Care Seeker Resources

A collection of resources to help you navigate the care continuum.

By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: May 26, 2016

Cost of common home health services

It is important to understand home health care cost so you and your family can budget accordingly.

Many people benefit from home health services. This method of care allows seniors to spend their retirement years at home and for those facing disabilities to live a higher quality lifestyle. However, home health services come at a price, and it's important to understand cost so you and your family can budget accurately.

Generally speaking, this avenue of care is less expensive than long-term services from a medical facility. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one month of care in an assisted living community would cost about $3,293 for a one-bedroom unit. Meanwhile, rates for home health services fall far below that. Learn more about prices to determine which route is right for you:

"Patients typically pay $21 per hour for a home health aide."

Home health aide services
Home health aide services involve a caretaker coming to your home to help with a variety of daily living activities. As AARP explained, while these individuals haven't gone through medical school, they must have training and pass a competency test to serve in this position. As such, they can help with basic needs like administering medication and checking vital signs.

According to the HHS, patients typically pay $21 per hour for a home health aide, though this varies depending on the organization, where you live and the services required. Even if you used this service for four hours each day with the aforementioned rate, the monthly cost would still be less than that for assisted living. Additionally, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare may cover the cost of home health aides who provide intermittent or part-time services.

Hospice
Hospice provides end-of-life care for individuals who have six or less months to live, focusing on symptom and pain management. According to a 2012 study published in the journal Health Affairs, this home service has a high price - costing more than $10,000 a month. However, under original Medicare, individuals pay nothing for this service, except for co-pays for prescription drugs.

Homemaker services
In some regards, homemaker services that involve laundry, cooking and cleaning are related to a person's health and well-being. For instance, people with disabilities or arthritis may not be able to tackle these chores on their own. However, even under a doctor's recommendation, Medicare won't cover homemaker services. According to the Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey, customers pay $19 per hour.

These rates reflect averages, and what you pay depends on many factors. Thoroughly research your provider to ensure you get the best service at an optimal price.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: May 05, 2016

What to expect when moving from skilled nursing to hospice

Whether you're making plans for your aging parent or another senior loved one, you're now tasked with transitioning the individual into hospice care.

Caring for an older family member involves any number of major transitions. If you're reading this, you've likely already moved from the home to assisted living to skilled nursing. Now, whether you're making plans for your aging parent or another senior loved one, you're tasked with transitioning the individual into hospice care. Navigating these shifts can be challenging in terms of knowing what next steps to take and simply handling all the emotions they come with.

Every end-of-life care experience is unique, but there are common steps people take when acquiring hospice services for their senior loved ones. Here are a few you may encounter:

 

Woman in hospice talking to nurse.Hospice patients have a team of caregivers at their side.

Deciding whether end-of-life care is right for the older adult
Before you help your senior loved one through this transition, you'll have to decide whether using hospice care is the best move. Many families are hesitant to say yes to hospice because they may view sending mom or dad to end-of-life care as giving up on the person. This is far from the truth. In fact, utilizing hospice's unique care services may give your senior loved one exactly what he or she needs to remain happy and comfortable.

Patients with a life expectancy of six months are typically the ones who use hospice. However, there's no set-in-stone criteria, and sometimes hospice can be suitable for other patients. Ultimately, it may help to look at the progress of your loved one's health. For example, if your mom has dementia and doesn't want to eat and spends most of her time sleeping, she may benefit from hospice care. Perhaps your dad has made several trips to the emergency room, and his quality of life and health are diminishing equally. He, too, may require hospice care.

Unfortunately, there may never be a "right" time to move the older adult to hospice care, but earlier is generally better than later. Additionally, the staff at the skilled nursing center can help you identify signs that the individual requires end-of-life care, and hospice typically begins with a referral from a physician.

"Hospice is used to enhance the quality of a patient's remaining life."

