What is Home Care?
One thing that we all have in common is that when hospitalized or undergoing rehabilitation, 100% of us want to go home. If a physician determines that you or your loved one requires 24/7 care & supervision, the most important question that must be asked to make a safe care decision is whether or not there is a “willing & able” caregiver to meet the “level of care” required to keep you or your loved one safe to prevent hospital readmission.
Most family members are “willing” to provide the care required to keep a loved one home. However, are they physically, emotionally, and mentally “able” to be a primary caregiver? If the answer is yes, the problem is solved. If the answer is no, hiring a non-medical in-home care agency (home care) may be appropriate.
Although home care agencies are not regulated or licensed in Arizona, reputable agencies are bonded, insured, and provide caregivers that have received background checks, fingerprint clearances, and training with first aid & CPR.
Caregivers visit their patients wherever they are by providing non-medical assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, toileting, transferring, and incontinence. If medication management is required, you should inquire as to whether or not an agency being considered is able to meet that level of care. Other services such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, and transportation to doctor appointments, grocery store, banks, etc can also be accommodated.
When narrowing down the agency choices, it’s important to consider the agency’s commitment to caregiver training. For example, agencies that claim to offer specialized dementia care programs should be able to provide specifics about their training and program. When you contact an agency, they will do their best to answer your initial questions and concerns prior to scheduling an initial consultation or intake in order to put together a plan of care.
Most agencies require a minimum of 2-4 hours per visit with the average rate in our area averaging $23.00/hour. While Medicare does not cover this type of care, a long term care insurance policy may.
One question that I am frequently asked is about the option of hiring a private caregiver or “live-in” caregiver. While this option can be desirable, and there certainly are private caregivers that provide care for the right reasons, unfortunately, private or in-home caregiving can also be a source of elder abuse (financial, sexual & neglect) so beware.
The best aspect of home care is that you or your loved one is home.
Things to consider are the following:
1) Cost: If 24/7 care is required, that amounts to an average of $16,836 per month. For most of us, that is not an option. Even 6-8 hours per day can exceed the monthly cost of 24/7 care & supervision in assisted living.
2) You may like some caregivers but not care so much for others, but you will not always get what you want. The hired agency will send their caregivers that are available to meet the level of care required.
3) There can be gaps in service due to inclement weather, flu season, etc.
In summary, the most important questions to ask yourself when considering home care is whether or not there is a willing and able caregiver available to meet the level of care required, the cost, and the other considerations mentioned above.