Questions About Home Care

Homecare services can often be required at a difficult time in peoples’ lives and finding the right care for yourself or loved ones can be difficult. HealthNow Healthcare take the utmost care in designing plans to suit each patient and family’s specific needs. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and answers.

How Does Home Care Work?

If you need home healthcare services, the agency will call you and tell you when the visit will take place. If the health care practitioner is running late because of complications from other patients, they will call to let you know.

The first nurse or physical therapist visit usually takes more than one hour, so that they can get to know you and the state of your condition. They will do a complete physical and ask you questions such as:

  • Do you know how to tell if your condition is getting worse?  Which symptoms to look out for?   They will teach you the symptoms specific to your condition and if you notice any of them, to call the nurse at any time.
  • What medication do you take and how often?  Do you take any additional medication sometimes, like cough syrup or aspirin?  Did you or your family have any prescriptions to bring home from the nursing home or hospital?  The nurse may want to call your doctor to better understand your medication regiment.
  • The nurse will ask you to move around your home to make sure that you are safe.  If the nurse feels that you need to be stronger so that you don’t have a fall, they may call your doctor to ask for a physical or occupational therapist to come to your home and give you physical therapy.

The evaluation process is very important when using the services of a home care company. This is an opportunity for you to meet the people who run the program and assess that they are the best people to help with your treatment and recovery. The nurse or health care practitioner conducting the evaluation should ask these questions:

  • Do you have any health conditions that we should know about?  How do they affect four ability to perform daily activities of living.
  • Are there other people in your house or neighbors that know that you are unwell and that you may need assistance in seeing the doctor?
  • Do you need help with dressing, hygiene tasks, laundry, shopping or meal preparation?
  • Can I do a safety check of your house, to let you know what changes you can make so that your house is safer?
  • What are your interests and hobbies?  Do you like sewing, talking, playing cards, reading or watching TV?

Once the nurse has finished interviewing you, they will give you recommendations of the care they think you will need. Tell them your thoughts on the plan and together you can develop a program that includes what services you will receive, how often and when. This program will be given to the home care specialist who serves you, so that they know the services you want and need.

This is your house, so you can set rules and limitations for the homecare specialist. How they will enter your house, where they will eat and keep their food, which bathroom they can use and if they can use the phone are some things you may want to consider.

You need to feel comfortable with the person in your home, so if for any reason your personalities don’t match, tell the home care company and they can organize another employee who will be more suitable for you.

Who Gives the Home Care?

There are two types of people who provide home care. Licensed healthcare professionals who work under the orders of your doctor, like nurses, speech therapists or social workers; and our home care specialists such as aides, homemakers and companions who can help you with daily tasks and maintaining your independence.

 

 

 

How Can I Get Home Care Services?

Medical home care is often paid for by Medicare, Medicaid or other commercial insurance companies. These companies usually have health care agencies that they work with that can provide you treatment from nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists or social workers.

Other types of home care, such as assistance with activities of daily living, can be paid for by your insurance agency, Medicaid, you or your family. These services can include help with meal preparation, light housekeeping, assistance with hygiene, running errands and dressing.

Who Pays For Home Care?

Home care is an important service for those who would prefer to spend their treatment or recovery in the home. It can be provided by family or HealthNow Healthcare professionals, but financial planning is important to ensure that optimal care and treatment can take place.

Professional caregivers can ensure that the best treatment and rehabilitation is given to your family member. These are the options to finance this care:

Self-Pay

You may choose to use your own finances to pay for home care, depending on financial capabilities, insurance plans and the home care service required. The cost can be negotiated directly with the home care service provider.

Public Third-Party Payers

Most Americans over the age of 65 are eligible for the federal Medicare program. Medicare will pay certified agencies to provide care through nurses, therapists, social workers and other health care professionals. These conditions need to be met for Medicare to fund home health care services:

  • The patient who receives the services must be an eligible Medicare Beneficiary
  • A physician must certify the need for the services and develop a care plan
  • The patient must meet Medicare’s definition of ‘homebound"
  • The care must be undertaken in the patient’s residence
  • The patient requires skilled nursing, physical or speech therapy on an intermittent basis, or needs occupational therapy after the other disciplines have established a plan of care
  • A Medicare-certified home health agency provides the services

If all of these conditions are met, doctors may also order home care assistance or medical social worker services.

Private Third-Party Payers

Private health insurance generally covers some home care services for those with acute needs or those that need long term care. Blue Cross, Blue Shield and other insurers typically pay for in-home care, hospice, home nursing and other services with cost-sharing provisions. If the patient has long-term insurance that includes in-home care coverage, this can be used to pay the caregiver.

The Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965 states that federal funds should be used to allow older people to remain independent in their communities. This funding can help people over 60 with costs such as transportation, chores and other tasks. Seniors may also be eligible for assistance from the Veteran’s Administration if they have a service-related condition that left them at least 50% disabled. Medicaid may also be able to provide assistance for low income individuals.

How to Find a Home Care Provider?

If you are in a hospitable, rehabilitation facility or nursing home, your discharge planner, social worker or doctor can help you find a home care agency in your local area. Some hospitals and nursing homes have their own homecare agencies. You have the right to choose the agency that you and for family believe will provide the best care for your needs. If you are part of a Medicare Advantage plan, you may need to use a home care company within their network. Your insurance company can help with this.

If you need personal care services to help you stay in your home, there may be many companies to choose from. Ask the company these questions to ensure that you or your loved one receive the best care:

  • What services do they offer
  • Are they listening to your needs with regards to daily activities of living?
  • Do they offer a free evaluation program so that you can meet up and discuss your needs?
  • What hours are services available?  Does this include weekends and nights?
  • Who can you call if there are problems with the services?

Here are some questions to ask the people who come to your house:

  • Have they had a criminal background check?  Are they bonded?
  • Are they adequately trained?  Do they know how to safely look after patients and assist them with dressing, hygiene and other activities that might be required?
  • Do they have a supervisor?  How often will I see or hear from them?  Each company has different policies, but you should desire regular contact so that you can communicate about their employee, their work and if you feel comfortable with them.
  • How do they select who will come to the home?  Does the company match the person according to skills, training, experience and personality?  Do they listen to your preferences?  How will they accommodate the patient and make sure it’s the right fit?

How Much Do Home Services Cost?

Each patient and situation is unique, as they all have different health problems and needs. The cost of care is based on the requirements of you, your family and your doctor. Our recommendation is that you have a free in-home HealthNow Health Care evaluation, so that we can develop a plan that suits you and figure out the associated costs. This can vary from limited assistance to around-the-clock care. Charges are based on the level and quality of care to meet the individual’s needs. Contact your local HealthNow Healthcare office for more information or an in-home evaluation.