Providing Care



There’s no place like home. That’s why most people want to stay there. But as people age, that can be a daunting challenge. So families often need to hire outsiders to help a loved one remain comfortable and independent.If you’re in that situation, the first step is to figure out exactly what kind of help you need. You can do this on your own, or ask a doctor, geriatric care manager, social worker or hospital discharge planner for advice.

These are the types of in-home caregivers you will likely consider:

Medical Professionals: Depending on the care needed, you can arrange for a nurse, physical therapist and possibly even a doctor to visit your loved one. These people generally provide only skilled care and medical services.

Home Health Aides: These are people who have received formal training and have passed a competency test. They may be certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or personal care aides. They generally work for Medicare-certified home health or hospice agencies that are regulated by state and federal laws and receive reimbursements from Medicare and/or Medicaid. Typically, home health aides are supervised by a nurse or other medical professional, and the agency that employs them assumes full liability for care. Aides may provide basic health services such as checking a patient’s pulse and temperature, administering medications, changing wound dressings or helping with prescribed exercises. Experienced home health aides may assist with medical equipment.

Home Care Aides: If someone doesn’t require in-home health care but could use assistance with household chores and personal care, you may need a home care aide, also called a homemaker or a personal care aide. There is no certification required for this position, but many home care aides are employed by agencies and are supervised by a licensed nurse or social worker. Others are employed directly by an older adult or his family.

Paying For Care

If a doctor orders in-home health care, Medicare may cover part of the cost. A long-term care insurance policy can cover costs when Medicare runs out. Note that Medicare will pay for only part-time or “intermittent” care from a home health aide. This may mean three 90-minute visits a week during a period when she’s receiving home physical therapy. Visit the Medicare website for details.

Medicare will not cover homemaker services. Nor will it cover personal care services, such as bathing and dressing, provided by a home health aide if that is the only care required. Medicaid may pay for some of the services not covered by Medicare. Visit the Medicaid website for more information.

To view the original article, click here. Content provided courtesy of AARP.