There may come a time when a loved one becomes ill or is aging and needs more assistance at home. In home health care is intended to allow people to remain in the comfort of their own home, while still receiving the care they need.
In Home Health Care Concepts
In home health care can be a confusing topic for many people because there are a variety of roles a caregiver can have and different services offered— and it all depends on the needs of your loved one. There are many concepts within in home health care that anyone considering this should have a firm grasp on prior to seeking a caretaker.
Caring for a loved one can be a challenging and exhausting process, and it is important that you allow yourself times of respite. In home health care serves as a great solution for when you need to temporarily step away, be it for a vacation or even running some errands of your own.
The idea behind respite care is to give relief to the caregiver, so they can take care of responsibilities in their own life. There is no need to feel guilty about temporarily stepping away. You cannot provide the type of care your loved one needs if you are physically and mentally drained.
Respite care services can include:
- Support for activities of daily living
- Sensory stimulation
- Peace of mind for family members
In home health care for a loved one should consist of more than just looking out for their safety. It’s important that the caretaker chosen not only meets their physical needs, but emotional ones too. An in-home caretaker should be just as compassionate as they are professional. When searching for the right caretaker, a family member should consider the following things:
- Preference between a proactive person, or one that follows orders
- Personality type
- The loved one’s interests
Whenever possible, family members should always involve the loved one in the conversation about in home health care. In fact, anyone involved in the process should be drawn in. It is a family decision.
Interactive caregiving spans beyond simple healthcare. It means getting involved with the individual on a multi-dimensional level. It’s an approach that focuses on mind, body, safety, and nutrition.
Mind: Activities for the mind can range from a good conversation to a jigsaw puzzle. The caregiver you choose should be just as interested in these activities, as meeting their ADLs.
Body: As people age, they lose bone mass and it’s important they are getting the daily exercise they need. A caregiver should know the loved one’s limitations, and exercise with them accordingly. It will help them to maintain balance and coordination, as well as keep them healthy.
Nutrition: Meal planning and prep should consist of healthy, nutrient-rich foods. If the loved one has a doctor-prescribed diet, they should be following that plan as well.
Safety: During the initial consultation, the in home health aide will inspect the environment to determine any obstacles that could be a safety issue. It’s also a good idea to have an emergency response system in place.
There are many different types of technology available for the in home health care industry that can give you peace of mind about a loved one. The following are some prime examples of what’s on the market:
Personal Emergency Response Systems
Depending on the independence of the loved one, a personal emergency response system may be a good idea. The PERS is a home device that an individual wears around their neck, which can connect them to a 24-hour call center with the simple push of a button.
People over 65 statistically fall on a much more frequent basis than everyone else, and they may not always be able to reach a phone. Although this technology is not new, it is very reasonably priced and something that creates a much safer environment for a loved one.
Home Telemonitoring Devices
A newer technology that is keeping people out of the hospital, this is a wearable device that allows people to remotely monitor vital signs, weight, and symptoms. It then sends a message with the information to an aide or caretaker.
Other forms of telemonitoring devices include bed sensors which can capture interruptions in sleep patterns, restlessness, pulse, and respiration.
People can now actually see a doctor from the comfort of your own home. Using phones and standard video conferencing devices, patients can access their healthcare from online through a service called Telehealth. This can free up time for any other caretaker, with less doctor’s appointments and errands.
Telehealth allows doctors to monitor patients remotely and share test results in real-time. The ability to have face-to-face interaction and document collaboration makes this in home health care technology more and more popular by the day.
In Home Health Care vs. Home Care
There are two types of care that can go on in the home and they are often used interchangeably, but they are not necessarily the same. In home care generally refers to all non-medical care—thus when the term “health” is added, it implies a form of medical treatment being offered.
In home care generally refers to assistance with activities of daily living. This can include meeting some of the following needs:
- Eating and meal prep
- Personal hygiene
- Medication management
- Social activities
In home health care requires a more trained caretaker. Home health care is generally prescribed by a doctor, and in addition to assistance with daily activities, it can also include some of the following medical services:
- IV care
- Wound care
- Medical and psychological assessments
- Pain management
- Catheter management
- Medication education
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
In addition to the two types of care being slightly different, the caretaker you may need is also defined by medical or non-medical services. There are two main roles in home care: a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) or a Home Health Aide (HHA).
Home Health Aide (HHA)
In a home health care environment, an HHA is usually assigned by a doctor and is also a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). HHA’s have specialized training in nursing and generally work for certified nursing agencies or hospice care.
Due to the level of medical tasks required by the job, a PCA is not qualified to care for these types of individuals. If your loved one needs any form of medical care, an HHA is your best bet.
PCA (Personal Care Assistant)
In home care that only requires meeting the needs of daily activities like bathing and grooming do not necessitate any medical experience, but simple companionship. The main role of a PCA is to be there for your loved one—but if they require medical care, family members should consider an HHA. The most medical care a PCA can provide is medication reminders and incontinence.
Depending on the state of residence, there are certain requirements for the kind of aide you receive and the title of the caregiver. For example, California does not have licensure for custodial care services or non-medical care. It’s important before you look into home health care, that each decision-maker understands the state’s licensure requirements, and what could or could not be covered by insurance.
Florida requires different forms of licensing depending on the care provided. PCA’s are hired by home maker companion agencies, where ADL’s are generally handled by nurses. Before hiring anyone, anyone should always do a background check on any caregiver chosen (or have an agency do one).
If a doctor refers a loved one to home health care, the first thing anyone should do is figure out the insurance plan and what could or could not be covered. Medicare-covered home health benefits depend on the health plan, and Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) differs by service. When a loved one is referred, mention to your doctor what coverage they have so they can have their bills paid correctly.
Overall, choosing home health care for a loved one is an important and challenging process. It is critical that anyone do homework beforehand, so each person fully understands how to exactly meet the needs of a loved one.
Regardless of whether the services provided are medical or not, an initial assessment and consultation is required to know exactly what an individual needs. Additionally, finding a caretaker that is compatible with a loved one is absolutely imperative. After all, this is going to be their companion when family members are not there, and they should treat any family like their own. Contact Comfort Home Care by sending us a message online or by calling us for more information.