Home Health Care vs Assisted Living

Home Health Care in Los Angeles

Home health care is health care that is provided to patients inside their home, and usually by either health care professionals or family and friends. The term “home care” suggests that the care provided is non-medical and more of a custodial nature, whereas “home health care” may suggest licensed staff members. The differences here are similar to the differences between assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Much like assisted living facilities, home health care lets seniors enjoy a good measure of independence. An elderly individual or couple will appreciate having privacy as well as assistance in daily living needs.

What Home Health Care Provides

What kind of services does home health care provide? Home health care may help seniors with daily living needs such as bathing, dressing, house keeping and cooking and dining preparation. Depending on the needs of the resident, there may be special provisions such as transportation services and errands, volunteer programs, exercise and walking, and toileting assistance. More extensive forms of home health care would also provide rehabilitation programs, including visits from physical therapists and nurses. Other qualified home health care professionals may include respiratory nurses, occupational nurses, social workers, mental health workers and physicians.

Who pays for home health care? This type of outside assisted living program can be paid by private resources from the resident or family, by public payers such as Medicare and Medicaid or by employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Medicare will usually not pay for home health care on a long term basis while Medicaid is more likely to help low-income families with little or no assets. Employer-sponsored home health care is likely to be on a short term basis unless the insurance plan is very generous. Most of the time home health care will be paid for by a family’s own resources.

Comparing Home Health Care with Assisted Living

How does home health care compare with in-house stays at nursing homes and assisted living facilities? Most seniors would prefer home health care, of course, as people always do value their privacy. However, there are also circumstances that would necessitate constant supervision of the resident at an assisted living facility, and not only occasional visits. Home health care is basically assisted living, but with even more independence. Therefore a resident that cannot be left alone for long periods of time would be better suited in a nursing or board and care type home.

It might appear that home health care would be cheaper than a stay in a nursing home. However, home health care costs can be just as expensive, depending on the number of hours aides work. Some residents have admitted that full time home health care usually costs twice as much as a stay in a board and care or assisted living home. Most home health care agencies will charge about $20.00 an hour or over. If the resident is relatively independent then the fees associated with the service can be controlled. However, don’t forget that if your needs are minimal to begin with, you could hire a trusted individual to perform the same tasks and save money from paying an agency fee.

Home health care is ideal for seniors who feel well and can easily get around but who need occasional doctor visits and help with housekeeping. It is also a preferable choice if a senior needs full time care but does not want to become a resident in a public nursing home. Full time home health care provides the most privacy and personal attention possible. If you are looking for this type of senior assistance, you should always be mindful of the qualifications of workers, as opening one’s home to a stranger could always be a security risk. The best home health care agencies have screened workers who are well qualified in their field.

How We Can Help You

ElderHomeFinders is a company dedicated to helping seniors locate assistance in the southern California area. We inspect assisted living facilities and retirement communities in the area so that our clients will find the perfect home at a price they can afford. Can ElderHomeFinders also help seniors find home health care? Yes. Our company can put you in touch with the right home health care agency, according to your special needs and budget limitation. We can also advise you on the differences between home health care services and assisted living and board and care facilities and which choice would better work for you. Seniors have worked hard all their life and surely deserve the best health care possible – whether in a senior living facility or in their own home.

Hiring a Home Health Care Employee

Providing the primary care for an elder loved one can be difficult. When you cannot deliver all the elder care yourself and support from friends, family, and community organizations is not enough, it may be useful to hire a home health care worker. He or she can offer care from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day, and can provide many other helpful services. Types of in-home health care services include:

General Health Management like administration of medication or other medical treatments
Personal care such as bathing, oral hygiene, dressing, and shaving
Nutrition help like preparing meals, assisting eating, and grocery shopping
Homemaking services including laundry, dishwashing, and light housework
Companionship for example reading to the senior or taking them on walks

Recruiting and Interviewing Applicants

There are many avenues for hiring a home health care employee. Generally, home health care workers can be hired directly or through an agency. Home health care agencies often have a staff that includes social workers and nurses that will manage your care. However hiring an independent home health care worker is generally more cost effective, it will also give you more control over the type of care you receive.

