Sunday, April 3, 2011

Selecting Care for an Aging or Chronically Ill or Disabled Loved One

As the population of Boomers continues to grow in American, more often than not we will be faced with the challenges of balancing, work, family, and health care needs of our injured, disabled, chronically ill or aging loved one. These important healthcare decisions will have significant impact on the quality of life for all involved.
Studies have shown people prefer to remain in the comforts of their home for as long as possible. Whether you or your loved one is seeking care, or planning for the future care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aging loved one, this information will help you make an educated home care decision and address the basic steps in accessing home health care agencies.

Home Care:

A broad range of health care and supportive services provided in a home setting. Home care can include professional nursing, paraprofessional home care aides services, and companion care.

How To Obtain Services:
If under a doctor’s care, ask to be referred to home care. If not under a doctor’s care contact your county Office on Aging and ask for referrals.
Community professionals, support groups, public health agencies, you should be given at least three home care agencies to contact. Or, simply refer to the yellow pages, search the web, ask members  of clergy, friends and family members.

Types of Services:
Health Care – Assistance with toileting, showering bed bathing, incontinence care, skilled transfers. Pre and post operation care, reinforce wound dressings, skilled nursing care. Disease state management, etc.
Supportive Services – companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands/shopping, medication reminders, stand and assist for showing and dressing, etc.

Questions to Ask Before Selecting an Agency
• How long has the agency been in existence?
• How are your home health aides recruited?
• Are the aides licensed and/or bonded?
• Is care available on a live-in basis? Part time? Full time?
• What are the aides’ usual job duties?
• Are needs assessed periodically by a nurse?
• If the assigned aide calls in sick or does not show up will a substitute be available?
• If there is dissatisfaction with the assigned aides will he or she be replaced?
• Are aides paid directly by the patient, the family or through the

Benefits of Home Care:
• Meet the needs of people and
• The security and comfort of care
and support in your own home.
• Support for families while keeping them together, helping each other.
• Personalized care tailored to the needs of each client and homesituation.
• The dignity and independence which are possible in your own home.
• Professionally-supervised services monitored and regulated to assure quality and adherence to state and national standards.
• Flexibility of scheduling care 24hours a day, every day of the year.
• Lower cost of care than in other settings (institutional & hospital)
• Cost-effective alternative to institutional long term care and acute care

Protecting You and Your Loved Ones:
The agency should have proper licensure with the state of New Jersey, bonded and insured. Background checks should be conducted on all field staff. Caregivers should have the appropriate certifications based upon the level of care administered.  A service agreement should be outlined and agreed upon.
Payment for home care services is covered by individual patients and families, Waiver Programs, Medicare and/or Medicaid may pay for a limited amount of time. Long-term care insurance policies may also cover quality home care.

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