Home care is available to help in a number of ways. Depending on the needs of the senior living at home, different levels of skills will be needed to accommodate those needs. Identify the range of care you need and match it with one of the following service levels. Don't wait until the last minute to discover that you really don't have the support you need to continue living at home.
Personal Care Services
This is for the senior that needs just a little help around the house. If you are able to do most activities around the house, take care of your own medications, and be safe in your home, this may be the help you need. Most of the personal care services providers have some training in first aid and CPR, but they cannot do nursing tasks such as dispense medication or take your vital signs.
What they can help you with includes:
- taking your bath or shower
- getting in and out of bed
- meal preparation and clean up
- general house cleaning
- doing laundry and putting it away
Some services may offer to take you to your doctor appointments or run other errands outside of the house.
This is the least expensive home care option and requires the staff to have the least amount of training. They cannot do anything related to your medical condition. For example, if you find it difficult to manage your daily medications, the personal care services worker cannot help you with that.
Acute Medical Home Care
This is a good choice if you are recovering at home from a medical procedure or surgery such as a hip replacement. You'll need a different level of help for the medical issues beyond what custodial care can offer. This is often short-term care until your recovery is complete. It requires medically-trained staff such as certified nursing assistants or home care nurses.
The types of services offered in an acute home care situation include:
- tracking your vital signs
- giving you your medications
- managing any intravenous medications and feeding tubes
- helping with your physical therapy
- cleaning and dressing wounds
Because skilled professionals are involved, this is a more expensive service. You can reduce the costs by using personal care services for help with the daily activities around the house. The nursing staff can come in for a short time each day to help with your medical needs.
Chronic Medical Home Care
If you have decided to not move into a retirement facility and live at home, and you have daily medical needs, this long-term service is available to help. The staff that work with you are trained nursing professionals that can do a number of tasks, such as:
- blood sugar testing for your diabetes
- drawing blood for analysis
- in-home kidney dialysis
- on-going physical therapy
- nutritional monitoring
This staff will work with other healthcare providers, such as your own doctor, to update them to any changes in your health. They will also take orders from your doctor for any diagnostic tests and medication changes. You will have support similar to that if you were in a hospital.
You may still have help from personal care services staff, but the nursing staff will be in your home more often, which makes this the most expensive home care option.
Make a list of the tasks you need help with at home, then match it to the level of home care that can supply it. Even though you have decided to stay at home, investigate the costs of staying in a skilled-nursing center and compare the two. If you have significant medical needs, you may find that a nursing care center like Argus Home Health Care is the more affordable option.