The cost of care at home will vary depending on your need for an in-home aide for personal or companion care vs. a skilled medical provider like a nurse or therapist. The average cost of a personal care aide in Georgia is $21 per hour, however costs do vary by region. Personal care aides assist aging individuals with household tasks and basic activities of daily living whereas home health aides can provide some in-home health care services under the supervision of a licensed nurse. In Atlanta, you’ll pay less for the services of a home health aide than you would for a visit from a skilled medical specialist.
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 Georgia.
Before choosing a home care agency, research the requirements for licensing or certification in your state. For senior communities and care services in Georgia, state licensing is issued by the Georgia Department of Community Health. Georgia divides home care services into three categories defined as Nursing Services, Personal Care Tasks, and Companion or Sitter Tasks. Georgia requires a criminal record check as well as on-site surveys to ensure operational procedures comply with state rules. Caregivers who work with a licensed agency are bonded and ensured by the organization they work for. Keep in mind that the best agencies will go above and beyond the minimal state certification requirements.
The Division of Aging Services provides programs to assist aging Georgians and their caregivers. For more information on Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Home and Community Based Services, Nutrition & Wellness, and Caregiver Programs, visit the Georgia DAS Programs & Services page.