Personal Home Care: Basics of Being at Home

Personal Home Care has as its major focus and commitment to keep you or your loved one safe and cared for where they live, resulting in the highest quality of an independent lifestyle. When a senior needs or asks for help with personal home care it usually is with the ADLs or Activities of Daily Living as they are known in the medical, insurance and in-home health care fields.

The ADLs Are:

The Activities of Daily Living requiring personal home care assistance to improve hygiene, nutrition and personal safety are: Bathing, Dressing, Incontinence (toileting), Transferring (getting up & down), Ambulation (walking) and Feeding. Help with personal care may be “stand by assist” or complete hands on care. Long Term Care insurers usually require some level of assistance needed with two or three of these ADLs to trigger coverage.

The necessity for help with personal home care can result from: Stroke, paralysis, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, unsteadiness and weakness, M.S., Heart Disease, COPD, Diabetes, Cancer or coming home after major surgery among other things. No one wants to fall when getting in and out of the shower, bending over to pull up pants or put on socks. Fall prevention is a key feature of successful private duty care. Incontinence care is a very sensitive matter for the individual and the family caregiver and is handled with the utmost concern for dignity and privacy.  Another safety concern for the family is when one parent is managing the hands on care of a heavier or incapacitated loved one, and then they become a fall risk also.

Medicare or Private Duty?

There is understandable confusion about what Medicare covers and how it differs from private duty care or private nursing. Medicare skilled care in the home requires an order from the doctor, there must be a medical need for either nursing, physical, occupational or speech therapy. The Medicare agency sets the schedule and it is usually intermittent, short term care.

Private duty care doesn’t require any orders; you set the schedule and length of care. The client pays directly for personal home care or it goes through their Long Term Care Insurance. If you have the need for private nursing for treatment such as wound care, peg feedings, or IV medications, a doctor’s order is needed. For regular monitoring of vitals, blood pressure, pulse rate or Medication Management, an order isn’t required, although ongoing communication with your physician and pharmacist will follow.

Paradise Home Health Care can have a licensed nurse (LPN, RN or ARNP) visit you or your loved one at home to ensure routine monitoring of each condition and medication compliance. Private nursing for medication management will keep the different prescription medications organized, update changes in medications and dosages, educate the patient and caregivers, as well as do a regular med pour of filling the pillbox.

Help with personal care at home is the best way to remain at home safely, largely independent with an improved quality of life. Private duty services includes assistance with: cooking, shopping, laundry, driving/appointments, light housekeeping, companionship, pet care and respite time for the primary caregiver, spouse, or other family member.

If it sounds like the hired private duty caregiver or aide does a lot, it is because they do. Research shows the care partner or spouse is 60% more at risk than the person they are caring for. They may be able to “do it all,” but there is a cumulative effect which will catch up with them, usually with medical consequences.  Respite time is another leading reason to hire private duty care.