Senior home care workers should be carefully screened for proper training, qualifications, and temperament. Fully discuss the needs of the elder care recipient during an interview with a prospective home health care employee. There should be a written copy the job description and the type of experience you are looking for.

References

Have applicants fill out an employment form that includes the following information:

Full name
Address
Phone number
Date of birth
Social Security number
Educational background
Work history

Before hiring, you should ask to see the senior home care worker’s licenses and certificates, if applicable, and personal identification including their social security card, driver’s license, or photo ID.

References should be checked out thoroughly. Prospective employees should provide the employer with names, dates of employment, and phone numbers of previous employers and how to contact them. It is best to talk directly to previous employers, rather than just to accept letters of recommendations. Also ask the applicant to provide or sign off on conducting a criminal background check

Special Points to Consider

Make sure the person you are considering hiring knows how to carry out the tasks the elder care recipient requires, such as transferring the senior to and from a wheelchair or bed. Training may be available, but make sure the worker completes the training successfully before hiring him or her.

No one should be hired on a seven-day-a-week basis. Even the most dedicated employee will soon burn out. All employees need some time to take care of their personal needs. No worker should be on call 24-hours a day. If the elder care recipient needs frequent supervision or care during the night, a family member or second home health care worker should be able to help out or fill in.

Live-in assistance may seem to be more convenient and economic than hourly or per-day employees but there can be drawbacks. Food and lodging costs must be calculated into the total cost of care, and it could be difficult to dismiss someone without immediate housing alternatives. If you decide to utilize a live-in arrangement, the employee should have his own living quarters, free time, and ample sleep.

Job Expectations and Considerations

Before hiring a senior home health care worker, you should go over the tasks you expect them to perform and other issues, such as promptness, benefits, pay scale, holidays, vacations, absences, and notification time needed for either employer or employee before employment is terminated. If you work and are heavily dependent on the home health care worker, emphasize the importance of being informed as soon as possible if he or she is going to be late or absent so that you can make alternative arrangements. Be clear about notification needed for time off, or what to do in the case the home health care worker experiences a personal emergency that requires them to abruptly leave work. It is important to have a backup list of friends, family, other home care workers, or a home health care agency you can call on.

Be clear about issues concerning salary, payment schedule, and reimbursement or petty cash funds for out of pocket expenses.

You should spend the day with the home health care worker on his first day to make sure you are both in agreement over how to carry out daily tasks. It would also be helpful to supply the home health care worker with a list of information on the elder care recipient such as: special diets, likes, dislikes, mobility problems, health issues, danger signs to monitor, possible behavior problems and accompanying coping strategies, medication schedule, therapeutic exercises, eye glasses, dentures, and any prosthetics.

You should also provide the following information to your home health care worker: your contact information, emergency contacts, security precautions and access to keys, clothing, and locations of washing/cleaning supplies, medical supplies, light bulbs, flashlights, fuse box, and other important household items.

Transportation

Another big consideration in hiring a senior home care worker is how he or she is going to get to work. If they do not have a reliable car or access to public transit, then you might want to consider hiring someone to drive him or her, which might be more economical than using taxis. Inform your insurance company if the home health care worker is going to drive your car when caring for the senior. Your insurance company will perform the necessary driving background checks. If the home health care worker is using his or her car to drive the elder care recipient, then discuss use of her or his car, and conduct a driving background check.

Insurance and Payroll

Check with an insurance company about the proper coverage for a worker in your home.

Make sure all the proper taxes are being drawn from the employee’s check by contacting the Internal Revenue Service, state treasury department, social security, and the labor department. If you do not want to deal with the complexities of the payroll withholdings yourself, than you can hire a payroll company for a fee.

Even if your home health care worker is working as a contractor, you are still obligated to report the earnings to the IRS. Talk to your accountant or financial adviser about making sure you are following IRS rules.

Ensuring Security

You should protect your private papers and valuables in a locked file cabinet, safe deposit box, or safe. If you are unable to pick up your mail on a daily basis, have someone you trust do it, or have it sent to a post box. You should check the phone bill for unusual items or unauthorized calls. You should put a block on your phone for 900 numbers, collect calls, and long-distance calls.

Keep checkbooks and credit cards locked up. Review credit card and bank statements on a monthly basis, and periodically request credit reports from credit reporting agencies. Lock up valuable possessions or keep an inventory of items accessible to people working in the house.

