Home care and in-home care are sometimes referred to as home health care, home health and private duty. Senior home health care, private duty, in home care and home care simply means care provided to an elder/senior in their own home. Home care agencies make it possible for seniors to remain in the comfort of their own home and maintain their independence.
Home care agencies are among the most requested agencies in our society today. Over the last decade the emergence of in-home care has created a new service industry meeting an ever-growing demand. In-home care refers to services that help elder/seniors stay in their home if they have a short or long-term disability, need help to recuperate from a surgery, injury, and chronic illness or have difficulty caring for themselves simply due to the aging process.
In-home care agencies render a range of medical care needs, companionship, supervision and personal care services in the comfort and convenience of a person's own home. This eliminates the need for elder/seniors to move into a facility. In-home care from a professional is appropriate whenever a person prefers to stay at home but needs ongoing care that cannot easily or effectively be provided solely by family and friends.
Most elderly seniors want to age independently at home and not burden their family. In-home care from a professional makes that possible. Care in the home may include some combination of skilled health care services and non-medical or assisted living services. The phrases, in-home care, home care and home health care have been used in the past interchangeably regardless of whether the person requires skilled nursing care or not.
Today, however, there is growing understanding that "home health care" means skilled nursing care and that "in-home care" means non-medical care, personal care, custodial care or domiciliary care. These differences are important because they help determine the appropriate level of care provided, which in-turn will determine the actual cost of care and the funding sources available.
Non-medical care services include personal care, companionship and supervision, as well as help in the home with the tasks of daily living such as meal preparation, medication reminders, laundry, light housekeeping, errands, shopping, and transportation. Activities of daily living (ADL) refers to six specific activities (bathing, dressing, transferring, using the toilet, eating, and walking) that reflect an individual's capacity for self-care.
Costs for in-home care services vary depending on many factors, including what services are being provided, where you live, and whether the expenses qualify for Medicare or private insurance coverage.
Medicare covers certain in-home health care services when the person needing care meets eligibility criteria (which includes being homebound and requiring the services of a skilled professional), and if the services are considered reasonable and necessary for treatment.
Some states have programs for seniors with limited resources and assets, which rather than going through a home health care agency allow seniors (or their representatives) to pay a person of their choosing, including family members, for in-home services. Such programs are often called "participant-directed services" or "cash and counseling," although similar services go by different names depending on location.
If there is no program available in your state, you'll want to select a qualified in-home care agency that will provide the services you need at the cost you can afford. Most agencies charge by the hour however, there are in-home care agencies that work on a contract basis.