many settings. They work with older people who are active and healthy, those who are in poor physical or mental health, those in the community, and those in institutions. As the population ages, a growing area for social workers is providing information on services and support to families so they will be able to provide adequate care for elders. They assist older people to maintain their independence, may assist in finding income assistance, and arrange for formal support services when family and friends are unable to help. Social workers assist older people to maintain or improve their quality of life through direct services and consultation, counseling, and education.