a nurse home care visits a patient

Have you ever thought about obtaining at-home services whether for you or an elderly relative? Are you concerned that the quality of care won’t meet your standards? Luckily for you, there are plenty of options and ways on how to find the right home care services that benefit you. First, however, we need to know what at-home care entails.

What Are Home Care Services

Home care services are defined as supportive care provided in an individual’s home at the hands of a healthcare professional. The people that qualify for at-home care tend to be elderly folk or those who are recovering from surgery, chronically ill, or disabled. This sort of professional care often includes services such as:

  1. Household tasks (laundry, dishes, cleaning the yard, etc.)
  2. Prepping and cooking meals
  3. Providing healthcare services to tend to any medical-related issues
  4. Personal care (assisting with dressing, bathing, or walking around the house)

For the most part, when considering home care services, you’re basically receiving almost any type of help in your day-to-day life. While most of these services do cost money, you can obtain them for free through community-centered programs. In addition, if there’s ever any trouble covering the costs, some government programs offer partial coverage to help facilitate any need you might require.

What Are The Benefits of Home Care?

Having at-home care presents a multitude of opportunities that a senior normally wouldn’t be able to enjoy. As stated above with the services provided by an at-home care worker, the benefits extend from facilitating a normal lifestyle to preventing any incidents that worsen the patient’s current conditions. Here are several ways in which you or a loved one can benefit:

  • First hand and in-person care
  • Affordable care outside of medical facilities
  • Important and crucial companionship at all times from health care professionals
  • Personalized diet and nutrition assistance
  • Improved and overall better health outcomes
  • Prescription and medication management by an experienced worker
  • Round the clock skilled support from nursing care at your residence

The Costs of In-Home Care

The costs of in-home care will vary based on numerous factors. Not only does the state in which you reside matter, but also the types of services that’ll be needed alongside the agency you hire the caregiver from and the hours they work.

When considering in-home services, it is worth noting that the average family pays $4,000 per month, or what typically amounts to $20 per hour. This average will fluctuate depending on the state you live in and can skew towards a higher rate if you live in an area where those services are in high demand, where workers are in short supply, or both.

Most Expensive States (Based on the average cost):

  1. North Dakota → $27/hour
  2. Alaska → $26/hour
  3. Hawaii → $25/hour
  4. Massachusetts → $25/hour
  5. Minnesota → $25/hour

Least Expensive States (Based on the average cost):

  1. Georgia → $18/hour
  2. Tennessee → $18/hour
  3. Alabama→ $17/hour
  4. Missouri → $17/hour
  5. Louisiana → $16/hour

Although these numbers are based on the national average, keep in mind that the final cost will be dependent on the total amount of hours a professional healthcare worker is instructed to work. The variables affecting the final cost will be based on the hourly rate, daily rate, and finally overnight rates. All of these things are worth looking into when attempting to find the right at home-care service.

How To Finance In-Home Care

Are you struggling to find viable and affordable in-home care? Fortunately, there are multiple ways of financing the services you might need. The financing options include:

Original Medicare

Original Medicare plans will not offer coverage for any form of non-medical treatment. As a result, anyone seeking to achieve coverage for non-medical home care services will be unable to. However, despite this, Medicare is able to provide coverage for home care and other services when it is deemed medically necessary.

Under a specific set of criteria in their “homebound” policy, Original Medicare allows individuals that meet these guidelines to qualify for coverage. Furthermore, any person who has suffered a continued decline in their health may also be eligible. Just remember that Medicare will not pay for personal care during visits by healthcare professionals.

Medicaid

In contrast to Original Medicare, Medicaid is a federal and state insurance program focused on providing aid to low-income and disabled families. Under most circumstances, Medicaid does pay for both non-medical and medical home health care. Given the broad-ranging benefits offered to applicants, the qualifications for Medicaid are distinct in every state. For this reason, benefits and eligibility will vary greatly.

In Medicaid, any and all services offered outside of its nursing homes will be defined as Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). These services are covered under regular Medicaid and provide plenty of opportunities for individuals to qualify for their benefits.

Veteran’s Benefits

Through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), veterans are given several forms of assistance in regards to obtaining affordable home care. For instance:

  1. Veterans are eligible to receive three different pension benefits (Improved Pension, Housebound, Aid and Assistance) that allow them to apply their cash assistance towards home care.
  2. With the Veterans-Directed HCBS, veterans can also obtain numerous services they can select that cater to their needs.
  3. The Veterans’ Respite Care program provides trained and licensed caregivers to look after veterans, and tend to their essential needs.

