WHAT ARE HOME CARE SERVICES?
Home care services help caregivers keep family members and loved ones at home for as long as possible. The care these programs provide can include both custodial care and skilled health care services.
Home care agencies can provide skilled home health services and/or private duty custodial support. Skilled home health care is a regulated service and allows licensed agencies to provide nursing care, home health aides, and therapy. These agencies are usually certified by Medicare and/or Medicaid. Private duty agencies help clients with personal care (dressing, meals, bathing, etc.) and sometimes with household duties such as shopping, laundry and more.
HOME CARE vs. ASSISTED LIVING
Thinking about moving into an assisted living community can be extremely overwhelming so, in many cases, seniors will elect to remain in their own home and hire caregivers that will come to them. Remaining in the home may be an easier transition to make, but it is important to evaluate what level of care is actually needed. If the senior only requires someone to come in and check on them during the day, home care may be a better option than moving into a senior living community. However, if the amount of care is great, home care can be much more expensive than assisted living is, especially if care is needed around the clock.
HOW ARE HOME CARE SERVICES PAID FOR?
If a client is receiving skilled nursing and/or therapy services, Medicare (or their private health insurance) may pay for home health services on a short-term basis. Medicare requires the patient to be home-bound and under the care of their physician. The agency must be Medicare certified. When clients are receiving private duty or homemaker services, private funds are typically the source of payment. Some area agencies on aging have funds that assist with payment, and long-term care insurance policies sometimes cover this as well.
HOW ARE HOME CARE SERVICES REGULATED?
If a client is receiving care from a Medicare certified agency, they are regulated at both the state and the federal level. Licensing for private duty varies state-by-state, but most are not licensed by any regulatory agency. In addition, caregivers (aides) can be required to be certified and licensed. Non-medical caregivers are usually not required to be certified. Some states require background checks on all caregivers who work with the elderly.
SELECT A HOME CARE AGENCY
If you are looking for home care in your area for a loved one, call your local Care Advisor at (877) 345-1706. Your Care Advisor will work with you to find the best senior care option for your family’s needs.