As we navigate through 2024, the decision to bring an in-home nurse into your family's life is more significant than ever, especially when it comes to ensuring the comfort and care of elderly loved ones. With the growing preference among seniors to age gracefully in the familiarity of their own homes, understanding the nuances of in-home care is crucial. This guide offers a comprehensive overview of what in-home care entails, distinguishing it from in-home health care, and focusing on the vital aspects to consider for safe, compassionate, and affordable caregiving. From personal care needs to specialized medical attention, we'll walk you through the essentials of selecting the right in-home caregiver, ensuring they align perfectly with your loved one's requirements for activities of daily living and more complex health needs. Whether seeking support post-surgery, managing chronic conditions, or providing round-the-clock companionship and assistance, our insights will help you make an informed, comforting choice for your family in these evolving times.
Everyone ages. That is a fact of life. And for most elderly adults, remaining in their own homes as they grow older is preferred. Fortunately, there are numerous home care options available that make it easier for you to keep your loved ones at home as they age. But before you select just any home care service, you should educate yourself on what in-home care is versus in-home health care, who this type of service is appropriate for, and how much it costs.
What is In-Home care?
In-home care, or aging home care, by definition, is simply caring for an elderly adult while still in the home. This is typically personal care that is provided in the senior’s personal home. Sometimes, it is in-home care provided as they recover from a surgery or from hospitalization. At other times, it is permanent, around-the-clock care for the senior adult to ensure they stay as independent as possible while having someone close by to assist them as needed and to enable them to remain in their homes.
In- home care is different from in-home healthcare in that home healthcare provides medical care such as physical therapy, wound care, or administering injections or prescription medication, whereas in-home care typically refers to helping a senior adult with their ADLs, or activities of daily living. This includes bathing and toileting needs, meal preparation, companionship, or even transportation needs. Or perhaps your elderly loved one has dementia and suffers from nighttime wandering. An in-home healthcare professional can provide 24/7 care, so you know your loved one is being supervised and has the assistance he or she needs at all times.
Who is In-Home Care for?
In-home care is ideal for any senior adult who wishes to remain in their home but who requires assistance with their daily activities or who requires assistance with medical care. These adults usually are still able to get around with the use of adaptive equipment and do not require extensive medical care. For those adults who do have medical needs as well, the care is typically coordinated between the home health nurse and the in-home care provider.
How Do You Select an In-Home Nurse or Home Caregiver?
You worry about your elderly loved one and only want to provide the absolute best care for them. This means you are going to do research before making a decision on an in-home nurse or an in-home caregiver. Here are a few things to consider when you were trying to understand your options and make a decision about who to trust to care for your loved one.
First, you want to interview any potential caregiver. Consider whether this person will fit in with your family and are up to your standards of quality caregiving . Equally important is how well he or she will work with your loved one. What is their personality like? You also want to ask questions about their skills, and you want to verify their credentials. What certifications are held? Does he or she have a valid license to practice healthcare? Lastly, you want the candidate to provide you with references of other families with which they have worked.
Do An In-Depth Interview
In addition to interviewing candidates, you can also Google them or check their social media pages. Often, you can learn a lot about potential caregivers just by perusing social media.
Next, after you have selected a caregiver, you want to provide a contract. This contract will state and define your expectations for care and will provide the salary and benefits you are offering the caregiver. It is also important to discuss and put in writing any backup plan that may be necessary for hospitalization, illness, or vacation time for either party.
Lastly, after you have hired a caregiver for your loved one, make sure you are following up with the caregiver to discuss any potential concerns and how to ameliorate them. More importantly, follow up with your loved one to make sure he or she is comfortable and happy with their caregiver. While you want to believe that any caregiver is going to treat your loved one like family and make sure they receive nothing but the best care, the reality is there are some caregivers who do not do that. It is crucial that you ask your elderly loved one how the caregiver treats them and listen to what you hear. If there are any concerns, it is worth considering an in-home camera so you can witness for yourself any potential problems between your caregiver and your loved one.
How Much Does In-Home Care Cost?
A recent survey showed that the average medical cost of in-home care services in 2020 was $24 per hour, which totaled around $4500 per month for in-home, full-time care. As medical costs increase, so will in-home healthcare services.
For in-home care services, the costs are not only dependent on geography, but they are also dependent on your caregiver’s licensing and credentials. Further, costs can be affected by whether they are provided through an agency or if they are an independent contractor. An agency is going to cost more than an independent contractor. A caregiver provided through an agency cost more because the agency has vetted them, done a background check, pays their taxes, and usually ensures they are bonded and insured. However, you can save around 20-30% by hiring an independent contractor.
For in-home nursing care, you should check with your insurance to see how much they cover. Additionally, Medicare and Medicaid are options for covering the cost of in-home nursing care. Keep in mind that sometimes Medicare does require the nursing care come from a Medicare-approved agency. For in-home personal care, insurance will not cover this, and often this is paid for by the family.