As you or your loved one’s health changes, it is critical to provide a stable, comfortable, and familiar environment to rest, recover and live. At-home care is often a perfect place for patients to receive the treatment and care they need. The following are some common questions and answers to help you along your home care journey.
Check the answers to frequently asked questions
Home Care Workforce Issues
We as a nation are failing our aging and disabled/medically fragile populations who want to stay in their own homes. Every day, nearly 2.4 million direct care workers support older adults and people with disabilities across the U.S.
To be able to effectively and reliably deliver the necessary care required by this rapidly aging population, the caregiving workforce needs to grow proportionally. It is estimated that through 2028, the long-term care sector will need to fill 8.2 million job openings in direct care. Without a stable workforce, those seeking in-home care will not be able to access it.
The shortage of home care professionals affects all of our society, as the absence of caregivers leads to absenteeism in the economy overall, reduced time between parents and children, and higher spending on care in more costly institutional care settings.
When home care shifts go unfilled, either the individual is left at home alone with no care, or a loved one must fill the void. Too often, nursing homes are the only option.
When an individual becomes a family caregiver, they often must call out of work or quit their job altogether. They also miss out on sleep, taking care of themselves and their children and other family members, and must often forgo other responsibilities. In many cases, when a family cannot access professional in-home care, they are forced to make the decision to place their loved one in a nursing home.
In-home nurses make substantially less in wages than their counterparts in hospitals and nursing homes, and this wage gap must be addressed to ensure medically fragile populations can access skilled nursing care at home. As of February 2021, registered nursing was the fifth-most in-demand job in the American workforce, according to LinkedIn.
What is Home Care?
Home care is skilled care delivered directly to a patient's home. Services can include nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, speech language therapy, and medical social services.
The key benefit of home care is that it can be delivered directly to the patient's residence. In doing so, additional comfort is provided to the patient and expensive hospital bills can be avoided.
Most older adults, children with complex medical needs, and individuals with disabilities who need services prefer to get them in their own homes rather than in a facility. Data from the Home Care Association of America and the Global Coalition on Aging show that 90% of Americans 65 and older want to age at home,
Home care helps patients recover and receive treatment in the comfort of their own home. Services provided by home health care assist patients with varying acute and chronic conditions, such as Alzheimer's Disease, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, or recovery from illness or surgery.
Services may include, but not be limited to:
- Medication management
- Nursing care
- Nutrition services
- Pain management
- Occupational therapy, speech therapy
Home health nurses follow the physician's care plan to treat, prevent, or manage the patient's condition. This may include taking vitals, administering medication, and/or recording symptoms.
Home care can be paid directly by patients and their families or funded by public and private sources. These sources may include Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the Veterans Administration, and private insurance.
Medicare-certified means the home care agency offers service at a level of quality approved by Medicare.
In addition to Medicare, home health care may be covered by a private insurance plan. Some insurers offer cost-sharing options for professional in-home care.
How to Get Home Care
Medicare covers Home Health Care if you meet all the following conditions:
- your doctor must recommend home health care services,
- you must require: intermittent skilled nursing care, or physical therapy or speech-language therapy, or continue to need occupational therapy,
- you must be homebound,
- the home health agency is Medicare-approved.