September News: In Home Care

Be Safe. Be Well-Cared For In Your Home.

That’s where in-home care can help. September is Healthy Aging Month. This month is dedicated to learning more about in-home care resources that can help you enjoy your senior years.

Elderly woman speaking on cell phone at home

Are you concerned about growing old at home?

Getting Older Happens!

All of us experience the aging process. It is something that you cannot avoid. As you age, things change. You may be hearing common complaints like these:

“The stairs are getting so hard to climb.”

“Since my wife died, I just open a can of soup for dinner.”

“I’ve lived here 40 years. No other place will seem like home.”

“I want to stay in my own home!”

The good news is that people may be able to stay in their home or apartment longer than they think. With the right kind of home care, you can stay healthy and age well and right where you are.

What’s The Difference Between Home Healthcare and Home Care?

Home healthcare provides skilled medical care in the home and is generally covered by health insurance. In many cases people who need home healthcare have a medical condition or a post-surgical need that that requires medical care from a licensed medical care provider such as a nurse or a therapist. Home healthcare is prescribed by the doctor.

Home care includes daily-living services that help an individual stay safe and comfortable in their home providing much peace of mind for children or grandchildren. Home care services are not medical services. It’s important to note that non-medical home care services are not covered by insurance unless they are advised by a physician under specific, temporary circumstances.

Nurse and patient smiling in a home setting.

Get medical home health after a recent hospital stay.

Medical Home Health

If you have a chronic health condition or if you have an acute need like a recent hospital stay, you can get home healthcare help. Home healthcare is medical care provided by a licensed professional in the home. It is commonly part of a patient recovery plan after illness, injury or decline and is prescribed by your doctor. Your health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental insurance, Advantage plans, Veterans, private insurance) generally covers the cost of home healthcare. Services include:

  • Skilled Nursing Services
  • Administration of prescription medications or injections
  • Medical tests
  • Monitoring of health status
  • Wound care/catheter care/ostomy care
  • IV services
  • Physical/occupational/speech therapy
  • Home health aides
  • Medical social services

Home healthcare may also be prescribed in other circumstances. Suppose you had a fall in your apartment. Suppose you became ill with a new diagnosis. Suppose you suffer a severe bout of the flu or dehydration. Or maybe you’re not feeling quite right because of a new medication. Something as simple as general decline in one’s health and ability to be independent can also trigger the need for home health. Ask yourself these questions. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.

How can you benefit from home healthcare?

Have you been recently discharged from rehabilitation or from a hospital or skilled nursing facility?

Have you recently had a medication change and are experiencing new side effects?

Are you able to safely travel to and from doctor appointments?

Have you had an overall decline in function and want to regain independence?

Personal Home Care

Home care, also sometimes called private duty care, is in-home care for people who need assistance with daily activities. Home care enables people to live comfortably and safely in their home. It helps maintain independence.

Nurse smiling with patient in wheelchair.

Personal home care can help you with cooking, cleaning and laundry.

People’s needs vary depending on age or level of infirmity. Home care may be needed for just a few hours per week or 24-hour care. Many agencies have minimum hourly requirements. Home care aides are trained to understand the nuances of caring for seniors or the disabled. But they are generally not licensed to provide medical services. Home care services may include:

  • Companionship – reading aloud, chatting and in-home hobbies and activities
  • Transportation to appointments, errands and shopping
  • Assistances with activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing, bathing, toileting and grooming
  • Well-being checks
  • Wake-up or tuck-in assistance
  • Meal preparation or delivery
  • Cleaning and organizing
  • Help with bills and financial management
  • Caregiver respite

Home care may also include these services:

  • Professional Geriatric Care Management: Helps families assess their long-term care options and develops a workable plan.
  • Medical Social Work Services: Family and individual assessment and counseling
  • Some skilled services and nursing oversight

Who pays for Home Care?

Personal Home Care may be paid for by private pay, Medicaid, long term care insurance, Veterans’ benefits. Some agencies have relationships with non-profit groups who can help pay for the cost of home care.

How do I know when someone needs care at home? Here are some common indicators:

  • Forgotten medications or taking double-doses
  • Missed doctor appointments
  • Neglect of proper bathing, dressing or use of the toilet
  • Difficulty getting out to shop, purchase food and prepare meals
  • Trouble reading mail, managing a check book and paying bills

Consumer Directed Services

Through the Missouri Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Program, Medicaid Beneficiaries who qualify can choose their own caregiver to provide services like bathing, housekeeping, meal prep and transportation. Expenses are covered by MO HealthNet.

Senior couple smiling with adult daughter hugging them both.

Choose your own caregiver with MOHealthNet CDS program.

Now that you know about the difference between home healthcare and home care, you can make this month a healthier one! Happy Healthy Aging Month!

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