You can help to prevent elder abuse to your loved one by:

Make sure the home health care worker thoroughly understands his or her responsibilities, the elder care recipient’s medical problems and limitations, and how to cope with stressful situations.
Do not overburden the home health care worker.
Encourage openness over potential problems.

The following are possible signs of elder abuse or neglect:

Personality changes
Crying, whimpering, or refusing to talk
Sloppy appearance
Poor personal hygiene
Disorganized or dirty living conditions
Signs of inappropriate sedation, such as confusion, or excessive sleeping
Mysterious bruises, pressure sores, fractures, or burns
Weight loss

If you suspect abuse, act immediately. Do not wait until the situation turns tragic. Investigate the situation by talking to the elder care recipient in a safe situation, or install monitoring equipment. Examples of abusive behavior include yelling, threatening, or over controlling behavior that could involve isolating the senior from others. If the situation is serious, you should replace the home health care worker as quickly as possible. If you fear the elder care recipient is in danger, he or she should be separated from the home health care worker as soon as possible. Place the elder care recipient with a trusted relative or in a respite care facility. Make sure your loved one is safe before confronting the home health care worker, especially if there is concern about retaliation.

Report the situation to Adult Protective Services after ensuring the safety of the elder care recipient. The police should be contacted in the case of serious neglect, such as sexual abuse, physical injury, or misuse of funds.

Supervising a Home Health Care Worker

The most important thing to remember after hiring a home health care worker is to keep the lines of communication open. You should explain the job responsibilities clearly, and your responsibilities to the home health care worker. Do not forget that the home health care worker is there for the elder care recipient and not the rest of the family. For live-in arrangements, the maximum amount of privacy should be set up for the home health care worker’s living quarters. Meetings should be set up on a regular basis to assure that problems are nipped in the bud. If conflicts cannot be resolved after repeated attempts, than it is best to terminate the employee. In such a case, you may have to either place the elder care recipient in a nursing home temporarily or hire a home health care worker through an agency. Reserve funds should be kept on hand in the case of such an emergency.

General Eligibility Requirements for Home Care Benefits

Hiring a home health care worker directly is usually less expensive than hiring through a home health care agency; but if the elder care recipient is eligible and you wish to use assistance from Medicare, you must hire someone through a certified home health care agency. For the senior patient to be eligible, three or more services must be ordered by a physician. Other factors or eligibility are the required need for skilled nursing assistance, or one of the following therapies: physical, speech or occupational. The elder care recipient’s medical needs will determine asset and income requirements.

Hiring Home Health Care Workers through Home Health Care Agencies versus Independently

Different health professionals can assess the elder care recipient’s needs. A nurse or social worker can help with design and coordination of a home care plan. Your care manager, doctor, or discharge planner can help with services being covered by Medicare. They generally help make the arrangements with a home care agency.

You should ask the home health care agency how they supervise their employees, and what kind of training their employees receive. Find out the procedures for when an employee does not show up. Also ask about the fee schedule and what it covers, there may be a sliding fee schedule. Furthermore, find out if they have a policy for minimum or maximum hours. Ask the agency if there are any limitations on the types of tasks performed.

Especially if you have to pay for the care services yourself, find out if there are any hidden costs such as transportation. If all the costs for hiring a care worker through an agency become too much, you may want to consider hiring directly.

Hiring independent home health care workers is not only more economical than using an agency, but it also allows more direct control over the elder care.

Home Health Care Vs Nursing Homes

Although nursing homes are a preferred choice among the masses when it comes to taking care of seniors, home health care is more beneficial to the long-term health of the elderly. Firstly, recovery is much easier and usually is a faster transition within the confines of their own home. Due to the familiar surroundings of home, home health care is less stressful and recuperation is much more comfortable, and there is no requirement of adapting to a routine set by a nursing home.

Recovery

Within the presence of family and loved ones, the recovery process – from both a psychological and physical standpoint – is far quicker than in comparison to a nursing home. There are also no stringent rules such as visiting hours or the number of visitors permitted to visit the recovering senior.

Economical

Home care is also an economical option, since there are no boarding and room expenses. Also, the process of taking care of an ailing family member, with the aid of a registered nurse or therapist, helps solidify a fruitful bond during testing times.

