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Home Care

Home Care 101: The Facts On The Basics

Reviewed by: MySeniorCare Staff
Last Updated: 4/15/2011 1:14:39 PM

Home care provides seniors who live at home with medical and non-medical assistance, allowing the senior to live independently for as long as possible, depending on their medical condition. Home care companies offer a wide range of services designed to prolong the need for a nursing home.

Among the many services home care may include are; occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, and even skilled nursing care. Other more common services may involve assisting the elderly with activities of daily living such as personal hygiene, housekeeping and meal preparation. Home care may also include the monitoring of one’s prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Home Health Care

Home health care (also referred to as medical home care) is a more medically oriented form of home care. It is a great option for seniors who require special assistance when recovering from illness or injury. Home health care providers are most often licensed practical nurses, therapists, or home health aides that can provide medical assistance when needed. These providers typically work for home health agencies, hospitals, and/or public health departments that require state licensing.

Finding Home Care Providers

A great way to start your search for a quality home care provider is to do your research. Ask your friends and neighbors in your community what they know and who they’ve heard of. Personal references are important; remember you are putting your loved one’s health in their hands. Our online directory provides a great way to search for prescreened local providers. We’ve taken the time to make sure they have the proper requirements to put your mind at ease.

Purchasing Home Care

There are two ways to purchase home care. You can purchase directly from an individual provider or you can hire an agency to employ a provider. Both require a thorough screening process before making any decisions.

In looking for a home care agency you’ll want to consider certain points. How long the agency has been serving this particular community. What types of insurance do they accept? How does the agency hire its caregivers?

When hiring an individual provider directly (instead of through an agency), it will be even more important to conduct a thorough screening process. This process should include an interview with the caregiver to review qualifications, a set of references to call on, and a brief on the care that the senior will require. Also, remember to look ahead and anticipate any changing needs the senior might have as a result of illness or surgery.

Paying For Home Care

The cost of home care varies depending on the type of home care provider and services required. Services can be paid for directly by the patient from private funds, or through many different public sources. Public sources for home care funding include Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the Veterans’ Administration, and private insurance.

Medicare is the most commonly used funding source of home care services. The Medicare program will pay for home care if the following conditions are met:

  • Patient must be homebound and under a doctor’s care
  • Patient must require skilled nursing care, or occupational, physical, or speech therapy, on at least an intermittent basis
  • Services provided must be under a doctor’s supervision and performed as part of a home care plan written specifically for that patient
  • Patient must be eligible for the Medicare program and the services ordered must be “medically reasonable and necessary”
  • Home care agency providing the services must be certified by the Medicare program.
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