As the population ages, more of us need assistance, and the importance grows for thinking about this eventuality. Planning for home care and hospice can be a great way to ensure that you get the care you deserve while living at home. Demand is high, and agencies sometimes have waitlists, so it’s important to plan early and make decisions with you or your family member’s best interest in mind.
What are home care, home health, and hospice?
There are different levels of assistance when a person needs help either as they age or because of disability.
Residential facilities, Assisted Living and Nursing Homes offer the maximum amount of care. However, many families prefer to keep their loved ones in the comfort of their own home, whether for independence, convenience, or cost. This is where home care comes in.
Home care can range from assistance with activities of daily living (walks, cooking, etc.) to ‘Home Health Services,’ which involves more skilled services, including nursing and medical supervision. Home care agencies are often able to provide companionship services as well. In addition, home care may offer more limited assistance for people who need help with daily activities, though check with your agency to see what is available.
Hospice care provides palliative and supportive services to terminally ill patients in their homes or a hospice facility.
Bluebird Health provides three levels: Home Care, Home Health Services, and Hospice Care. Obviously Home Care and Home Health Services are provided in the home. Hospice care is delivered wherever you reside—home, in a residential facility, or even the hospital.
Home care and hospice services include:
- Routine check-ups with a doctor;
- Help with bathing, grooming, getting dressed;
- Helping with meals;
- Providing support for caregivers;
- Making arrangements for outside assistance such as housekeeping or yard work;
- Assisting with medication reminders;
- Respite care for caregivers.
Home Health Services offer a plethora of skilled services, including, but not limited to:
- Diabetic Training and Foot Care
- IV Infusion/ CVL/ Port-A-Cath
- Medication Management
- Pediatric Specialty Care
- Post-Operative Care
- Psychiatric Nursing
- Respiratory Care
- Stoma Care
- Wound Cares
You can see more about what each of the services include on their pages linked above.
Benefits of planning for your future needs:
There are a lot of benefits to planning for your future home care and hospice needs. Some of these include getting quality care at an affordable price, knowing what you want if you can’t make decisions for yourself, and having a better understanding of what you need when you’re ill.
All in all, it’s essential to plan because waiting until you need care can be costly, not beneficial for everyone involved, and can take away some of the control you have over what’s happening to you.
Your family will also benefit from your planning ahead. It can help them avoid making difficult decisions under stress and give them greater peace of mind.
For example, those looking to care for family members themselves, there are many resources available. Several community organizations and continuing education facilities offer information on home health aides and how to provide this type of assistance with a limited budget and in a limited amount of space. By planning ahead you’ll be able to take advantage of these resources.
How to Plan and What to Consider
The first step to planning is to think about what you would want if you could not make decisions about your care. This may include a visit from a home health aide, a skilled nurse who will come to your house, or a program that provides nursing services at the hospital. The second step is finding out what programs are available in your area and what benefits they offer.
You may also wish to consider other needs that you have, such as emotional or spiritual ones. For example, if it’s essential to be with people every day, you might want a provider who can visit you. Providers should also consider how much mobility you have, which can affect your need for assistance. These are just some of the factors that providers should consider when making their recommendations to you.
What Options Do I Have
The type of care you will receive depends on what’s available in your area and your individual needs. For example, some people may want a day program that provides personal care during the day and then goes home at night. Others may want a provider who makes evening visits.
Who should I consider when choosing home care or hospice provider?
Caring for a loved one at home can be rewarding, but it also requires a lot of effort. Choose a caregiver by looking for someone with experience in-home care, good work history, and a positive outlook on life.
Many options are available to those who want to plan for future home care and hospice needs. It’s essential to think about what you would need from these services, what they offer, and what your loved ones would prefer if the caregiver were to become you. Once you’ve decided, choose a provider that can meet your needs and fit into your budget.
Tips on Choosing a Caregiver or Agency
Choosing a caregiver for yourself or your loved ones can be extremely difficult. There are so many options, and it can be challenging to know which one to choose. These tips may help you find the best caregiver for you:
Choosing a caregiver for yourself or your loved ones can be extremely difficult. Since there are so many options, and it can be challenging to know which one to choose. These tips may help you find the best caregiver for you:
- Ask friends, family members, co-workers, clergy, housing manager where they would go if they needed home care for themselves or their loved ones
- Find out how much experience the candidate has caring for senior adults in your situation
- Ask how much support is provided with the worker’s availability. For example, if the caregiver is sick, is there backup?
- Does the agency offer training for their caregivers?
- Get references from people who have received care from the provider. Do they feel that they were treated with respect?
- Find out about the agency. Is it licensed?
- How flexible are the workers in terms of meeting your needs? Does the worker speak your language or understand your culture, religion, and values?
- Do they have experience with veterans, if that is your experience.
These are just some of the factors to consider when choosing a caregiver. Make sure that you think about what is important to you, your loved one, and your family members before choosing someone who may end up caring for you. Remember that it’s essential to select someone open to religious, cultural, and personal preferences and input from your family members.
Once you’ve found a potential provider, ask them about their experience caring for people in the same situation as you, ask for references, and do background checks if necessary to make sure they are trustworthy. If possible, meet with all prospective caregivers before choosing one so that you can get to know each other better. Bluebird Health performs follow-up calls to ensure compliance with the caregiver’s needs and compatibility with the individual patient and their needs.
Reminders to keep in mind when you are a Caregiver or Planning for the Future:
- Be prepared for the unplanned. Create an emergency plan that ensures that your loved one gets connected to the services they need in case of injury, illness, or hospitalization.
- It can be challenging to think about how you would handle caregiving if you’re not already in the role. The best way to prepare for this eventuality is to have a frank, open conversation about what the future may hold with your family members. Then, come up with a plan together so that everyone knows their role and your desires and can help each other out when it comes time for you to need care.
- If you are already caring for your loved one at home, remember that your needs matter too. You should care for yourself as well as your loved one. Make sure that you schedule time each week to take care of yourself and do what you enjoy.
Some resources that may be helpful for you when searching for information about your area’s programs and rates are:
Medicare and Insurance is explained on this page.
It’s never too early to start thinking about planning for home care and hospice needs. Thinking ahead can be a great way to ensure that you get the care you deserve while living at home. It’s important to talk early and make decisions with you or your family member’s best interest in mind.
Since there are many options available, this makes it challenging to find the right one for you or your family member. Our team of experts at Bluebird Health would love to help you navigate these critical decisions by providing personalized assistance tailored for your unique situation. We have various resources on planning, what questions to ask when interviewing caregivers or agencies, and more. Let us know if we can help!
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