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When to Get Home Healthcare Help When Caring for a Loved One


A parent is getting more forgetful. An older relative has fallen several times in the last few months. A family member is recovering from surgery. When is it time to explore home healthcare options? The simplest answer may be this: When you are worried about that person’s ability to stay safe and well at home.

Home healthcare can include a wide range of services for people with varying needs and in many different situations. There two service categories: “private-duty” homecare, which includes services that would not be covered by insurance; and medical-based home healthcare, including skilled nursing services that often are covered by insurance.

Private Duty Nursing and Personal Care

Through its HomeAssist™ program, Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio provides help with everyday tasks. Michelle Kerr, RN, chief clinical officer for VNA of Ohio, offers examples of “private-duty” services and who could benefit from them.

An elderly patient who may forget to eat might hire a visiting aide to plan and prepare his meals and even assist with feeding, if necessary.

Someone at risk of falling could schedule an aide to come and help with walking and transfers from her bed to a chair. While there, the aide could remind her to take her medications and help her wash her hair.

For patients needing round-the-clock care, visiting aides can provide companionship and help with light housekeeping, such as laundry and linen change, while the primary caregiver is away.

Private duty HomeAssist™ aides also run errands or provide rides to doctors’ appointments or social events.

Because HomeAssist services are paid for by the individual, there is no need to meet any criteria, medical or otherwise, to be eligible, said Kerr. And these services can continue as long as desired.

Home-based Care for Medical Needs

VNA of Ohio’s home healthcare services, on the other hand, are medically focused, short-term services intended to help the patient regain the greatest degree of independence possible. VNA of Ohio home healthcare services for homebound patients is typically covered by private insurance or Medicare when a physicians’ order indicates medical need.

Kerr said home healthcare personnel are highly specialized to meet patient needs. Staff includes RNs, mental health RNs, social workers and physical, occupational and speech therapists.

These professionals may provide rehab services, administer medical treatments, draw blood for lab work and assess patients to determine how best to provide future care.

But, Kerr said, the primary function of nurses in the home setting is education. In order to ensure long-term wellness, patients and their caregivers need to learn how to manage their diseases and look for signs of complications before they result in a trip to the hospital. Home healthcare nurses also make sure that the patients and their caregivers understand their medications, dosages and how to recognize adverse reactions and side effects. Nurses also teach caregivers how to provide treatments themselves, when possible.

“People want to be at home, so we will do everything we can to try to make that happen.” Kerr said. “I think people are surprised at how many services we offer.”

Call VNA of Ohio Today

Learn more about VNA of Ohio services, or call us today at 1-877-698-6264.