Most older adults prefer to live in their own homes. Home health care can provide the assistance to help a senior live independently for as long as possible, given the limits of their medical condition. It covers a wide range of services and can often delay the need for assisted living or long-term nursing home care. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and can be just as effective as care you get in an assisted living or nursing home. For more information.
The services provided through home health care may include occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, medical services such as changing bandages and dressings and even skilled nursing. It may involve helping with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, using the bathroom, and eating. Or it may include assistance with cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, other housekeeping jobs, and monitoring one’s daily regimen of medications.
Home care services generally are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These services are often provided by family caregivers, but can also be provided by a variety of home and community-based providers. Depending on the patient’s needs, these services may be provided by an individual or a team of specialists on a part-time, intermittent, hourly, or shift basis. For a list of home health care providers in your area, click here.
The cost of home health care varies across states and within states. In addition, costs will fluctuate depending on the type of health care professional required. Home care services can be paid for directly by the patient and his or her family members, or through a variety of public and private sources. Sources for home health care funding include Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the Veterans’ Administration, and private insurance.
Although Medicare is the largest single payer of home care services, their requirements are stringent and typically include a need for the patient to have skilled nursing care on a regular basis. A Medicare-certified agency, often referred to as a home health agency, has met federal minimum requirements for patient care and management and therefore can provide Medicare and Medicaid home health services. Individuals requiring skilled home care services usually receive their care from a home health agency. That is significantly different from the requirements of the VA.
Home Health Care may be provided by the VA and contract agencies to Veterans who are homebound with chronic diseases. There are several types of home health care offered to eligible Veterans by VA. Examples include:
· Homemakers for shopping, cleaning or meal preparation
· Home Health Aides for help with bathing and dressing
· Nursing assistants for bathing
· Nurses to help you with your medications and dressing changes
· Physical therapists to help you with strength and mobility exercises
· Occupational therapists to help you re-learn activities like eating, dressing, etc.
· Speech therapists to help you with re-learning to speak following surgery or a stroke.
If the Veteran and the VA provider agree that the Veteran is in need of these services, and the Veteran meets the VA eligibility requirements, the VA may pay for the care. For help in understanding the eligibility requirements, click Contact Us.
Home Health Care services may be provided by independent providers who may be nurses, therapists, aides, homemakers and chore workers or companions who are privately employed by Veterans and Surviving Spouses who need such services. Under this arrangement the independent providers are not required to be licensed or to meet government standards except in cases where they receive state funding. The responsibility for recruiting, hiring, and supervising the provider rests with the Veteran or Surviving Spouse. Finding back-up care in the event that the provider fails to report to work or fulfill job requirements is the responsibility of the Veteran or Surviving Spouse who also pay the provider directly.