Elderly Parents in Home Care - Hiring Medical Help, Determining Needs

In Home Care - Hiring Medical Help: Determining Need

Do your elderly parents, who have recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's need more supervised care on a daily basis?

Does your Mom seem to be forgetting to take her medicine, or does she need more physical care than you're able to offer? While you may want to fill in all the gaps, there's only so much a caregiver can do alone, and that's why many caregivers weigh their options when it comes to hiring medical help or in home care for their elderly parent.

Assessing Needs

The best approach to deciding what type, as well as how much help an elderly parent might need, is for the caregiver to start a list of when the parent needs the most help. Early morning or evening hours? What kind of help is needed? Does your mother find it increasingly difficult to shop and cook for herself? Does your father need someone to help him bathe, dress and supervise his medications?

Is your mother or father mobile or bed-ridden? Does he or she need help getting from room to room, to the bathroom, into the bathtub or into bed at night? Assessing the cognitive level of elderly parents is also necessary when establishing the need to hire medical help. Here are a few key indicators that your parent may need that extra supervision:

  • Does your elderly parent suffer from any form of dementia?
  • Does he or she need more physical help bathing or dressing than you are able to provide?
Elderly In Home Care
  • Does your parent forget to take his or her medications on time?
  • Is your parent able to get around on his or her own?
  • Is your parent recovering from a recent injury or surgical procedure that limits their ability to take care of themselves?

In Home Care for Aging Parents - Home Health Care

If you have determined that your parent needs medical or health care supervision, you have several options. One of those is Home Health Care. This type of care offers trained and certified aides and nurses who schedule visits to the home at particular hours for taking care of personal as well as medical needs.

There are two different types of home health care, as defined by Medicare:

  • Skilled
  • Custodial

Skilled care offers the services of nurses or therapists to visit the home at predetermined time frames to offer rehabilitative care or medical support to the individual.

Custodial care is a service that provides trained aides to come in and help an elderly parent with dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning and other daily tasks.

Home health aides can be worth their weight in gold, as they will help take some of the burden of daily care off your shoulders.

Some home health aides are also trained in minor medical care tasks such as checking catheters, taking vitals, and administering medications. Always hire aides who have been certified, which means they have been properly trained and tested by state licensing boards in the proper care and treatment of the elderly.

Peace of mind for your loved ones

Supervised Nursing Care

In some cases, your parent may need specific nursing care when it comes to receiving medications and treatments in the home. Such treatments may include wound care, respiration, speech or occupational therapies. Nurses may take care of dressings, catheters and I.V. lines as needed, and can also help teach family members in their use and care.

Hiring Medical Help

Before hiring the services of in home care or home-health care professionals, ask the following:

Elderly In Home Care
  • How much does it cost? Will Medicare or Medicaid cover some or all costs? Find out first.
  • What services are provided?
  • Can staff meet the needs of my parent?
  • How is care coordinated?
  • Is help available 24/7?
  • Will one or several people be involved in my parent's care?
  • Is help certified?
  • Will I have a say in my parent's care?

If you decide to hire medical help, it's best to work through a certified agency or Medicare may refuse to pay the bill. If however, you or your parent can't afford Medicare services, check with your local health department, and they may be able to help you find a Visiting Nurse Association or other type of service within your city or county.

Hiring trained help is expensive, especially if you're footing part of the bill. While you may save some money hiring outside of an agency and will have more control over what services may be provided, proceed with caution. There are plenty of highly trained and qualified independent contractors out there, but there are also plenty of scam artists, so make sure to check references, watch and follow up regarding care with your elderly parent, as well as other family members and friends.

To obtain information regarding certified in home care or home health agencies in your area, check with the National Association for Home Care and Hospice or Medicare's Home Health Compare program at www.medicare.gov

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