Options for In-Home Care

What is in-home care and home health care?

Providing care for a loved one that keeps them safe and maintains their quality of life in the home setting is referred to as in-home care. Care can be provided by a family member or trained personnel. Many patients prefer receiving care in the home setting because it is much more private and comfortable. The type of care given will vary widely from person to person. Some patients will only need someone that comes to the home a couple of times a week to do some light cleaning and possibly assist with running some errands. Care that is provided for non-medical purposes is referred to as in-home care.

Home health care worker and an elderly coupleSometimes licensed personnel are needed to provide home health services which are more skilled in nature such as providing assistance with weekly medication set up. Some patients may even require complete 24-hour home health care for various medical needs. Both in-home care and home health care are becoming increasingly more popular options for providing a cost-saving method of receiving the care you need.

Who qualifies for in-home care or home health care?

A person at any age may run into a situation in life where in-home care or home health care is appropriate. In the younger population people may find themselves in need of a period of rehabilitation following a major surgery or illness that may require services provided in the home setting. Some of the most frequent rationales for receiving home health care for patients of any demographic include: pain management, infusion therapy, heart disease, psychiatric services, COPD, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and oncology. In order to qualify for home health care, you must be overseen by a physician who has ordered the home health services.

As a person ages and becomes less able to perform all aspects of their life independently, many times the assistance of in-home care may benefit the individual to maintain their quality of life and keep them safe. In-home services are provided more preventively and are focused on helping the individual maintain independence and keep them at their optimal level of functioning by providing basic services and supervision.

What type of resources help pay for home care services?

Medicare will pay for home care services depending on the amount and the reason you are receiving the home care. Most insurance companies will also contribute to the cost of home care as this is the most affordable option for healthcare. However, neither insurance companies or Medicare will fund 24-hour home health care, as this type of care is most appropriate for patients in need of intermittent nursing services. Medicare needs proper documentation from the physician who ordered your home health care services and the patient must be classified as home bound in order to receive these benefits. Speak with your Medicare and/or insurance provider to explore your available options for home care services.

What type of assisted devices are available for taking care of a loved one at home?

Visiting An Elderly WomanSo much equipment is available to assist your loved one in getting around the home safely, comfortably, and easily. For the bathroom there are grab rails, raised toilet seats, commodes, shower chairs, shower adapters, and more. Lift chairs are becoming an increasingly popular method that makes getting up and down less strenuous. In fact, there are now so many mobility devices available on the market including wheelchairs, walkers, and canes, that you are sure to find the perfect assistive device that will target your specific mobility needs.

Arguably one of the most important devices your loved one needs to be safe at home is a medical alert system. Falls can happen anytime, anywhere. Rest assured with a medical alert that is worn at all times, in the event of a fall or emergency situation, help is just the push of a button away.

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What types of services can be provided by home care?

A variety of services can be provided to a patient in the comfort and convenience of home. Home health can offer skilled nursing services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and more. More basic needs can be met through the use of an in-home care provider that can offer companionship by providing supervision and visiting the client, assistance with activities of daily living, or even house cleaning and meal preparation. Each individual case is unique and the care provided in the home can vary greatly from basic nursing assistant tasks to highly trained physical therapy regimens; home care can offer many services you may not have known were possible right in the home setting.

What community support resources are available for the family member home care provider?

Senior woman talking to a young medicMany patients receive home care from another family member. Whether this is for financial reasons or by choice, being a caregiver to a loved one is often very challenging. It is important to know there are available resources in the community that can help you provide the best possible care for your loved one. The internet provides a valuable means to researching local support groups, respite care, even adult day care that can benefit both you and your loved one.

Can home care provide medical and non-medical services?

There are so many different services provided by home care providers that you will surely find the appropriate level of care to match the needs of you or a loved one. If you are not in need of medical care there are many agencies that can provide in-home care that gives you companionship and assistance with daily tasks to you in your home. Medical care in the home is becoming a much more popular option as this is the most affordable form of nursing care. Licensed personnel can be sent to the home to assist with medication, wound care, and even administer IV medications while the patient can enjoy being at home relaxing their favorite easy chair.

What if you don’t care for your caregiver?

Agencies provide many different caregivers and you can rest assured certain requirements are met and background checks are performed before a caregiver is sent to your home. If there are ever any issues and you feel uncomfortable or dislike the caregiver you have been assigned, call the agency and explain the issue as soon as possible. Most companies will be happy to oblige your request and match you up with another caregiver right away.

Contributing Authors

Kelli Wilson, RN
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James Conte, RN, BS Nursing, BS Pharmacology
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    Miranda Booher, RN, ACLS Certified, BLS Certified, Tx Certified
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      Carolyn Falconer-Horne, Ph.D. Candidate
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