Home Health Terminology: Home Care, Home Health Agency, Home Monitoring

Apr 27, 2011

Most seniors and their families start out unfamiliar with the “lingo” of eldercare that the professionals and medical providers use.  A senior likely just knows that he or she wishes to remain at home and worries about retaining independence as health issues arise.  Family members possibly worry about changes they see in a loved one and fret about falls, managing medications or whether or not a loved one is eating properly.  The senior and the family will likely know of people who have moved to assisted living facilities and may think of this as the primary option for senior care assistance.

To help sort out some of what is available to assist with in-home care and support, we will outline some of the terminology and home care options.

The term home health care or home health agency is usually used to refer to “skilled” in-home care services (R.N. nursing services, physical therapy, occupational or speech therapy) provided by a Medicare-certified, licensed home health agency.  You can read about when skilled home healthcare is covered by Medicare under certain conditions.

Many seniors require additional support to remain independent at home, such as household maintenance and housekeeping support, meal preparation, medication management assistance, personal care and transportation.  These home care services are often described as aging in place support services.  These tasks may be part of the “informal care” provided by friends, families and volunteers.  Medicare and healthcare providers often term these services as “custodial home care” or “long term care” (LTC) and as such, they are typically not covered by Medicare or traditional health insurance.  Such longterm care services may be covered by a client’s long term care insurance policy and are often paid for out of a client’s income or savings.  However, many home care providers offer flexible plans to accommodate a senior’s care needs within a budget.  Some community service programs and government funding (via Medicaid or the Older American’s Act, for example) are available to help those with limited financial resources.

Additionally, more and more technologies are evolving in the field of home monitoring, telehealth and aging in place.  Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) have been around for quite some time, and many people know of them through the old “Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” commercials.  New and more advanced systems continue to offer additional features, such as automatic fall detection, GPS technology and additional monitoring.  Aging in place technologies combined with appropriate home healthcare and home caregiver services can offer an elder many extra years living safely at home.

To find out more about home health care and in-home care options, CONTACT US today. EasyLiving is a licensed Florida home care agency, providing home caregivers in Pinellas and Pasco counties including areas such as Clearwater, Palm Harbor and Belleair.  We can also provide information on Pinellas home health care agencies for skilled nursing and physical therapy services.

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Topics: Home Care, Senior Health, News & Local Resources

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