Homecare constitutes a variety of community based services designed to support individuals recovering from acute or ongoing chronic health issues. These services are provided in the homes of individuals who need such support, and enable such individuals to recover and be cared for in an environment that is familiar and comfortable to them. In many cases, homecare also allows individuals to maintain some level of independence.
Homecare personnel include: (1) registered nurses, who provide a wide range of medical services; (2) therapists, who work with patients to help them maintain and develop their cognitive abilities; (3) homecare aides, who provide a wide range of non-medical personal services; and (4) companions, who help patients with non-personal chores. To get started with homecare, a family caregiver should take the following steps:
- Discuss homecare options with the individual who needs such services, to insure that the individual is comfortable with the concept.
- Define the tasks that need to be provided, in order to identify the appropriate provider at the appropriate level of care.
- Research the various homecare providers, obtain costs estimates, and determine whether such services are covered by insurance.
- Determine which services are not covered by private health insurance or Medicare, and whether the individual who needs such services has a long-term care insurance policy to cover any such uncovered services.
To choose the appropriate homecare agency, make sure that the agency is Medicare certified if the needed services qualify for such coverage. As an alternative to hiring help through a homecare agency, homecare registries are available to help you screen and hire the appropriate homecare personnel. Certain government programs also exist to provide homecare, and the availability of such options can be determined through the Department of Human Services. Lastly, hospice services are available for individuals who have months rather than years to live. In such cases, with a doctor’s order, the cost of hospice services is typically covered via Medicare or private insurance.