WEIGHING YOUR HOME HEALTH CARE OPTIONS
For millions of families around the world, aging with dignity is synonymous with staying in the home or community that has become a part of you. That’s why this post’s subject focuses on when “Is it time for Home Health Care” and the special thoughts that go into assisting a loved one in a home-based setting.
WHAT IS “HOME HEALTH CARE” or “PRIMARY CARE”?
“Home Health Care” is an overarching term that usually refers to a number of home-based health and rehabilitation services. To start, it would probably help to explain some of the terminology used in describing home-based medical care:
“Home Care” Is typically a direct care worker who delivers support for Activities of Daily Living (like bathing, dressing, eating or household chores) or companion care. These non-skilled professionals are often referred to as either “Home Care Aides” or “Personal Care Assistants” depending where you are in across the country.
“Skilled Nursing” is any care typically involving associates of a medical team visiting the patient’s place of residence and providing any necessary medical care. Medical teams can sometimes include physicians (or “house call doctors”), Registered Nurses and Nursing Aids, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, or Speech Therapists to name a few.
“Primary Care” is the specialized model of medical care used in the Veteran’s Administration or Medicaid. Those who qualify for Primary Home Care receive skilled medical care, case management services, and household services in the home.
Nowadays home-based care often includes “tele-health” or “tele-monitoring” incorporating new technologies that give access access to digital records, or like wearable health devices, web-based website or portals, and monitoring equipment. These tools keep track of your loved one’s data and daily activities, alerting a caregiver or clinician if something goes wrong.
CONSIDER THE COST, THE QUALITY & ULTIMATELY WHAT YOUR LOVED ONE WANTS
If you are asking yourself… Is home-based care is right for you or your family? The answer usually depends on your health insurance and financial situation. Here’s an overview of what you should expect:
Medicare Home Health: If the one who is to be cared for is a beneficiary of Medicare, they can be given a limited home health benefit following most instances of acute care (such as a stay in the hospital). The patient, typically, is responsible for paying for any medical services and supplies that Medicare will not cover.
Medicaid Home Health: For most low-income individuals, Medicaid will usually cover both skilled medical care as well as home health aide services. However in some states Medicaid programs may require co-payments.
Home-Based Primary Care: For many elderly or Veterans getting care, they may be required to pay a minimum co-payment if their earnings are above the Income Threshold or they do not complete the required financial assessment. There are no co-payments for in-home telehealth monitoring.
Private Pay or Private Insurance: This is where costs can really vary depending on your insurance carrier and/or the service provider. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates costs $19 per hour for personal care assistants and home health aides come in at roughly $21 an hour.
Families should consider quality of care. Medicare-and Medicaid-regulated providers are going to be officially listed and can be seen via the Home Health Compare website. Most caregivers will be asking themselves too if they are ready to care for a loved one at home, especially after a hospital discharge or sever diagnosis.
Finally, you should consider talking with your loved one to ensure that home-based care is what they really want and/or need as your loved one will be most likely be happiest in a care setting that fits their own health, wellness, and social needs.