If you asked your elderly loved one today if they want to stay in their own home as long as possible, what do you think they would say? Of course! Since November is National Home Care Month, let’s look at some common questions people have about home care.
What is the difference between home care and home health care?
Home care describes the non-medical care provided by a home care aide to assist with activities of day-to-day living. Home care services include:
- Help with personal hygiene (such as bathing and showering, shaving, oral care, getting dressed and grooming)
- Reminders and assistance to take medication
- Shopping and errands
- Housekeeping (vacuuming, dusting, mopping, cleaning bathroom, etc)
- Socialization and companionship
Home care can vary from a couple hours a month to around-the-clock care, according to your needs.
Home health care is skilled nursing or rehabilitation services provided within a person’s home by licensed professional nurses and therapists. Typically home health care is short-term while you recover from surgery, illness or injury or learn to maintain a chronic disease like diabetes. Here are some examples of home health care services:
- Wound care
- Medication management
- Pain management
- Injections, IV therapies and lab draws
- Cather, ostomy or colostomy care
- Physical, occupational and speech therapy
- Management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and congestive heart failure
- Nutritional guidance
- Remote monitoring
Does Medicare pay for home care or home health care?
Medicare does not pay for home care. It may be paid for by long term care insurance, veteran’s benefits or through assistance from the Area Agency on Aging, but is often paid for out-of-pocket.
Medicare covers home health care if a doctor writes a prescription for it and the patient is considered “homebound.” This doesn’t mean the person can never leave their home. It means that it is physically demanding for them to do so, and their outings aren’t very frequent. Going to church, doctor’s appointments, the beauty shop or out to dinner once a week does not disqualify a person from receiving home health care covered by Medicare. Some other health insurances will also cover home health care.
What are the benefits of home care?
Privacy – you are in the comfort of your own home
Prevention – home care is a great preventative measure to avoid hospital stays and ER visits.
Quicker healing – studies have shown an individual healing for an illness or surgery bounces back more quickly in their own home.
Reduced risk of infection
More affordable than in-patient care – if a patient doesn’t need 24 hour care, the cost of home care is much more economical than living in a long term care community. 4 hours/day of home care would cost roughly $70, compared to $230/day in a nursing home or $91/day in a personal care home.
How do I get home care or home health care for my loved one?If you are interested in home care or home health services, contact a local agency that provides care. In Jefferson and Clarion Counties and parts of Elk, Armstrong, Clearfield, Venango and Forest counties, WRC offers our agency In Home Solutions.
For outside the area, ask for recommendations, use your yellow pages or Google to find local agencies, or call the local Area Agency on Aging. All agencies are not alike, and remember you get what you pay for. Here are some great questions you can ask when interviewing agencies.
If your loved one is hospitalized, the doctor or nurse may suggest home health care to help them continue their recovery at home. In this case they will write a prescription for the care and then you have a choice of who you want to provide the care. That’s why doing research beforehand is so important. Then you’ll know what agency you would like to use, rather than just being assigned to an agency randomly.
If you’d like more info about home care or home health care, call In Home Solutions toll-free at 1-800-972-9363, and they’d be happy to assist you.
Director of Marketing and Communications