We understand that making the decision to move your loved one into full-time residential care can be a difficult one, but it isn’t the only way forward when deciding on a care plan.
If your relative is in need of additional assistance that will allow them to live their healthiest and happiest life but is reluctant to make the move to residential care, opting for home care or home health may be the perfect compromise.
Though there are certainly situations in which residential assisted living care is the best option, home care can offer seniors in need of support the quality personal and health care they require, without the need to give up the home comforts they know and love.
What is Home Care?
Home care can refer to at-home care services that allows someone to live as safely and healthily as possible, while remaining in their own residence.
The types of services offered really depend on the provider, so it’s important to do your research before making any firm decisions. This will help ensure the home care your loved one receives is tailored to their individual needs as well as possible.
Additionally, home care does not include medical provision, and therefore will not need to be prescribed by a doctor. It can also be given on a flexible schedule, depending on your loved one’s needs. Visits can be arranged for anything from one or two days each week up to 24/7 live-in care.
What is Included in Home Care?
Personal home care generally includes day-to-day help and companionship. Home caregivers may assist with daily activities including:
• Bathing and grooming
• Using the toilet
• Household chores (e.g., laundry)
• Meal preparation
• Assistance with moving (e.g., moving from a wheelchair into bed)
• Accompaniment to appointments
So, what is home health, and how does it differ from home care?
Home health is a branch of home care that deals with medical and nursing needs. It is well suited to individuals with more specialist health conditions; primarily those who are dealing with illness or injury, or who have just returned from a stay in the hospital. Home health can allow a person access to hospital-standard healthcare from the comfort and familiarity of their own home.
Home health is arranged through collaboration with a doctor, who will not only refer a patient to the service but work with home health providers to ensure ongoing treatment remains effective and appropriate.
Your loved one’s doctor and home health care service will discuss their needs to formulate a plan of care, considering everything from the types of services needed and the professionals that can provide these, right through to other important considerations like medical equipment provision.
This type of care can be either short-term or long-term. Short-term home health care aims to provide specialist treatment for acute illness or injury – for example while individuals are in recovery following a hospital stay.
However, home health care can also be long-term, used to help with the management of ongoing or progressive conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
Similarly, to home care, the goal of long-term home health is to allow the patient to live as well as possible from their own home. The key difference is that home health is much more medically focused.
It’s also important to note that home health does not include assistance with day-to-day activities and personal care like cooking, bathing or cleaning in the same way that home care does. If your loved one also needs this kind of assistance, opting for home care or a combination of the two may be more appropriate.
What Services does Home Health Care Provide?
Although home health is a type of home care, the services offered (and people who provide them) are very different. For example, depending on the patient’s needs, home health specialists can provide things like:
• Wound care
• IV medication
• Nutritional therapy
• Monitoring of ongoing or serious illness
• Blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and breathing checks
• Pain management
• Patient and caregiver education
• Physical, occupational or speech therapy
How Affordable are Home Care and Home Health?
Without a doubt, one of the most attractive elements of home care and home health care are their affordability. Those who have a referral from a doctor and are homebound may also be covered for home health care by their health insurance.
Which Type of Home Care is Best for my Loved One?
When figuring out which type of care is most suited to your relative, there are a few key questions to ask yourself:
• Will they benefit more from care that is led by their doctor?
• Do they need long-term, around the clock care or shorter visits to manage specific health needs?
• Are their needs more personal care/mobility/companionship related or medically orientated?
• Do they require any specialist treatments like IV medication or therapy?
• What is your budget and what does your loved one’s insurance cover?
What are the Benefits of Home Care and Home Health?
Though home care and home health care may seem similar at a glance, they each provide very different, yet equally as valuable assistance to senior citizens.
Home care and home health can offer a great compromise for those who would rather remain in their preferred environment than transition to a residential care home, allowing them to retain the best quality of life possible.
Arranging at home care for your loved one can also benefit you as a caregiver, allowing you to enjoy the respite you need and deserve, safe in the knowledge that your parent or loved one’s needs are being met.