More than 12 million Americans receive home care each year, with that number projected to climb as our population grows older and people are discharged from hospitals quicker and sicker. So what exactly is home care and who does it serve?
Home care is specialized health and social services provided to individuals where they live, keeping them safe and independent in the comfort of their own homes. Recipients often include older Americans, children and adults of any age who are disabled or recuperating from injury, and the chronically or terminally ill.
Services can meet a broad scope of needs such as ongoing medical, nursing, social or therapeutic treatments, and assistance with essential daily activities like bathing, toileting, and eating.
Personal care and companionship
Help at home with everyday activities like bathing and dressing, meal preparation, and household tasks to enable independence and safety.
Personal Care and Companionship does not need to be prescribed by a doctor unless you are receiving it through a state Medicaid program, such as the Personal Care Assistant (PCA) program in NJ or the Personal Assistant Services (PAS) program in PA. Care is provided on an ongoing basis, on a schedule that meets a client’s needs, up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including possible live-in care.
Private duty nursing care
Long-term, hourly nursing care at home by RNs and LPNs for adults and children with a chronic illness, injury, or disability.
Private Duty Nursing Care needs to be prescribed by a doctor. Care is provided hourly on an ongoing basis by RNs and LPNs based on the client’s needs, up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Home health care
Short-term, Medicare-certified physician-directed care designed to help a patient prevent or recover from an illness, injury, or hospital stay
Home Health Care needs to be prescribed by a doctor. Care is provided through Medicare certified visits from nurses or therapists that last up to an hour, on a short-term basis until individual goals are met.
For more information visit hcaoa.org.
Home care enables a person to live as independently as possible without having to give up the comforts of their own home. It allows them to be in a familiar environment, sleep in their own bed at night, and stay close to loved ones like family, friends, and pets. It also brings peace of mind to know they have access to skilled, consistent, reliable care when it’s needed, even if those needs change.
When compared to other alternatives of care, home care can be significantly more cost effective. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), at-home care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and effective.
Personal care and companionship
Usually paid directly by the person receiving care (private pay), or through long-term care insurance or Medicaid.
Private duty nursing care
Private duty nursing can be paid through a variety of sources, including:
Home health care
When specific qualifications are met (generally, when services are ordered by a physician and a clinical assessment deems them necessary), these services are typically paid for by Medicare or private insurance.
No. Home care services can be provided wherever home is—a private residence, a senior living community, or while staying with a friend or family caregiver.
Medicare is federal health insurance for people 65 or older, and some people under 65 with certain disabilities or conditions. A federal agency called the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) runs Medicare. Because it’s a federal program, Medicare has set standards for costs and coverage. This means a person’s Medicare coverage will be the same no matter what state they live in. People with Medicare pay part of the costs through things like monthly premiums for medical and drug coverage, deductibles and coinsurance.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps cover medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. The federal government has general rules that all state Medicaid programs must follow, but each state runs its own program. This means eligibility requirements and benefits can vary from state to state. Medicaid offers benefits that Medicare doesn’t normally cover, like nursing home care and personal care services. People with Medicaid usually don’t pay anything for covered medical expenses but may owe a small co-payment for some items or services.
In-home care has proven to be the patient-preferred method of long-term care, as well as the safer and more cost-effective alternative to institutional care or hospitalization.
In 2020, the typical annual cost of in-home care for seniors was about $55,000 for an average of 44 hours of care per week -- about half the annual cost of a private room in a nursing home.
Home health care also promotes the healing process. Research studies have shown that patients can recuperate and heal faster and much more comfortably when they’re at home, compared to staying in a hospital or a nursing home. There’s also less chance of needing the services of the hospital again when their recovery process is at home.
Seniors who stay at home tend to live longer than those who live in nursing homes, and studies have confirmed this fact. In addition, those who stay at home tend to be physically and mentally healthier compared to the residents of nursing homes.
Many seniors report having a greater quality of life and happiness with in-home care, and statistics show that these beneficiaries actually have up to 50% fewer doctor’s visits annually.
Families have become reluctant to put aging parents into congregate living facilities, fearful of the higher health risks from COVID-19 and worried that parents will be quarantined alone there.
Sources: homehelpershomecare.com, seniorliving.org, pbs.org
70% of respondents said they would prefer to stay home with support in the future, rather than go to an outside facility like a retirement community or nursing home.
There are many home care agencies in each state. States’ department of health and/or human services websites and County Area Agency on Aging offices will contain lists of all agencies in a particular state or area.
Hearts for Home Care is affiliated with BAYADA Home Health Care, which operates in 23 states. If you or your loved one are in need of care, you can contact BAYADA to speak to someone and learn more about home care: bayada.com/contact-services.asp
Anyone in the community can become a Hearts for Home Care Advocate!
Whether you are a caregiver, a patient, a family member, politician, or simply someone eager to make a difference, H4HC welcomes you! H4HC is a growing movement of like-minded individuals with the mission to improve the home care ecosystem across the U.S. so that more medically fragile populations have access to quality in-home care.
Advocates can be as active in our program as they want! Meet with your legislators, participate in action alerts, join us for an Advocacy Day, contribute to public affairs outreaches by sharing your home care story.
ALL of these efforts help to spread awareness and enact legislative change!
H4HC is a free program open to anyone in the community looking to make a positive difference in the lives of those who rely on this type of care. Sign up today to be a part of our movement!