Thank you to Bayada Home Health Care for agreeing to contribute to the Bratton Law Group blog. We feel that they have information about home health care that will be invaluable to our clients and their families.
Most senior citizens prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. The choice to “age in place” is gaining popularity for many valid reasons. With medical advances, people are living and staying healthier longer than ever before. An expanded menu of in-home services available for seniors—such as personal care and companionship, home modifications, and assistive and medical devices—means that more Americans have the option to maintain their independence at home than ever before.
Per the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Americans who live to the age of 65 can expect to live an additional 20 years on average. Seven out of 10 are likely to need assistance with daily living for three of those years. This means that if—like most Americans—you prefer to “age in place” in your own home, you are likely need home health care services at some point in your life.
Choosing to invite caregivers into your life is a big decision. The first step to making the right choice for you is to understand all available options and how they are paid. There are different levels of care available that can be customized, scheduled, and delivered to meet your individual needs.
Three main specialties of home health care
- Personal care and companionship services: These services—also known as assistive care—are for people who could use some extra help managing their activities of daily living (ADLs). Home health aides (HHAs) or certified nursing assistants (CNAs) usually provide help with ADLs which may include assistance with bathing, grooming, using the toilet and dressing; meal planning and preparation; light housekeeping, laundry and running errands; medication reminders and picking up prescriptions; general companionship, escorts to appointments (like the doctor), church or meetings; help with hobbies and activities (like exercise).
This kind of care is ideal for someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease because it provides the supervision and peace of mind needed for them to stay safe and independent at home. Most reputable providers offer services for 2 to 24/7, including the option for live-in help.
Payment options typically include private pay, Medicaid, Workers’ Comp, Veterans’ benefits or long-term care insurance.
- Home health care: These short-term services are prescribed by your physician to help you with rehabilitation after an illness, injury, hospital stay or surgery, or to help manage a chronic medical condition with the goal of preventing an unnecessary hospitalization.
A clinician will visit you to assess your needs and then work with your insurance provider and your doctor to develop goals and a care plan customized just for you. Care is provided during one-hour home visits from specialized caregivers and continues until recovery goals have been met. Your visiting care professional(s) may be a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech language pathologist, medical social worker or home health aide.
Payment options include Medicare (provides 100 percent coverage when eligibility requirements are met), Medicaid and health insurance.
- Private duty nursing care: Most seniors in the normal aging process do not need private duty nursing care. These services primarily are for people with chronic, complex medical needs or conditions, such as ALS, a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury, or a tracheostomy and ventilator to aid breathing. Registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide these clinical care services in partnership with your physicians. Depending on need, these services are available from 2 to 24/7. Payment options include health insurance, Workers’ Comp, Medicaid, Veterans’ benefits and private pay.
Is it time for hospice care? If you are seriously ill and a physician has given you a life-expectancy prognosis of six months or less, home hospice care services can provide you and your family with comprehensive end-of-life medical, social, emotional and spiritual care. Care is designed to connect you with needed resources and provide comfort, support, and peace of mind for you and your family.
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Choosing the right provider is key
You’ll want to make sure the provider you choose is appropriately licensed, offers 24/7 support if you need to reach them, and hires care professionals who are skilled, trained and thoroughly vetted. If your needs change over time, choosing a comprehensive care provider lets you seamlessly adjust your care plan and services without having to change providers.
A reputable provider also should help you navigate your insurance coverage and payment options, manage your insurance paperwork, and bill your insurance providers directly.