Selecting a hospice care service
You have two main options when selecting the type of hospice for your loved one: You can either use a facility's services or opt for in-home care, which is the more common route. Families who are unable to be at home with the senior typically use a facility's hospice services, such as a hospital or a skilled nursing center. When using hospice services at home, on the other hand, a family member, will typically serve as the primary caregiver.

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, each patient is assigned an interdisciplinary team, which includes a volunteer, registered nurse, home health aide, social worker and chaplain. You may use a referral from your loved one's skilled nursing team, word-of-mouth from a friend or even online reviews to help you select the ideal team.

The Hospice Patients Alliance elaborated on each person's role in delivering care to your loved one.

  • Volunteer: A person from your community will come to your home to spend time with the older adult, providing company while you attend to various errands. For example, the volunteer may stay with the senior while you go grocery shopping or take your child to a birthday party.
  • Home health aide: This health care professional helps your senior loved one with daily living tasks, which may include anything from bathing and feeding to cooking and housework.
  • Nurse: The registered nurses stop by the house to monitor the patient's health and adjust medications as necessary.
  • Social worker: This individual may offer counseling, connect you with community resources and help guide you through the hospice process.
  • Chaplain: Many families have a religious leader in their hospice team to provide spiritual guidance.

Changes in the senior's well-being
Hospice is used to enhance the quality of a patient's remaining life. As such, it's not meant to improve the individual's health. Rather, you may see the senior's well-being further decline. As HelpGuide explained, fatigue, confusion, labored breathing and loss of appetite are all common symptoms hospice patient's experience. The older adult's health care team will work to address these issues and make your loved one as comfortable as possible.

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By: Carelike Team  |  Type: Blog  |  On: June 24, 2015

Hospice Care - It’s a Beginning, Not an End

Contrary to popular belief, hospice care isn’t reserved only for the end of life as the last stop. The person in your care may be eligible for hospice right now.

Contrary to popular belief, hospice care isn’t reserved only for the end of life as the last stop. The person in your care may be eligible for hospice right now.

If the person in your care is diagnosed with a terminal illness such as cancer; if he or she has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia; if he or she has suffered a stroke from which 100% recovery is not expected; if he or she has heart, kidney or lung failure, you should explore the possibility of arranging for hospice care.

What is hospice?

The Hospice Foundation of America defines hospice as:

“…medical care toward a different goal: maintaining or improving quality of life for someone whose illness, disease or condition is unlikely to be cured … [and addresses] the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Hospice care also offers practical support for the caregiver(s) during the illness and grief support after the death.” In other words, hospice care is the beginning of providing physical and emotional comfort to you and the person in your care.

Where is hospice care administered?

Hospice care can be administered at home, in the hospital, in hospice centers, in assisted living communities and in skilled nursing homes.

How much does hospice cost?

Health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid cover most hospice costs.  Additionally, one can even turn a life insurance policy death benefit into a living benefit to pay for care such as hospice.

What else does hospice care provide?

  • Medications for pain relief.
  • Medical equipment and supplies (wheelchairs, walkers, canes, bandages, catheters).
  • Dietary education.
  • Occupational, physical and speech therapy.
  • Respite care.
  • Grief counselling.

Who is eligible to receive hospice care?

In general, anyone whose estimated life expectancy is six months or less may be eligible to receive hospice care. However, hospice care can be, and in many cases is, extended beyond six months.

How do I find out if the person in my care is eligible for hospice care?

Start by conversing with your physician about the prognosis for the person in your care. Explain your situation and what is involved in tending to the person in your care. Your doctor and a hospice physician will both need to evaluate the person in your care for purposes of determining eligibility.

When should I have the conversation?

You should speak with your doctor when you feel it might be time to move to hospice care. Don’t be like the thousands of people who wished that had reached out sooner. Ask now; ask often.

How can I find hospice care in my area?

CareLike partners with many hospice providers!  Click here to find hospice care in your area.

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