As the holiday season approaches, many of us will travel from near or far to spend time with family and friends. During this time together, it’s common for many families to realize that a loved one might need additional help at home.
Maybe your elderly mom is no longer able to keep up with the cleaning of her home and is having difficultly managing all of her medications. Or maybe your uncle is still recovering from his recent surgery and could use assistance with showering and getting dressed each morning.
The truth is, with full time jobs and other family and personal commitments, many relatives and caregivers struggle to provide the extra help that their loved one needs. A private home care agency can help close this care gap by coordinating regular assistance from a home health aide or nurse. From visiting a few hours each week to help with cleaning and shopping to providing 24/7 assistance, private home care services can include:
- Light housekeeping and daily chores
- Meal preparation
- Medication management
- Morning and bedtime help
- Personal care
- Respite care
- Skilled nursing services
- Therapy services
- Travel assistance
- Household management
When researching home health care agencies, it is important to make sure that the organization can provide skilled, qualified nurses, home care aides and patient care coordinators who will work together to meet the needs of your loved one. Keep in mind that a third-party accreditation can help confirm an agency’s qualifications. In Massachusetts, for example, an accreditation from the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts ensures that a private home care agency has met a set of 15 standards relating to:
- Client rights, privacy and complaint procedures
- Protections against abuse
- Fair employment practices
- Caregiver background screening
- Competency, training and supervision
- Insurance coverage
- Compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws
Although it may be clear to you that your loved one needs assistance, many people in need of help are reluctant to accept it – especially after years (or decades) of independence and self-sufficiency. If this is the case with your loved one, it is typically helpful for a patient care coordinator or case manager to step in to help facilitate the conversation. He or she can meet with you and your loved one to discuss the situation, answer questions and ensure that you and your loved one are both comfortable with the recommended care plan.
As private home care can act as a supplement to services covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, the agency will also work with you to ensure that the home care services fit within your loved one’s financial means. They can also recommend and arrange for free community resources that your loved one may benefit from.
If you feel that a loved one could benefit from extra help, don’t hesitate to reach out to a home health care agency to discuss the situation. A qualified agency will work with you to help determine the best way forward so that your loved one can get the help they need in the comfort of their own home.
Lisa Royer is the director of Home and Health Resources, part of South Shore Health System's Home and Community Care Division. To learn more about Home and Health Resources and how they can help your loved one, please call 781-624-7090.