Estimates suggest that individuals receiving health care at home can save up to 70% on their medical expenses in comparison to hospitalization, and they can save nearly 30% when it comes to a nursing home. These numbers have led to the ever growing popularity of home health care for senior citizens.

Up to Par Medical Technology

With the rapid growth and advancement in technology, many routine medical treatments and therapies that used to only be available in a hospital can now be translated into a comfortable home environment. Many home health care companies offer a vast variety of medical care.

If any technical procedures such as wound care or skin care are required, a registered nurse can take care of that at home. Registered home health care nurses can also help with clothing changes, personal hygiene such as brushing and bathing, and they can ensure the proper dietary intake that will improve health and recovery.

More Freedom

Home care allows more freedom for seniors than a nursing home. They can visit others as they please and can have flexible meal times. There is not a stringent “all or nothing” daily schedule. Plus, additional modifications can be made to the home to ensure a complete level of comfort that is unmatched by hospitals and nursing homes.

It is still important to consult the family over such decisions, but the benefits of home care are obvious as they are tangible and should remain a worthy consideration.

10 Great Tips To Sell Your Home Fast

Check out these great tips to sell your home fast. If you are thinking about selling your home, follow these steps and you will sell your home fast.

1. Price is the most important factor when it comes to selling your home. Over price your home and it will not sell. Every home will sell at the right price. You need to make sure you understand how much homes are selling for in your neighborhood and are they good comparable homes to yours. You need comps for homes that have sold, not listing prices. Homes may be selling for more or less than list price based on the market you are in. Your home will get the most activity in the first 30 days your home is for sale. Many sellers over price their home and miss out on the first 30 days.

2. Pick the right real estate agent. You need to find a real estate agent that you can trust. Selling your home is very important to you and you need someone qualified. You need to find an agent that understands the current housing market in your area. Knowledge of the market will help you choose the right price and strategy to sell your home. You need to trust your real estate agent and be someone you can work with. You need a real estate agent with a strategy to meet your goals and objectives. You want a real estate agent that is motivated. Your agent needs to be motivated to follow up on all showings, return phone calls, keep you informed throughout the process. You also need a real estate agent with relevant experience. Experience is not measured by years as a real estate agent, it is measured by the number of transactions completed each year.

3. You need a pricing strategy to meet your goals. Selecting the right price is the most important decision you will make in selling your home. You will choose a different pricing strategy if you need to sell your home today versus a home owner that has more time. Another consideration is the condition of your home. You should ask yourself these questions,

Do I want to sell my house with these appliances?

Do I want to sell my home with this paint?

Do I want to sell my home with this flooring?

Be careful not to over spend on upgrades. Some upgrades have a positive return on investment others have a negative return on investment. Do your home work and decide what repairs you are going to make.

4. Get the right curb appeal. Buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Stand in the street and take a critical look at your home. Get rid of the weeds, rake the rock, trim the bushes, and get rid of anything that is not needed. How about the paint on the front door, garage door, and trim?

5. The biggest return on investment is clean. Clean the entire home including windows and every corner of the home. Clean your home and keep it clean at all times. I know this sounds simple, however it is the greatest return on investment.

6. Another great return on investment is paint. Painting a room or the house is relatively inexpensive and makes a huge difference in a home. I recommend home owners hire a professional painter unless they are very good painters. You better know how to “cut” all lines perfectly or your home may look worse than when you started.

7. Another great return on investment is to de-clutter your home. Start packing because you are getting ready to move Have a yard sale if you need to get rid of stuff. Remove all your family pictures from your home. Go through each room and remove as much as you can and still live in the home. Your home will feel much larger with minimal furniture in each room. Pack your clothes that you are not using. This makes your closets seem larger.

8. You need to make it easy to show your home. The easier it is to show the easier it is to sell. You never know when someone will want to view your home. Make sure the home is ready to be viewed at all times and make it easy for potential buyers to view your home.

9. Tell everyone you know that you are selling your home. Place fliers any place you can such as work, library, any place they have a bulletin board.

10. You need a plan for your pets if you have them. If some one wants to look at your home, do you need to take the pets out of your home or in a kennel.

Your home will sell fast if you get the first two tips right. If you are seeking top dollar for your home, you will need to get more of these tips right.