Everything used to revolve around the home, even care. We don’t have to think too far back to a time when the majority of health care was delivered at home, in fact, my husband’s eldest brother was born at home. Both nurses and doctors provided their services in the home and families were the main caregivers to their loved ones.
If we compare our health-care system of 60 years ago to today, we actually have more capability, technology and resources to bring the best care possible into the home.
I’ve often reflected on the health-care system having three pillars: acute care; primary care; and home and community care. Of the three, I sometimes wonder which is the most important. In this blog post, I thought I’d shine more light onto the home care space since, over my 25 years as a nurse, it’s the pillar that carries the most weight.
These days, we can begin our life in the home, end our life at home and manage our health at home – home care has come full circle.
Since I started working for a home care company I’ve learned how valuable our services are to the clients we serve, how their lifeline becomes the caregiver who rings the doorbell, and why it’s critical to connect home to care. Many individuals who leave what they think is the comfort of the hospital to recover at home, soon realize that the comfort and the quality of care, are equally provided at home.
There are many people who don’t fully understand home care and have many questions about it. Here are the most asked questions:
1. What is home health care?
Home care is a cost-effective alternative to hospital or institutional care. It’s a service provided to an individual with varying health-care needs which may include nursing or professional care, personal care, home support, companionship or supervised transportation. Any service that involves the care, health and well-being management of an individual in their home, can be categorized as home care.
2. Who requires home care?
Home care services are for anyone and can be for a wide range of health conditions. It’s an option for those family members who are no longer able to care for their loved ones. Home care is available for people of all ages, abilities and disabilities. It may be needed for a brief period of time or chronically.
3. Where is home care delivered?
It’s delivered in the patient’s home, whether it’s a house or apartment they’ve lived in for several years, or an institutional facility such as a long-term care home. No travel is required; the home care provider comes to you.
4. Why does home care make a difference?
Receiving care in your home ensures you don’t lose touch with your values, independence and dignity. It can also reduce the pressure felt by family members in managing all the challenges of caring for a loved one. Receiving care in your own backyard helps makes things easier and enriching for everyone.
5. When is the right time for home care?
Anytime is the right time: for preventative health; to manage ongoing health issues; upon release from the hospital or rehabilitation; or when there is a sudden health crisis that requires care. Home care can also be used by seniors who need help with daily activities, transportation, or who would like some companionship.
6. How are home care services funded?
Home care services can be covered by government-funded care programs, personal and group insurance plans, workplace benefits, workers’ compensation insurance or through private pay. Be sure to ask for a full funding investigation and look into all options.
7. How does service begin?
A physician, patient or family member can initiate service. A funding investigation should occur to review all care options. Once service is in place, a full client consultation should happen and a treatment plan coordinated. This becomes the working tool to monitor every client’s progress. Home care can be arranged easily and stress-free for families when a home care expert is involved to ensure all processes are followed.
8. How do I choose the right home care provider for my loved one’s needs?
Information regarding home health-care services can be obtained from many sources. Start with your health-care practitioner, health-care facilities, government services, local resource centres and look online. Be sure to verify with health-care professionals, your friends and family.
It’s essential that you ask some key questions of your potential provider so that you hire the right provider and understand the service you’re receiving. Take the time to interview at least three organizations and compare notes before making your decision. Here are some of the questions you should ask:
• What services do you provide?
• What type of training has your staff received?
• How long have you been in operation?
• Do you have policies and standards of care in place for your staff?
• Do you provide a personalized care plan?
• Will you consult with my doctor and other members of the care team?
• Will there be a line of communication to ensure best care?
• Will my caregiver be supervised by a nurse?
• Will you assist in investigating my home care funding options?
• Do you ensure your staff members are bonded, insured and professionally licensed or certified?
That old saying, “compare apples to apples,” applies here. If you’re a family caregiver, it can be hard to relinquish responsibility to strangers. I’ve been through it, and ensuring that care was provided to my loved one in the same way I would provide it, was imperative for my family. But, it means you have to be diligent and do your homework, or get someone to help you do the research.
Home care is a pillar of today’s health-care. Hope and care are where the heart is… in your home.