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On-Site Home Health Care
Care-giving is providing assistance to another who is ill, disabled, or in need of help. Caregivers often are family members who take on the sometimes daunting task of managing their loved one’s care. 53 million caregivers in the United States provide an estimated $990 billion worth of unpaid care annually. 34 million U.S. adults provide care to adults 50 and over.
Although your loved ones may prefer that you or other family members provide all their care, you have the right to get help.
Most seniors want to stay at home as long as possible. There are many community-based services that can provide solutions to these long-term care needs ranging from doing household chores and assisting with daily activities, to 24-hour care and advanced medical treatments.
Home health care focuses on health care needs, including skilled nursing care, personal care, rehabilitative therapy, medicine management, wound care, and medical help ordered by a doctor and provided by licensed professionals. The most common types of help are skilled care, home health aid, and companionship services.
Tony Callaway of Accessible Home Health Care of Mid Carolina, Raleigh told us, “One of the rewards of the home care business is we offer a loving, respectful, competent and trustworthy service that improves the quality of life for our children as well as other family members who are responsible for their care. We give the caregiver their life back.”
Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses provide skilled care ordered by doctors such as monitoring medications and procedure training for patients and their families. Therapists provide respiratory, physical, speech, and occupational therapies in the home.
Certified nurse assistants (CNAs) provide personal care, non-medical assistance with activities of daily living, sometimes referred to as ADLs, such as bathing, dressing, getting in and out of bed or a chair or using the toilet.
Companions provide companionship, household help, telephone support, and friendly visits in person. Homemakers and home-care aides take care of such things as laundry, cooking, errands, and shopping.
“When going into homes our goal is to be an extension of the family. We want to be there to ease the burden, offer relief and comfort but at the same time be seen but not heard. We collect their tears and their laundry, tidy up, run errands—add as much normalcy to their lives as we can” said Amy Martin of Visiting Angels, Raleigh, NC.
It’s very important to analyze and verify the quality of services provided. Get referrals from friends and family. Interview providers, ask about worker education, training, experience, screening and bonding, and get at least two references.
Community services can make a big difference, but it takes work to find the best one for your situation. Compare costs and check limits on Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance policies. Check with your area agency on aging, organizations offering community services, and your local department of local services. Eldercare.gov (800-677-1116) will list which agencies provide services locally.
Most pay for their home care services out-of-pocket. Some may be able to get help from public funds. Medicare covers limited home-care benefits for people age 65 and up. For information about Medicare benefits, check out medicare.gov or call 800-Medicare.
Medicaid, a state and federally funded program, may help pay for nursing home care and sometimes limited services at home. Private long-term care insurance pays for care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and sometimes home care depending on the policy.
“The single most important positive thing about utilizing in-home care is to try to preserve a senior’s independence in life while remaining in their environment,” said Patty Aiken, Home Instead Senior Care of Greensboro. “Helping a senior with the activities that have become more difficult to complete allows this individual to remain, with dignity, in the place they want to be—their homes.”
Article by Lesley Gray
Reprinted with permission from the April 2010 edition of Boom! Magazine.
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