The biggest advantage of in-home care for seniors; it allows older adults to age in place and avoids making the move to an institution.Benefits of Home Health Care for Seniors.
The biggest advantage of in-home care for seniors; it allows older adults to age in place and avoid making the move to an institution.
At home, a senior feels most comfortable with the environment. The significant factor of receiving care at home depends on the level of need by a person. For example, does one need nursing or medical care? If so, home care is not the best choice. If medical care is not an issue, then a professional caregiver through a private hire or a non-medical home care agency would suffice.
Adult children of seniors serve as primary caregivers to the ill or elderly loved ones. In-home care assistance (through private hire or home care agencies) allow family caregivers to carry on with their other life priorities like work, child care, spousal relationship, and more time for self.
In general, receiving non-medical home care reduces unavoidable hospital readmission, and research show that individuals are recuperating from illness, injury, or surgery heal more quickly when recovering at home instead of a medical facility.
Benefits of Home Care
In-home care gives families the confidence and peace knowing their aging loved ones are comfortable at home and receiving professional, compassionate, and personalized care.
In many cases, it’s the most satisfying form of senior care and sometimes more affordable than other types of care. There are lots of other reasons for the growing demand for this service, too.
Home Care is Popular
Home care offers a person with individual needs to stay home. The services might be for people who are getting older, who are chronically ill, who are recovering from surgery, who live with a disability. Home care services include:
- Personal care, like help with bathing, washing hair, shaving, or getting dressed.
- Homemaking, like cleaning the house, yard work, and laundry.
- Cooking, meal preparation, shopping, picking up medications, or delivering meals.
- Health care services from a home health aide.
You can get almost any type of assistance at home that you want or need. Some services are free or given by volunteers. Many others you have to pay for out-of-pocket. Sometimes community-based services, offered by local or the state government, covers the cost of care.
Home Care services vary from simple companion care to more complex personal care needs and monitoring. The primary benefits offered include:
- Delivered in the comfort of home
- Promotes healing
- Provides a safe place for contagious infections
- Easier for family and friends to visit
- Allows freedom and independence
- More affordable than inpatient care (recovery care) at a nursing facility or hospital
- Tailored to specific needs of each person
- Person-centered care designed for needs of the senior
- Reduces re-hospitalizations
- Prevents or postpones institutional living
Protects Personal Freedom
Once the transition to a healthcare facility occurs, particularly nursing home, a senior gives up a significant amount of freedom. So, if a loved one can remain at home safely with some level of care, they’ll maintain more privacy and dignity. And they can “call the shots” to a greater extent about their personal choices regarding meals, schedules and other activities of daily living.
When a loved one is aging and has an acute or chronic illness, it is critical that they receive appropriate nutrition, medication, rest, and medical supervision. For many people, home health care workers can help loved ones maintain their level of wellness for a longer period.
Research shows that home health care services:
- Improve clients’ ability to walk or move around,
- Get in and out of bed and have less pain when moving around,
- Improve bladder control,
- Get better at bathing,
- Become short of breath less often,
- Require less urgent, unplanned medical care in general and related to a wound.
Compare the costs to what you would pay for a loved one to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
- Care Type – National Average Cost
- Home Health Care – 8 hours per week – $693
- Adult Day Care – Weekdays only – $1,492
- Assisted Living – $3,600
- Homemaker Services – 44 hours per week – $3,721
- Home Health Care – 44 hours per week – $3,813
- Nursing Home – Semi-Private – double occupancy room for one person – $6,692
- Nursing Home – Private – single occupancy room for one person – $7,604
A typical home health care visit occurs in a two to four block of time two to three times a week.
Studies show that people living with chronic illness or disability, living at home is often the best option for physical and mental well-being. It’s difficult to quantify the advantages of companionship for someone needing home care, but research indicates that social isolation can do as much harm to someone’s health as smoking.
