In Home Care Agencies
If seniors prefer to stay in their own homes and still get assistance for their daily activities and health care, home care agencies provide a great alternative for assisted living.
In-home care / home health care refers to a broad spectrum of non-medical and medical services.
In-home care falls into the following three categories:
(1) Non-medical care: Non-medical home care is also known as private duty home care. This type of care includes services such as:
- Personal care (bathing, toileting, clothing, feeding, etc.)
- Respite care
- Light housekeeping
- Meal preparation
- Medication reminders
- Running errands
- Live in support
(2) Medical Care: Home based medical care helps people who are released from the hospital after treatment or surgery and need continuous skilled nursing and/or other types of medical care to fully recover. Medical services provided at home include:
- Skilled nursing
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Medical social work
- Certified home health aide work
(3) Hospice Care: Seniors diagnosed with terminal illnesses who have less than six months to live (as determined by the physician) can avail hospice care at home. Hospice care is palliative care and not curative care. If a senior does not want to be in a hospice facility, then home based hospice care can be considered.
There are more number of non-medical home care agencies than ones offering medical and hospice home care services.
In addition to providing at-home health care and personal services, in-home care agencies also provide support and services to seniors living in assisted living facilities and independent retirement living communities.
It is estimated that over 7000 home care service agencies offer a variety of in-home services to seniors living in their homes all over the United States.
In-Home Care Payment Options
Medicare covers home medical and non-medical care for a short period, typically following the discharge of a patient from a hospital, when it is provided by a Medicare-certified home health care agency and when certain guidelines are met. Medicaid, a program for people with limited income and resources, sometimes covers home care for longer periods of time than Medicare. Private insurance can also pay for home care services but generally follows Medicare guidelines. The final option is for families to pay out-of-pocket through private funds.
Hospice care is typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans. Medicare requires hospice services to be provided at home and asks for certification by a physician at the beginning of each of two 90-day periods. Co-payments are paid by patients and their families when they can afford them. Otherwise, hospice agencies usually cover their costs through charitable donations and are still able to provide the care.