In-Home Health Care, Right?

by Mahala Church

We all know change is a natural part of life. Sometimes change is big – a catastrophic stroke. Sometimes change is incremental – surgeries to replace arthritic joints. In-home health care offers an opportunity to heal in familiar surroundings. But what if you need around-the-clock care?

If you’re going through changes that affect your lifestyle, the mountain of information from family, friends, and medical personnel can be overwhelming. Everyone has an opinion about what you should do for your physical needs, but what about your emotional needs? At first, going home no matter what seems like the right choice, but it may not be. Sometimes making two lists will help sort it out.

Evaluate Your Needs

1. What do I truly need help with every day?  Being honest gives you a head start to regain as much independence as possible.

  • List everything:  meals, dressing, bath, medication, physical and occupational therapy, washing clothes, bandages, paying bills, feeding a pet, trips to the doctor, etc.
  • Put a check mark by everything a family member or good friend will do.

2. What types of facilities or home care can help me?  Nursing home, assisted living, geriatric home health, adult day services, etc.

  • Consult hospital social services to discuss your choices, insurance coverage, and the safest environment for you.  Geriatric home health care is generally less expensive than facility care.

3. When do we need help? If you don’t need help around the clock, and in-home health care is available, that might be the best choice.  Remember, home health care workers can’t always get to you in the middle of a snow storm or other natural disaster.

  • Could you take care of all your needs alone for several days? If the answer is no, assisted living might be the better choice.

4. What type of care does home health care offer? Geriatric home health care offers almost every service found in facilities – physical and occupational therapy, intravenous therapy, injections, nutritional and speech therapy, and wound care.

5. How do we choose a home care provider? Insist that a clinical staff member from the home health companies and the facilities that you’re considering visit you in the hospital. After all, you wouldn’t buy shoes without trying them on.

Why does everyone ask me about ADLs (activities of daily living)?

It helps to define what services you need – bathing, dressing, eating, going to the bathroom.  If you opt for in-home health care – and this may chafe a bit at first – get a personal aide to help you bathe and wash your hair. They’ll make your bed and spirit away the dirty clothes and trash. Feeling clean and fresh lifts your spirits and gives you more energy.

Right now, you’re weak; you’re frustrated; you’re privacy has been invaded; you’re tired of being called Honey; you’re angry, but don’t give up. Whether you choose in-home health care, visiting nurse, or assisted living, you have the right to the compassionate, quality care of your choice.

Does home care not sound like the right choice? Think about an assisted living community, even if it is for a respite stay to recover from a minor surgery or injury.

Call your local Care Advisor at (866) 662-0435. They can help you find the community that offers all of the care needed, in the right location and that’s within your budget.

Mahala Church is an editor and writer with extensive experience in healthcare management and nursing. Specializing in oncology nursing, she is a strong patient advocate. Her writing couples her degrees in liberal arts and nursing with her experience in business and healthcare to foster support for patient and family education.