Home Care aide teaching elderly woman to use computer

Home Care Q & A

Home Care Q & A reviews the most common questions asked about private duty home care. Each person and situation is different so individual Care Plans vary. Overall though, Home Care keeps a person safe, improve quality of life, assist as needed with personal care, household chores, transportation, and companionship and provide respite time for spouses and other familial caregivers.

General Questions

  1. Does it matter if I hire privately or through a company?

Yes! People think they are getting a lower rate when they hire privately. However, according to the law,  you are the employer and responsible for taxes, Social Security, Workman’s Comp and so forth. In the end, the time and cost may be the same. It is important to go with a licensed company (AHCA in Florida) to have the peace of mind that there is someone overseeing the practice of the caregivers. With a licensed company, you have back up should your aide not show up or go on vacation, oversight, and recourse as situations come up. You know the aides are screened and certified with a licensed company.

2) Does Medicare cover Home Care?

Keep in mind, Home Care is an umbrella term. It refers to care happening in a home or residence. Medicare Home Health Care refers to medical visits; Registered Nurse, Physical, Occupational and speech therapists, Social Worker and an aide for bath visits. These are typically an hour in duration. Private duty home care can be from one to twenty-four hours a day, so you set the schedule.  Medicare does not pay for private duty as it is considered to be custodial care.

3)  What are the Keys to Successful Home Care?

Three important features provide positive experiences and outcomes.  The obvious one is the “Match” because people, they need to “click” with each other – that is the magic of chemistry. Secondly, the aide has experience with the presenting issues, therefore being familiar with certain equipment – i.e. Hoyer Lift, Oxygen, Catheters and common behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body and other Dementias.  Thirdly is the right schedule. With too few hours or days, not everything is getting done, or it is rushed, including your loved one. With too much care, there may not be enough to do so there is too much downtime.

4) Are there Minimum Number of Hours or Days?

Companies vary on their requirements. Some have 12-20 hour a week minimums while others may have just 2 hours a week or 1-2 days. Flexibility is very important. The care recipient may not want it or be in denial that any help is needed. This is particularly true when Dementia is a presenting diagnosis.

5)  Who pays for Private Home Care?

Long Term Care Policies cover costs, or you pay out of pocket. Review your LTC policy if you have one before you need to use it because you don’t want unpleasant surprises. Government sources which help pay for home care are Medicaid and the Veteran’s Administration (Aid & Attendance). Each has its own requirements.

6) Are Schedules important?

Yes, because they lead to better consistency. With a schedule everyone knows when help is there and a rapport can be established. For clients with cognitive impairment, a schedule/routine is most helpful. It just helps everyone to plan their day/week better.

Knowing When to Begin Care

People seek home care for many reasons. Short term help following an illness, hospitalization or surgery, or long term when the condition is progressive such as Alzheimer/Dementia, Parkinson Disease, and Cancer among others. Care is sought to give “respite time” to the primary caregiver; a spouse or adult son or daughter.  Family caregivers  often  cannot sustain it without negative repercussions to their own health and well-being. Waiting too long is human nature,as is denial on the part of the older adult and family members.  Be honest with yourself, will help make things easier,  can you provide the best care and if you truly want to keep the person at home? Private Duty Home Care buys time. It is an adjustment to have a new person in the home and helping with personal needs.

When you are getting tired, cranky, delaying your own health needs, decreasing social contacts or just not able to provide the level of care you want to,begin looking into hired help. A professional company will help you create the Care Plan and schedule,  evolving over time. The important thing is to “Get Started”!