Your aging parents have always been healthy, independent, and full of life. But as you have just discovered, that can all change in what seems like a moment.
This is the moment when you must come up with the answer to the question, what do we do now?
The good news is that you can offer your Mom or Dad a balance of compassionate care and as much independence as his or her medical condition allows while also holding down home care costs.
The balancing act
Caring at home for a loved one is an act of compassion that comes with different types of costs. If you already are juggling a job and parenting, for example, adding home health care to your duties likely will translate into less time for your children and your job, a cost that you need to gauge carefully and plan for.
- The right home health services ease your burden by sorting out the daily issues that often attend eldercare, such as managing multiple medications, obtaining blood pressure or blood sugar levels, assisting with bathing, and even offering treatments for memory issues. By tending to these daily concerns, a skilled home health service makes it possible for you to juggle all your duties.
- The right home health agency also understands that when a medical decision needs to be made, the patient together with the family caregiver must take part in the decision-making process.
- The balancing act works best when the home health provider supports the healthcare needs of your mom or dad while ensuring that your mom or dad continues to take care of themselves to the extent that their condition allows.
Consider unique needs and comfort levels
Everyone is different. Every family is unique.
Look for a home health service that recognizes the unique nature of your family situation, and offers suggestions that meet everyone’s comfort level.
- For example, you may be the type of family caregiver that is comfortable with a “hands on” level of care, so you simply need some help with the correct way to perform new health-related duties. On the other hand, you may panic at the idea of caregiving and require that your home health providers take on more of the direct health care duties. Or, your comfort level may fall somewhere in-between.
- Your parent, the patient, may prefer your touch to that of a “stranger,” at least at first. On the other hand, your parent may feel embarrassed to be helped by a family member, especially their child, in some types of daily routines.
Experienced home health agencies will work with your family to ensure that everyone is comfortable both with the skilled home health provider and with the level and type of care. They also will respect your budgetary constraints and be able to offer suggestions for your situation and geographical area.
Cost vs. quality of care
If you are weighing home healthcare against a skilled nursing facility, the good news is that in-home services can manage most situations at lower costs and with no loss in the quality of care.
A U.S. News & World Report article cites Dr. Steven Landers, president and CEO of VNA Health Group, as saying that “a person who undergoes surgery and is transitioned to home care for a month can expect a bill for about $1,200—as opposed to a $12,000 bill for a skilled nursing facility, such as a nursing home.”
The same article cites an Institute of Medicine report which documented that “people not only feel home care gives them a better quality of life and dignity, but that it also happens to be less expensive.”
More good news: it turns out that home health care actually reduces hospital readmissions once the patient has been discharged, as compared with skilled nursing and other provider facilities, according to Home Health Care News.
Research shows that most aging patients want to stay at home. With skilled, experienced, and compassionate professional home health care—and the wide range of professional home health services that is now available—increasingly it makes sense financially and in terms of quality of life issues.
The bottom line for Dr. Landers is this: “If we focus on respecting people’s wishes … we can both improve quality and cost.”
The Elder Care Firm stands ready to answer your questions and offer resources and suggestions as your loved ones age. Please contact us to see how we may assist you.