In-home care supports seniors who are aging in place to delay or avoid the transition into senior housing. In-home care provides:
Living at home becomes increasingly difficult in our senior years. Even as challenges arise, most seniors prefer to stay in the comfort of their own home however, family members are often the first to notice that something is not quite right. An assessment of a senior’s daily functioning is the starting point in determining the need for care. A senior who needs support in accomplishing Activities of Daily Living would benefit from in-home care. To assess the functioning of your aging loved one, complete a needs assessment to identify your home care needs and determine the level of care you require.
Professional caregivers can provide a much-needed source of respite for family caregivers. Adding in-home care providers to the care team is an important source of support for the family while allowing an aging loved one to remain in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible. Aides can provide companionship, transportation, and hands-on assistance with a senior’s every-day tasks, affording family members peace of mind with the knowledge that their elder’s care needs are met.
A private (direct-hire) caregiver is employed directly by the family. Oftentimes, families choose to hire independently based on the cost savings of using an independent contractor. More affordable care is an attractive benefit; however, this decision must be weighed carefully. Families who pay a private caregiver are responsible for filing the associated paperwork and paying applicable taxes on wages. Additionally, caregivers hired through a licensed home care agency are accountable to state regulations. They are bonded and insured by the agency through which they are providing services. The increased cost of using an agency to provide caregivers may be worthwhile to families who want to hand over the day to day responsibilities of managing care. Hiring an agency mitigates the difficulties of dealing with background checks, employment taxes, daily scheduling, and finding back-up providers to cover a shift.
Personal home care assistance includes help with basic activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, meal preparation and cleaning. This type of non-medical home care is sometimes referred to as homemaker or companion care, because it does not provide any skilled medical services. Whether part-time or full time, a dedicated care companion provides help at home, keeping a senior safe during the hours you need assistance most. Home health care is medical in nature. A prescription from a doctor may be required to obtain in-home services that are provided by healthcare professionals such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and physical, occupational and speech-language therapists. Home health care may also be described as clinical or skilled care. Generally, home health care is intended for short term rehabilitation after discharge from the hospital for recovery from illness or injury. Home health care includes services like physical therapy, wound care, intravenous or nutrition therapy, and monitoring vital signs. A home health aide (HHA) can administer some skilled home-care services under the direction of a registered nurse or other medical professional.
As individuals experience the progressive decline of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is important to establish a care plan that supports the client as well as provides needed respite for the family caregiver. Many home care agencies offer specialized dementia care services. When comparing home care agencies, inquire about specialized training for managing dementia behaviors.
The cost of in-home care varies by type of care and where you are located. Start by completing a care assessment to determine the number of hours of care you will need per week. Most home care agencies typically charge by the hour with a minimum hourly commitment. According to the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey, the US national average for home care provided by a personal care aide, companion caregiver or home health aide is $23 per hour, whereas in-home skilled nursing can cost as much as $87 per visit.
Generally, Medicare coverage is determined by the type of services provided. Original Medicare will only cover medically-necessary home health care that is ordered by a physician on a short-term basis. Eligible services must be offered by a Medicare-certified provider. Personal care services will only be covered if they are part of a scope of services that includes the need for in-home skilled medical care. For more information on qualifying conditions and Medicare covered home care services, Medicare provides an eligibility tool on the Medicare.gov website.
Each state runs its Medicaid program differently, so eligibility and benefits are different in every state. Make sure you research home care benefits specific to the state where care will be provided. All 50 states have some type of program that pays for home care for the elderly, however the benefit is dependent on which type of Medicaid program the senior is enrolled in. To learn more about Medicaid eligibility for home care benefits, research both the Medicaid State Plan as well as the Medicaid Waiver program in your state.
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