Home Care Patient Advocate, Navigator or Health Advocate
What is a Home Care Patient Advocate?
The concept of patient advocacy in its current form was developed in 1950’s as the treatment of cancer patients grew more and more technically complicated, as a means to make the voice of the patient more readily heard. In today’s world of constantly evolving medical techniques, treatments, and services, the average individual cannot be expected to be thoroughly acquainted with any and all this material. So it becomes the function of the Home Care patient advocate to perform a variety of services to ease the burden of the patient, and their family, as they deal with every aspect of their search for a reliable home health care agency or nursing assistant for the patient’s day-to-day living environment, to ensure proper care and medical well-being.
What is Senior Home Care?
Home care is a simple phrase that encompasses a wide range of health and social services. These services are delivered at home to recovering, disabled, chronically or terminally ill persons in need of medical, nursing, social, or therapeutic treatment and/or assistance with the essential activities of daily living.
Generally home care is appropriate whenever a person prefers to stay at home but needs ongoing care that cannot easily or effectively be provided solely by family and friends. More and more older people, electing to live independent, non-institutionalized lives, are receiving home care services as their physical capabilities diminish. Younger adults who are disabled or recuperating from acute illness are choosing home care whenever possible. Chronically ill infants and children are receiving sophisticated medical treatment in their loving and secure home environments. Adults and children diagnosed with terminal illness also are being cared for at home, receiving compassion and maintaining dignity at the end of life. As hospital stays decrease, increasing numbers of patients need highly skilled services when they return home. Other patients are able to stay at home to begin with, receiving safe and effective care in the comfort of their own homes.
Is home care right for my loved one or me?
It ??s natural to want to stay at home as you grow older—most seniors hope to be able to. However, taking a step back to look at the big picture can help you decide whether staying at home for the long term truly is the right step for you. Too often, decisions to leave home are suddenly made after a sudden loss or emergency, making adjustments all the more painful and difficult. Take a look at your options, your budget, and some of the alternatives.
Deciding whether to stay at home:
- Location and accessibility. Where is your home located? Are you in a rural or suburban area that requires a lot of driving? If you’re in an area with more public transit, is it safe and easily accessible? How much time does it take you to get to services such as shopping or medical appointments?
- Home accessibility and maintenance. Is your home easily modified? Does it have a lot of steps, stairs or a steep hill to access? Do you have a large yard that needs to be maintained?
- Support available. Do you have family and friends nearby? How involved are they? Are they able to provide you the support you need? Many older adults prefer to rely on family to provide help, but as your needs increase, they might not be able to fill in all of the gaps. It’s important to consider proximity to community services and activities as well.
- Isolation. If it becomes difficult or impossible for you to leave home without help, isolation can rapidly set in. You may not be able to participate in hobbies you once loved, stay involved in community service that kept you motivated, or visit with friends and family. Losing these connections and support is a recipe for depression.
- Medical conditions. No one can predict the future. However, if you or a loved one has a chronic medical condition that is expected to worsen over time, it’s especially important to think about how you will handle health and mobility problems. What are common complications of your condition, and how will you handle them?
- Finances. Making a budget with anticipated expenses can help you weigh the pros and cons of your situation. Alternate arrangements like assisted living can be expensive, but extensive in home help can rapidly become expensive as well, especially at higher levels of care and live-in or 24-hour coverage.
Home Care Costs
The cost of home health care warrants proactive planning and should be weighed against your budget and other anticipated expenses.
For a home health aide to visit just 3 times a week to provide in home care, you may have to pay nearly $18,000 a year. It is wise then, to fully understand what is involved in contracting home health services and how it impacts your finances.
To get a full picture of what to expect when engaging a home health care provider, determine the cost your home health services, the public programs for which you are eligible, what payments these programs cover and what private funding options are available. This will greatly simplify identifying what option best meets your budget and in home care needs.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, in 2008, the average cost of hiring a home health care provider in United States is $29 an hour. The cost may vary depending upon where you live, however. Those in Los Angeles, may have to pay $29/hour for a home health aide, but those in San Jose, may need to pay $50/hour for the same in home care.