Preparing Your Loved One for Home Health Care

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Serious Senior Moment: How Much Do You Value Your Independence?

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What price do you put on your independence? Chances are that you or someone you love will be one of the 55 million Americans over age 65 by 2020. The last baby boomers will have reached age 65 by 2030. That's almost one-fifth of the projected U.S. population. So where will you, as one of these 72 million seniors, opt to go to when you need senior care services?

Some serious questions facing the new crop of seniors include:

  • Will there be Medicare?
  • Will you recover more efficiently at home than you would in the hospital?
  • What kind of personal care would you get at home versus in the hospital?
  • What if disability keeps you needing senior care service long-term?
  • What is your independence worth to you?

According to "The Future of Home Health Care Project," a white paper by The Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation, home health care is cost-effective, patient-preferred, and offers a high incidence of positive patient outcomes. That is, patients get better more effectively at home than in an institutional setting.

Surveys conducted by the Alliance state that most people would rather stay home. They value their independence.

But What Is The Price For That Independence?

Those without insurance, dependent on Medicare, may be shocked to find that home health care costs an average of $8,000 less over a 60-day period of care than any other health care setting--even with the Affordable Care Act in place. Not only is home health care cheaper, it provides patient-centered care, treating mind, body, and spirit. It also offers family caregiver support. Institutional care tends to be fractured care, not holistic, according to the Alliance.

Home health care is paid by both Medicare Parts A and B. This requires a physician-ordered, 60-day care plan for a home-bound patient who needs skilled therapy or nursing services by a healthcare professional. That is a non-negotiable requirement.

The Bottom Line

Americans are living longer than ever before. This means that those needing care may need senior care services longer term, especially if they have more than one condition needing treatment or have a disability.

Once discharged from an acute healthcare setting, the bottom line is that patient care must be proactive from both a healthcare standpoint and the point of view of the patient. If the patient requires senior home health services, patients will be in control of their surroundings, their healthcare choices, and their finances through the help of an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, aides, and social workers. That value is priceless. For more information, visit JFS at Home.