Hiring outside home care is a good option for many people, allowing them to stay in familiar surroundings and retain control over simple but meaningful life decisions such as what and when to eat.
Whether this type of care meets particular personal, physical, and medical needs should be decided jointly by the individual, involved family members, and medical practitioners familiar with the patient.
Home health care was previously considered the best choice only for those who required a very limited amount of nursing care and personal assistance — or at least the best first step to take until more serious care and supervision was required.
Recently, however, given greatly increased consumer interest, combined with tighter legal controls on home caregivers, more people see this care as the ends to the means of “aging in place” — at home rather than in a facility.
Locate Potential Providers
A word about semantics: “Home health care” usually refers to short-term medical care and is different from “in-home care” — the term used to describe services offering personal assistance but not medical care. Some agencies provide both types of care.
First, assemble a list of potential home health service providers.
CalQualityCare.org lets you search for them based on zip code, city, and provider name; a refined search also allows narrowing by those that accept Medicare and Medi-Cal payments.
Narrow Your Search
Home health care agencies are staffed by different types of workers, offer a range of care, and provide a variety of specialized therapies and treatments. CalQualityCare.org also allows you to do an advanced search narrowing your choices to providers meeting these specific needs.
Workers providing the care may include:
- Home health aides assist with personal care and grooming and prepare and feed meals
- Certified nurse assistants help with simple medical treatments such as changing dressings, give medications, and troubleshoot medical equipment
Types of care may include:
- Skilled nursing: Care provided by a registered or vocational nurse, usually during shifts spanning several hours
- Continuous nursing care: For patients requiring full-time medical care and monitoring
- Social services: Focuses on emotional well-being and transitioning from hospital to home
- Homemaker service: Such as light housekeeping and running errands
- Pediatric care: Nursing and therapy for infants and children
Therapies and treatments may include:
- Physical and occupational therapy: To work on overall strength and mobility and regaining physical independence
- Speech therapy: To improve speech, language and swallowing skills
- Enterostomal therapy: To help with colostomies, incontinence, skin ulcers, and wounds
- Specialized treatments: Includes blood transfusions, HIV/AIDS regimens, and intravenous, respiratory, and pulmonary therapy
- Mental health counseling and psychiatric nursing: Focuses on mental health