For older adults, it is not always convenient to go to the hospital for every trivial problem that arises. They prefer to get treated in their comfort zone where they can thrive emotionally and physically. Even most adults, with their demanding schedules can’t afford to go to a hospital and would much rather see a doctor at their own house. In such instances, at home care proves to be quite beneficial for patients whether they are young or old.

At home care refers to the professional support services rendered by nurses, aides and therapists to patients at home.  These services are usually provided to the elderly, people with health issues, those recovering, those with special needs and the disabled.  At home care enhances the quality of life of patients.  It benefits them by making them more independent, safer, secure and avoid hospitalization which is not required.  At home care offers companionship, therapy, nursing assistance for disease, disability and sickness, support in handling household chores and help in daily grooming.  The type of home care chosen is customized according to the patient.  Let’s take a look at the three types of At home care.

Personal Care and Companionship

In this day and when members of a household are typically busy with one thing or the other, it becomes difficult to provide for an aging parent and take best care of them. Many adults in the US are concerned about the health of their parents but they are often confused with the options that are provided to them. One of the ways which has proved to be quite beneficial for parents and their children alike is the personal home care and companionship. Personal care and companionship cater to the varying needs of different older adults, as everyone is subjected to different health conditions.

When you are opting for care for older adults in your circle, it is important to keep the differences between personal care and companionship in mind. While personal care pertains to the care provider’s assistance in various tasks, a companionship provider will simply act as a companion for the older adult.

To be descriptive, personal care offers assistance with daily activities including preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner, bathing and dressing and household chores.  This care is also known as non-medical care or senior care.

The care services offered under personal care are numerous.  Firstly, if offers aid in self-care.  Self-care includes bathing, dressing and using the toilet.  Secondly, it offers safety at home which encompasses ambulation, lifting from bed to wheelchair and fall prevention. Thirdly, it offers help in planning meals and preparing them.  In addition to the above, housekeeping, laundry, reminding to take medicines, friendship and supervision for serious diseases are offered too.

Personal care and companionship isn’t necessarily prescribed by the doctor.  It is provided on an ongoing basis and scheduled according to the client.  Care is provided by professional staff up to 24 hours and 7 days a week. Live in staff is a possibility.

This type of care is usually paid directly by the person receiving such services.  It may be paid through long term insurance, health insurance, veteran’s benefits or worker’s compensation too.

Private Duty Nursing Care

For senior citizens with special needs, private duty nursing care proves to be more beneficial than personal care or companionship staff because they can provide specialized care. Private duty nurses are typically certified and come with an extensive training. You want to choose a suitable private duty nurse for the person in need based on their qualifications.

As this type of care is longer term, nurses are provided at home on an hourly basis for adults with injuries, disabilities and chronic illnesses.  This care is also known as hourly nursing, home based skilled nursing and long term nursing care.

The care services offered under private duty nursing care are as follows:

  1. Ventilator care
  2. Tracheostomy care
  3. Monitoring of vital signs
  4. Keeping track of medications
  5. Gastrostomy care
  6. Feeding tube care
  7. Catheter care

This type of care must be prescribed by the doctor.  Care is usually provided in shifts and up to 24 hours 7 days a week.

Private duty nursing care can be paid for privately or using health insurance, veteran’s benefits, worker’s compensation or Medicaid (with qualifications).

Home Health Care

Home health care is provided in the short term.  It is provided for recovery from an illness, injury or hospitalization as directed by a physician.  This care is also known as Medicare certified home health care or visiting nurses services.

The care services offered under home health care are as follows:

  1. Short term nursing services
  2. Physical therapy
  3. Occupational therapy
  4. Speech language pathology
  5. Social work (medicine)
  6. Home health aide

This type of care must be prescribed by the doctor.  Specialized clinicians visit which lasts up to an hour.  It is usually on a short term basis.

Home health care is usually paid for by Medicare and private insurance companies.

Types of Home Health Care Services

The extent of home health care services a patient can receive know no bounds.  These at home care services include:

  1. Doctor care. A doctor will visit a patient at his house to diagnose his illness.
  1. Nursing care. The most common type of home health care is nursing care.  With the approval of a doctor, an RN will plan out the at home care.  It offers support such as managing medication, dressing wounds and monitoring the overall health of the patient.
  1. Some patients may need to relearn how to go about their household chores after an injury.  Others may need to improve their speech after an illness.  A physical therapist can plan his care such that the patient regains the use of his muscles or joints.   Occupational therapists help patients with physical, social or emotional disabilities relearn how to perform daily duties ie- eating.  A speech therapist helps a patient with speech impairment to communicate clearly.
  1. Medical Social Services. Medical social workers provide counselling to patients. They help patients to deal with emotional and social responses to the illness and/or treatment.  They educate families on health insurance coverage and entitlements.  Some social workers coordinate all the services if the situation is complex.
  1. Home Health Aide Care. Home health aides aid the patient in basic tasks such as getting out of bed, walking, etc.  Specialized training is required for specialized care.
  1. Home maker. A person who helps with household chores such as meal preparation, laundry,  groceries etc. while the patient is being taken care of at home.
  1. Patients who are alone at home may feel the need for company.  They may also help with chores such as cooking and cleaning.  They may accompany the patient for a walk too.
  1. Volunteer support. Volunteers from community organizations can provide the patient with services such as companionship, transport, care, emotional support and even paperwork.
  1. Nutritional Care. Dieticians can provide guidance on the diet of the patient and ways to support the treatment.
  1. Labs and X rays. Certain lab tests can be performed at the home of the patient.  In addition, portable machinery can be used to perform those tests at home.  Certain diseases may be diagnosed at home.
  1. Pharmaceutical Services. Medicine and medicinal equipment can be transported to the patient’s home.  Training on how to use the equipment can be provided to the patient.
  1. Transport facilities are provided to patients who need transportation to go to a clinic or hospital.
  1. Home delivered meals. Patients who are at home may require meals on wheels if they are unable to cook independently.  Piping hot meals can be delivered upon the patient’s request.

As home health care becomes one of the fastest growing jobs in New York, the needs of patients at home will be better met.  The growing aging population has contributed significantly to the growth of home health care.  Medicaid allows eligible seniors to choose their helper to assist them at home.  As demand rises, home care jobs will continue to grow and modern healthcare will continue to enhance the quality of life of patients at home.

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