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Home Care Information and Concerns: Providing Care at Home

Author: Thomas C. Weiss : Contact: Disabled World

Published: 2012-05-03 : (Rev. 2016-04-08)


Costs of providing care in a persons own home and community are much lower than providing the same quality of care in an institution.

Main Digest

A re-occurring concern being presented in discussions of health care in America today has to do with seniors and people with disabilities and the costs and provision of care related to us in relation to family members. Stories have appeared in the media presenting this topic, often with open comment sections where people can express their opinions on the subject. The comments have often times been very supportive of seniors and people with disabilities, although concerns about the financial and care provision costs have arisen.

Home Care is defined as a health service provided in the patient's place of residence for the purpose of promoting, maintaining, or restoring health or minimizing the effects of illness and disability. Patients can receive home care services whether they live in their own homes, with or without family members, or in an assisted living facility. Service may include such elements as medical, dental, and nursing care; speech and physical therapy; homemaking services of a home health aide; and provision of transportation. The nature and extent of care needed and the ability of the patient's family and friends to assume responsibility for that care are assessed. Nursing may be provided by a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or home health aide. Some hospitals have home care services that include regular visits by a nurse and a physician to patients in the home. The content of home care involves a range of activities from actions preventing decreased functional abilities in old people to palliative care in advanced diseases. The outcome had two different underlying foci: (1). for the benefit of the patient based on the assumption that being cared at home increases their quality of life (QoL), (2). in the interests of the society, to minimize hospital care by moving activities to the home of the patient.

When a person experiences a form of serious disability family members can find themselves struggling not only to figure out how to provide care for their loved one, but how to pay for the costs of their health care. Many family members automatically think of placing their loved one who is experiencing a serious form of disability in a long-term care facility, yet the costs of such a facility are very high. Other family members take care of their loved one at home; something that takes ongoing effort and time they may have spent working or interacting with others.

Studies have shown that the costs of providing care in a person's own home and community are much lower than providing the same quality of care in an institution such as a long-term care facility. One of the very real issues with caring for a loved one at home is awareness of the ways to do so. As things are in America at this time, families are more or less left to their own knowledge where finding resources to care for their loved ones are concerned. There are no public service announcements; the public in general is not prepared for issues related to in-home care.

Providing Care for a Loved One at Home

Providing care for a loved one at home can be challenging for family members. Good news - the number of agencies serving seniors and people with disabilities in our own homes is growing. One of the reasons for this is the aging of the baby boom generation; there simply are not enough long-term care facilities in America to provide care for them. For people with disabilities, this trend towards in-home care is a real bonus.

The United States Government is aware of the need for families in America to have the ability to provide care for our loved ones in their own homes and communities. Many people have no desire to live in a facility, and who can blame them? Home is home. The government has created a new Medicaid State Plan called the, 'Community First Choice,' option that gives states an increase of 6 percentage points in their federal matching rate for providing community-based aide services and supports to people instead of providing care in an institution or long-term care facility for people on Medicaid - including people with disabilities.

Awareness of the Community First Choice option needs to grow, along with the requirement for states to develop, 'Person-centered Plans,' allowing seniors and people with disabilities to determine how the services they will receive are provided, so we can achieve and maintain our independence. The need for assistance does not mean a senior or person with a disability is completely dependent.

What is a, 'Person-Centered Plan'

Person-Centered Planning is an ongoing problem-solving process; one that is used to help people with disabilities to plan for their future. The process involves groups of people who focus on the person with a disability and their vision of what they would like to do in their future.

The team meets with the goal of identifying opportunities for the person with a disability in relation to the person's relationships, participation in their community, and with the goal of increasing the person's control over their own life. The team works to help the person with a disability to develop the skills and abilities they need to achieve their goals. The person-centered planning team makes the commitment to help the person and pursue strategies that are discussed during meetings, ensuring they are implemented. A person-centered planning team works:

Assistance Does Not Always Mean Complete Dependence

Even though some people with disabilities or seniors will require the services provided through a long-term care facility, a great many of us do not. The experience of a serious form of disability may find a person's family members involved in their care, or find a person living with family members in order to receive the care they need. In many instances, this does not mean the person is completely dependent upon their family members. It does not mean the person's family members need to drop everything and focus solely on the provision of care for their loved one. It does not mean family members are alone where providing care for their loved is concerned. It also does not mean that a long-term care facility or similar institution is the only answer.

A gap exists in the awareness of some in America; often times those who have yet to experience a serious health or financial issue. Everyone will, in all likelihood, experience a form of disability or serious health issue at some point during their lifetime. America must become a nation of people who care for our own, in our own communities, with assistance from others in the community. The government, as well as organizations in communities across America, must continue to pursue the supports and services which enable people with disabilities, seniors, and our family members to provide care for us in our own homes.

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