The National Institute of Mental Health noted that in 2004, nearly 16% of suicide deaths were individuals over 65 years of age. Isolation and quietness take over in environments that once were lively with children, pets, and neighbors in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Reduces Stress for Client and Loved Ones
Home Care services benefit a senior who has more needs than family members can provide due to work, or need time away from care responsibilities. Home care staff can help families to avoid missing family time, children’s activities, and declining career opportunities.
If you’re considering home care services, ask the following questions that will help you to find the best provider for your needs.
If you’re recovering from surgery or need long-term care for chronic illness, or you have a loved one facing a similar situation, home care offers medical and household care.
What to Ask a Private Caregiver or a Home Care Agency
Whether you’re planning to enlist the help of a home care services agency or hire a personal home care aide, knowing what questions to ask help you receive quality assistance.
Hiring a Home Care Agency
If you’re considering a home care services agency:
- Does the state authorize the company? Most states – but not all – require agencies be licensed and reviewed regularly. Reviews are available on request from your state health department.
- Does Medicare certify the agency to meet federal requirements for health and safety? If not, ask why.
- What type of employee screening do you perform? Can the agency provide references? Ask for a list of doctors, hospital discharge planners or other professionals who have experience with the company, as well as a list of former clients. Ask doctors, family and friends for agency recommendations.
- Is the agency accredited by a governing agency such as The Joint Commission (an independent group that evaluates and accredit health care organizations) and programs that voluntarily request a review? Then ask to see the results of the most recent survey.
Hiring a Private Caregiver
If you’re considering a private in-home care aide:
- What are the aide’s credentials? Make sure you’re comfortable with the aide’s training and experience.
- Can the aide provide references? Take time to check the aide’s references thoroughly. Ask doctors, family and friends for home health aide recommendations.
- Perform a background check
Hiring a Home Care Agency
- How does the agency hire and train caregivers? Does the agency provide continuing education?
- Are the caregivers licensed and insured?
- How closely does the agency’s supervisor evaluate the quality of home care?
- Does the agency have a quality improvement program?
- Do the agency’s employees seem friendly and helpful? Make sure you feel comfortable with the agency’s representatives.
Hiring a Private Caregiver
- Does the home health aide have a positive attitude?
- Are you and your loved one comfortable with the home health aide?
Hiring a Home Care Agency
- How will the agency handle expenses and billing? Ask for literature explaining all services and fees, as well as detailed explanations of all the costs associated with home care.
- Will agency fees be covered by health insurance or Medicare? Find out what arrangements are in place for specific health insurance plans.
- What resources does the agency provide for financial assistance if needed? For instance, is a payment plan available?
Hiring a Private Caregiver
- How much does the aide charge for home health services? Make sure you’re comfortable with the fees and the included services.
- Does the aide require payment for sick days, vacation days or holidays? If so, clarify how many sick and vacation days allowed, as well as which days are holidays.
- Whether you’re considering a home care services agency or a home health aide, you might ask these questions about services:
- Will you receive a written care plan before service begins? The care plan should include details about medical equipment and specific care needs, contain input from your or your loved one’s doctor, and be updated frequently.
- Will you receive a list of the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved? This is sometimes known as a patient’s bill of rights.
- Will you or your loved one be referred to dietitians, counselors, therapists or other specialists if needed?
- Will the agency work directly with you or your loved one, family members and healthcare providers?
- Must you identify a primary family caregiver? If so, what’s required of that person?
- Are there any limits on the types of tasks performed? If so, what are the limits?
- When will service be provided? Is care available round-the-clock, if necessary?
- What procedures are in place for emergencies? Ask how the agency or home health aide will deliver services in a power failure or natural disaster.
- How are problems addressed and resolved? Whom can you or another family member contact with requests, questions or complaints?
- When can services begin?
After you’ve found a home care services provider, monitor the situation. If you’re concerned about the care or services provided, discuss it promptly with the agency or home health aide. If necessary, involve your doctor or your loved one’s doctor as well.
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