Home Health Care 101
Thanks to advances in medical knowledge and technology, more and more care can be given at home. Being cared for at home instead of a hospital, assisted living facility or nursing home has many advantages, including less expense, and living more comfortably in your own surroundings.
Home Health Care is medical treatment in the home instead of in a medical facility such as a hospital, assisted living facility or nursing home. Medical care and treatments that were once only administered in a medical facility may now be provided in the comfort and privacy of your own home and surroundings. For example, delivery of a drug into your system over several hours through an i.v. known as an "infusion," formerly had to be performed in a medical facility. Now infusions and even dialysis can be performed at your home. Home health care can be provided through a Home Health Care Agency or you can hire helpers on your own. If you expect Medicare, Medicaid, or your insurance company to pay for home health care, you will need to use an agency.
When exploring the idea of home health care, consider:
- The amount and complexity of the care you need now and in the foreseeable future.
- Whether the care can be provided in your home.
- The financial situation. If your health insurance doesn't pay for home care, and if you don't have Long Term Care Insurance that does, see if you can negotiate payment. If you have to pay, you may be able to obtain volunteer services and free or low cost medical equipment.
- Whether to obtain home care through a home care agency or hire people on your own. Medicare and Medicaid require use of a certified agency. Other insurance may allow you to hire your own people.
Going through a reputable private agency is more expensive than hiring someone directly, but it can save you headaches. Agency aides are bonded (insured against theft, loss and injury in a home), you don't have to pay their taxes as an employer, and the agency provides replacement workers quickly, if necessary. To get an idea of the current cost of different types of care in the state in which you live, go to www.Genworth.com/mycostofcare
There are time tested methods of locating and choosing a health care agency or workers, as well as maximizing use of either.
- Most health insurance pays for home care, including private policies, Medicare, Medicaid, and CHAMPUS. Long Term Care Insurance also pays for home care. There are usually requirements to satisfy before an insurer will pay.
- You can pay for home health care on your own. If there is no money, there may be a community organization or government program that will pay.
- If you have to pay out of your pocket, contact your local Area Agency on Aging for information about home-care agencies and sources of funding. To locate your local agency, type "local Area Agency on Aging office" and the name of your state into your favorite browser.
If things don't work out, complain. If that doesn't do it, change agencies or workers.
Consider making your enviornment into a healing place. For tips, as well as other tips about functioning while being home bound, click here.
For additional information, see:
- Is Home Health Care Right For You?
- Home Health Care Agencies: What They Are And What Services They Provide.
- How To Locate A Home Health Care Agency
- How To Choose A Home Health Care Agency
- Hiring Your Own Home Health Care Workers 101
- How To Protect Your Personal Property When Receiving Home Care
- Home Bound 101
- Maximizing Use
- How To Complain About Poor Home Health Care
NOTE: If you don't have your own car, or have difficulty driving, there are alternatives available.
- Family members, friends or home care aides can drive you. Don't hesitate to ask.
- Check for availability of transportation in your area for people with a disability. The Department of Aging in your state can provide information. To locate the department in your state: see http://retireplan.about.com/cs/retirement/a/aging_agencies.htm .
- Your doctor or hospital may provide transportation to and from.