What to expect when helping a loved one through home care

Carelike Team | Housing Options, Home Care & Home Healthcare, | May 17, 2016

Many seniors are choosing  to "age in place," or live at home during their retirement years. This popular option allows folks to remain involved in their communities and enjoy the comforts of their own homes. However, for some older adults, living independently has its challenges, so they often solicit home health services. If your parent is entertaining the idea of hiring a home health aide, here's what you can expect:

Overview of services
As the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services explained, you need a doctor's approval to start home health services, so be sure you communicate with your parent's physicians about long-term care options. It's also important to have a thorough understanding of the type of services home health care staff provides. According to CMS, these professionals perform the following duties:

  • Examine the home to ensure it's safe for living. 
  • Educate clients on care to promote independence.
  • Check vital signs like blood pressure and breathing.
  • Administer medications.
  • Review the client's overall well-being, including pain levels and proper diet.

That said, the services provided vary depending on the client's needs. For instance, an older adult with limited mobility may receive help bathing and dressing. Meanwhile, home health aides may also assist with meal preparation and grocery shopping.

"Home health services vary depending on the client's needs."

The selection process
Once you, your parent and the overseeing physician have determined that home health services are the right fit, you'll need to select the right home health organization or aide. The doctor should provide a list of local home health services, but it's important to do some research of your own to find the best team or person possible.

Once you've narrowed down your selection, you and your parent should go through an interview process. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice advised care seekers read any literature about the organizations and their services, such as the providers' "Patient Bill of Rights," before conducting interviews. When you do have a sit-down with potential care takers, ask about rules on the family's involvement in decision-making, employee training, financing the service, what documentation aides take and emergency protocol.

An adjustment period
Bringing in a home health aide is a major transition. All of a sudden, your parent has a stranger in his or her home, helping the individual dress, bathe and eat. Ensuring you use the same home health aide each day will make the transition easier. It will also help the client and provider build that necessary trust for an effective relationship. Of course, this isn't always possible - home health aides may need time off - but you can voice your concerns about remaining consistent.

Listen to the senior's concerns and feedback to evaluate whether the caregiver is the right fit. Just keep in mind that it may take only a few days or as long as several weeks for your loved one to become comfortable with the home health aide.