In 2015, American spent about $88.8 billion on home health aides and other home health care services. Nationwide there are nearly 34 million professionals providing care to someone over the age of 50. Since the number of Americans who will be 65 or over is expected to increase by 26% within this decade, the call for home health aides is only growing. With as many home health aides as there are in the profession, it’s worth bearing three important things in mind when looking to hire on home therapy or home health care.
- Know what it is you’re looking for. Some people confuse home health aides with personal care aides. Personal care aides provide no medical services of any kind: they provide living assistance only. For example, a personal care aide. might run errands, clean the kitchen, assist a client with personal grooming, or drive the client to an appointment. Home health aides will do some of the things that personal care aides do, but their primary job is to provide in-home medical care. If someone only needs help getting dressed or cleaning up, a personal care aide is the right choice. If someone needs help getting dressed and cleaning up, but also needs someone to oversee prescription medications, change bandages, check vital signs, and follow a medical care plan, then home health aides are the right choice.
- Be ready to take some time about your decision. With so many people working in home care assistance, it can take some time to find just the right fit. Ideally, you want someone to coordinate care on your behalf, carefully interviewing and looking for just the right home health worker. If you have no one to do this, then the smartest thing is to hire an agency that provides and oversees all kinds of in-home workers, from health care aides to physical therapists. It’s also important to take the time to put a backup plan in place in case the home care worker becomes unavailable suddenly.
- Make sure all your financial ducks are in a row. Know what you’re getting into before you begin. Medicare will pay for some home health services for people meeting specific criteria, so long as the service is considered reasonable and necessary. But Medicare will only go so far, and there will often be things it won’t cover. The same is true of private insurance policies, as well. Make sure you know how much you’re going to be paying out of pocket, and make sure you can afford it. It quickly becomes even more expensive to have extensive in-home care than it is to go to an assisted living facility.
If you the help of home health aides so you can remain as independent as possible, make sure you know what you need, you take the time to get just the right person, and you’re prepared financially. Then you’ll be ready to get the best home health care for your needs.