State Non-Medicaid Programs

Across the United States, states have a variety of home care assistance programs catered towards low-income seniors that are not eligible for Medicaid. The main goal of these programs is to prevent and most importantly delay seniors from being placed in a nursing home. Program benefits can range from cash assistance to in-home support. How a state manages each support program is subject to where you live.

Medicare Advantage Benefits

As of recently, the Medicare Advantage (MA) program has started offering health insurance plans that provide coverage for home care services. Coverage from these plans is contingent on the effectiveness of these services in preventing and lessening the likelihood of injury or emergency care. Several of the home-care services that may fall under coverage include:

  • Palliative care
  • Meal delivery
  • Caregivers
  • Personal care assistance

Starting in 2020, coverage criteria for these services have been further loosened and has in fact made it easier to obtain supplemental coverage benefits. In addition, the benefits received can be customized to meet many of the needs an individual requires.

Ideal In-Home Care Agencies For Seniors

When looking for quality in-home care services, it is important to note which home care agency will be able to offer the service that best suits you. The last thing you want is to pay an outlandish rate for mediocre home care. Fortunately, the good news is that there are plenty of agencies to look towards. We’ve listed some of the more popular and more reliable ones below.

Nurse Next Door

Nurse Next Door is a home care company that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, alongside being labeled as a highly rated and respected institution.

Seniors Helping Seniors

A well known, great quality company, Seniors Helping Seniors places emphasis on recruiting seniors for caregiver positions. Furthermore, the company’s services offer long-distance check-ins coupled with help from the organization.

Home Instead

What makes Home Instead a viable agency? Not only are caregivers instructed in Alzheimer’s care, but they are also subjected to a rigorous selection process. Additionally, the program offers subsidized Alzheimer’s care for families in need of financial assistance.

Home Care Assistance

The Home Care Assistance facility utilizes the latest research to mold and offer the best type of care possible. All the while, its team of professionals are focused on ensuring that their caregivers are of the utmost standard.

Comfort Keepers

In addition to providing an emergency response system for patients, the Comfort Keepers agency prides itself on offering services that facilitate an efficient response with clients. For instance, the agency provides clients with mobile devices to keep track of their needs alongside giving them affordable transportation.

Alternative Options For Home Care

Besides in-home care assistants that you can hire there are alternative options for home care that you may not know. From companionship programs to use of family caregivers, here are several of the options available to you:

Adult Day Program

An adult day care program offers seniors a secure location to receive care while also being able to socialize. The basic needs of a senior are covered in this program, and it even includes services such as:

  • Medical assistance
  • Meal preparation
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment

For someone that is looking for an alternative beyond home care for their loved ones, then this is a program worth looking into. Prices may be dependent on the length of stay and facility but it is worth noting that the average price for such programs is around $72 per day.

Senior Companion Program

A senior companion program is a governmental and community-based effort centered around local volunteers lending support to family caregivers. These volunteers are tasked with offering friendship and assistance to seniors that are struggling in their day-to-day lives.

To become a volunteer in one of these programs, volunteers must be over the age of 55 and even be willing to go shop or pay bills for seniors. If you wish to find a local senior companion program, you can check the National Service database to see if there are any available in your area.

Respite Care

In need of a break from almost 24/7 home care of your loved one? Well, then respite care is for you. Respite care provides relief for primary caregivers, thus allowing them to catch a quick breather and do something beyond giving constant care. This type of care can happen anywhere such as in your home, a senior living community, and even an adult day care facility.

From bathing to cooking to personal assistance, respite workers are trained to do the same work a primary caregiver would usually do. The only thing respite care workers aren’t able to do is provide medical assistance. When searching for a respite care program, the prices for these programs will fluctuate from $70 to $135 per day.

Family Caregivers

In the event that none of the above options work for you, there is always the possibility of becoming the primary caregiver for any fellow family member in need. Being the family caregiver gives you a more direct hands-on approach with the needs of your loved one that otherwise wouldn’t be possible by hiring someone.

The main benefit of this form of care is the amount of money you will save from not utilizing a professional healthcare worker. Nevertheless, if you decide to become the primary caregiver, you must note that a lot of your time will be centered around taking proper care of your family member and making sure that all of their needs are being fully met.

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