home health aide

Checking in to home health agencies is a critical part of the responsibility of the family of an elderly person. Finding the right one is an even harder responsibility.

Differences in Available Home Care

The concept of home health care is different for every patient depending on needs, preferences, and abilities. People recovering from surgery at home, for example, may need a registered nurse (RN) to change dressings, monitor vital signs, and check for infection. A physical therapist may also be required for massages, manipulation, range of motion exercises, or mobility. Those skilled care services are available at home health agencies that have skilled staff on hand to tend to those needs.

Costs for those services reflect the experience and education required for professional positions. Regulations include requirements for agencies to have a director of nursing for supervision of RNs, completing patient assessments, and developing care plans. Many insurances cover some costs, but those with limited benefits will have to contribute to the cost of care.

Non-Skilled Care at Home

The term, non-skilled, is inaccurate to describe a caregiver or home health aide because anyone in such a position has been trained, certified, and carefully screened before being hired by any agency. It is an administrative term used to distinguish oversight requirements. It means the worker in the home cannot perform certain functions, such as administering medication, assessing needs, or creating plans for therapy.

Care provided includes assistance with daily living activities, like getting dressed, brushing teeth, or making a bed. Cooking, transportation, fall prevention, companionship, and light housekeeping are also examples of non-skilled care. These services are typically more affordable than skilled care and are designed to keep people safe in the home. Services also allow people to remain at home and be as independent as possible rather than going to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Degree of Care

The number of hours, schedule of what is to be done, and activities preferred are all based on the needs and desires of the patient and family members. Some people only need help occasionally when a family member has to leave town for business, which is referred to as respite care. Others may need someone to arrive every morning and every evening to help with dressing and bathing. People who are more independent may only wish to have someone come to the home once a week to get out of the house for the afternoon.

Needs may be temporary when someone is recovering from an illness or fall. Long-term care needs can be set up to accommodate someone living with dementia, someone in a wheelchair, or a person with diminished capacities. Research agencies to discover services provided, pricing, and how long agencies have been in business.