Using a Home Health Care Agency

Most elderly people eventually are faced with the fact that they can no longer live alone and this can be a very stressful time for them. They feel they are losing their independence and are no longer useful to themselves or others. You can make this easier on your parents if you talk about it before that time comes and make plans together as to how it will be handled.

Your parents have probably lived in their home for a long time so the best solution is probably home care. You can try to find a home health care provider on your own, but it would not be wise to do this without checking both their references and their background. You would also need to learn about the state laws regarding taxes, insurance and bonding. You are probably better off using the help of a professional agency. A good agency supplying home care aides will have a good business record and ensure their caregivers have been checked out thoroughly.

The home care companion can help with walking, meal preparation and light housekeeping, while a certified home health aide can help with bathing and dressing in addition to other tasks. A home care agency manages their home health care aides and the home health care aides take care of your family member, so you can take care of your own responsibilities. This allows you to maintain a good relationship with your parents and enjoy each others company to the fullest.

A licensed home care agency supplies caregivers to people who need either non-medical services or licensed home health care. Agency employees are certified, screened and have a thorough background check done for your protection. The agency takes care of all wages, insurance, taxes and bonding. Some even have vans that shuttle their caregivers right to the client’s home, assuring prompt and reliable service.

Of course, experience is one of the most important things to look at when contracting a home health care provider. Be sure to ask for references and for any client success stories they may have.  The most trusted home health care providers in your area will have numerous references and testimonials for you to review. The agency you select should also be a member in good standing of the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

One of the greatest benefits that can come from working with these professionals is the relationship which develops between the client, their family and the caregiver and supervisor. The family soon learns to trust the caregiver to take care of the client and the client accepts and soon enjoys the arrangement, allowing everyone to relax and enjoy life again.

Home Health Care History

The early nineteenth century witnessed the initial stages of the home health care industry that offered qualified nurses to take care of the poor and sick in their homes. In 1909 when Metropolitan Life Insurance Company started to write policies that comprised of home health care, this industry became very popular. This company is credited for paying the first compensation for home health care industry. This gave rise to the birth of organized home health care.

The Great Depression in 1929 caused several businesses along with home care industry a lot of hindrances and struggle. This went on till the follow-up visits made by nurses after hospital discharge became reimbursable by the Medicare Act of 1966. The home care industry became most feasible and practical when Medicare in an attempt to reduce hospitalization costs set up DRG’s program (Diagnostic Related Group). This laid down that some disease or hospital practice needed a certain stay period. So the discharged patients were more sick compared to their DRG counterparts.

The story does not finish with DRGs. This in fact was the commencement of patient care vs. medical ethics debate. This subject shall be soon addressed in the present health care reform segment. The price of health care is the issue. Questions like how much does a human life cost and how long one should pay for keeping alive a person after he ceases to be a contributor to the society need to be addressed.

Home health care industry needs to answer these questions. The main intention of the DRG programs was to cut down the hospital stay in order to lower hospitalization costs. Thus this becomes a challenge to the agencies. But gradually home care started becoming expensive. The Balanced Budge Act of 1997 hand one major side effect. It limited the benefit days to the patients under home health care thereby lowering the compensations to the various home health care agencies. This resulted in many of these agencies going out of business.

The price to take care of a patient will always stay an issue. There was a growth of nosocomial diseases in hospitals that lead to heavy health care costs. Patients started getting discharged in a much sicker condition than before. This put additional burden on the family of the patient to make available good care once the family member is home. Also majority of the people were working. Home health care agencies that provide services were unable to discharge patients when they exceed their Medicare days if they are in a bad condition or its not safe to depart from them without any nursing services.

In case the home care agency declines admission of a patient who seems sicker than the number of reimbursement days allowed by the government, the patients’ family does not have too many choices. In case of the patient being discharged without any adequate follow-up care, the patients’ family can seek services of a qualified agency that could strain on emergency room visits and re-hospitalization leading to more compensation issues. Such questions are difficult to answer more so in cases where cost is to be taken care of. But, as time passes, such questions will continue to haunt till there are satisfactory answers to them.