Home health care agencies serve people of all ages, however, our senior loved ones are most likely to require home health care for obvious reasons. An unexpected trip to the hospital or bout of the flu may lead to a visit from your local home health care agency. Whether you are looking for a caregiver to give your elderly parent a bath, or a caregiver to supervise your senior relative, you can find the information you are looking for here. Use our home health care directory as a resource to compare Medicare certified home health, as well as private home care. As you're elderly loved one gets stronger, your doctor may suggest private home care as the next step. Both home health and private home care agencies can be utilized to reinforce your loved one's decision to age at home.
Home care agencies provide two main types of services - custodial or skilled. Custodial services, provided by private home care agencies, offer assistance with personal care such as bathing, grooming, and dressing, in addition to help with meal preparation, housekeeping, and shopping. Assistance with self-administered medications, ambulation and exercises, and transportation to medical appointments is often requested. These custodial or non-skilled services can be arranged for any amount of time or frequency including up to twenty-four hours every day or temporary basis. Such services can help an aging person cope with their declining abilities, maintain their independence, and often avoid relocating.
Skilled services provided by home health care agencies, offer nursing care, physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapy as well as social services and hospice care. Following a specific plan of care, and under the supervision of a skilled discipline such as a nurse or therapist, a certified home health aide may provide personal care for a limited time. These skilled services are provided on an intermittent basis, with scheduled visits to homebound clients only, under a plan of treatment ordered by a physician. These skilled services can avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, hasten hospital discharges, and enable an elderly loved one to stay at home during acute illnesses or while convalescing.
The cost of home health care depends on the nature of care. Custodial, non-skilled services are most often contracted with a home care agency on a private-pay basis for the desired amount of time and frequency of care. Private duty homemakers and home health aides cost an average of $20 per hour in the United States. Sure enough, the cost of home care is directly correlated to your geographic location. Medicaid has community-based programs in some states, designed to provide seniors with personal care assistance in their homes as an alternative to institutional care. Some long-term care insurance policies allow coverage for home health aides, but it is necessary to obtain these home services through a licensed agency in order to qualify for reimbursement. Another option is to hire your own caregiver privately which is usually less expensive and can allow more input into the decision making process. This choice can be optimal with some luck and persistence, however in the employer role, managing care can be very time consuming, if not frustrating at times.
Skilled services that meet specific guidelines including a plan of treatment ordered by a physician and adherence to strict homebound requirements, are usually reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health insurance policies.
We have an excellent description of the Types of Home Care Agencies and a thorough description of the Types of Caregivers available, their training, limitations and application in a home care setting. You might also consider our Caregiver Selector tool which matches the types of caregivers to your requirements. Home care cost information is drawn from the Genworth Financial 2012 Cost of Care Survey.