In-home care or private caregiving is a widely used option to help keep people in their own homes or with family when care needs arise. There are national and local In-home care companies, as well as registry services and referral services for caregivers to help families trying to find the right fit for a private caregiver.
Home care usually involves non-medical care for seniors. Services traditionally include help with bathing & dressing, medication reminders, housework, respite care, companionship, and more.
Home care providers can be very skilled, however, when taking on the caregiver role as an in-home care provider they can provide quality services at an affordable price point. Medicare does not cover In-home care.
Home Health, on the other hand, involves administering services that are more clinical and more technical (and usually more expensive). Duties include preparing and administering medications, wound care, and other duties associated with caregiving. Home Health is covered by Medicare.
Care in the home can take on a variety of shapes and sizes and can incorporate family, friends, and professional assistance. Most people, given a choice, would prefer to receive assistance from someone they know, family members, or friends.
There are certainly situations when family or friends providing care is not appropriate. If professional support is to be brought into the home, there are a few questions to ask the home care agencies you are interviewing.
Finding the right Home Care Company
- Speak with a local care advisor or geriatric care manager about home care agencies in your area
- Learn about services and pricing
- Schedule a no-cost, no-obligation In-Home consultation (or assessment)
- Most In-Home Care agencies have hourly minimums, usually 2-4 hrs. If a shift does not meet these minimums, the client may still have to pay for the full shift.
- Make sure the agency you are considering is licensed, and caregivers are bonded and insured.
- What kind of training and orientation do the staff participate in?
- Is there a nurse to oversee caregivers and provide training?
- What is the process if a caregiver is sick or does not show up for a shift?
- What are the fees? Do you pay less for longer shifts? Does the agency bill monthly or weekly? Do they provide transportation to doctor appointments, grocery store, etc…?
- Does the agency have access to other resources in the community should you need them?
- Check survey inspection results at medicare.gov.
- Ask to see references and customer testimonials.
What about hiring my own private caregiver?
- It's generally less expensive than working with an agency
- A caregiver is your employee, they work for you.
- You may be able to exchange care services for room and board, this works well for students
What is the advantage of hiring an In-Home Care agency?
- An agency pays taxes, insurance, etc… No liability on your part, less risk
- The shift will always be covered
- Agencies are regulated and must pass inspections to operate
What type of Assistance can an In-Home caregiver provide?
Caregivers skill-sets can range from nursing students, certified nurses assistant's, experienced caregivers, and those who are just getting started along the career path of caregiving. There are pros and cons to hiring a caregiver directly or working with an in-home care agency.
How Much Does In-Home Care Cost?
In Home Care can be very expensive, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15-$25 per hour depending on the care provided, the skill set of the caregiver, and going market rate. Some Long Term Care Insurance policies cover In-Home Care.
Medicare does not pay for In-Home Care but does cover Home Health Care. Some state's Medicaid programs will offer limited In-Home Care coverage for clients who are still living at home.
If the caregiver is a CNA or other licensed professional, the cost will typically increase due to training that the individual has received. So who pays for in-home care?
- Private Pay (you)
- Long Term Care Insurance– check your policy for restrictions and make sure agency is able to accept payment from Insurance provider
- Some Health Insurances- check your policy
- Medicaid– offers limited in-home care programs for those who qualify
In-home care is designed to support those who DON'T want (or need) to leave their homes, but DO require assistance with one or more of their daily activities.