What Is Home Care and What Types of Home Care Are Available?

Home caregivers are also referred to as home health aides. If youre a senior or someone else that needs some extra help, home caregivers can make your life easier and more enjoyable.

Many different services fall under the topic of home health care. A caregivers duties likely offer more options than you might think. If you need some extra help, its worthwhile to check into it sooner rather than later.

What Is Home Care?

Home care is defined as any type of professional care or support that makes it possible for people to live in their homes safely.

Most often, seniors and others that need help hire home care for these reasons:

They need help with activities of daily living (also known as ADL).
Theyre living with chronic health issues.
Theyre recovering from surgery or another medical condition.
They have a physical or mental health disability.

You can schedule home care for a short period or for long-term. Home care can often make the difference between having to live in a nursing home and staying home.

To give you a snapshot of the scope of home care services, see these statistics:

70% of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care.
Home care isnt just for seniors12 million people receive home care in the U.S. every year.
Over 33,000 home care agencies provide care in the U.S.
1.5 million people currently work as home care workers.
Home care is $465 billion per year industry.

What Types of Home Care Are Available?

Depending on the type of assistance you need, you can choose from a variety of services. Some of them require training and certification and others dont. When hiring caregivers, its important to get their job description and learn the type of care that theyre supposed to give, as well as the type of care theyre not permitted to provide.

Caregivers often spend a lot of time with the people theyre assigned to care for. Its essential to choose caregivers carefully. Good caregivers tend to be naturally caring and compassionate individuals.

Types of Home Care Services and What to Expect:

Skilled nursing care-records vital signs, assists with medical equipment, feeding, medication reminders. May also help with errands, light housekeeping, and meal preparation.
Occupational therapists-help ill or injured people improve the skills they need for living and working.
Companion care-provides company, may drive them to social activities, gives them someone to talk with to prevent loneliness.
Personal care-helps with bathing and dressing, preparing meals, light housekeeping.
Hospice care-provides physical care and emotional care during the final stages of life.
Palliative care-special medical care for people living with a serious illness. Palliative caregivers strive to help them get relief from pain and be more comfortable to enjoy a better quality of life under the conditions.

Be aware that you can always scale home care services up or down depending on your needs. Home care services can make a major impact on the happiness and quality of life for seniors and others that need help. Taking the first step to explore your options will give you much-needed relief. You have nothing to lose by checking it out.

How to Take Care of an Elderly Person After Hospitalization

Hospitals are releasing patients as soon as they can because of insurance or other reasons. While elderly patients might meet the criteria for discharge, they might not be physically or mentally ready to go home when theyre told its time.

Out of worry and concern for a loved one, many families find themselves darting around at the last minute to find after-care and rehabilitation resources to ensure that a patient doesnt have a setback.

Getting the right care after hospitalization can aid an elderly person in their recovery and help make them stronger and healthier.

Making a Smooth Transition from the Hospital to Home

Under the best of circumstances, elderly people are vulnerable. After a hospitalization, elderly people have many old and new health matters to contend with like:

  • Reduced mobility
  • Risk of falling
  • Risk of infection
  • Medication mix-ups
  • Side effects from medications
  • Complications from surgery or other treatments

In addition to these health risks, elderly people need to get back into a routine of healthy eating and exercise. That doesnt usually happen right away, but its always a goal.

Seniors need a special diet after being charged from the hospital.

Its important to help an elderly persons bodily systems get working again and the right diet helps seniors with digestion and blood circulation.

There are over 2 million Medicare recipients in the U.S. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 20% of people that get discharged from a hospital get readmitted sometime later. Many of them get worse before theyre readmitted.

Here are some tips for things you should consider as part of hospital discharge planning for elderly people.

  • Type of equipment neededcanes, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, etc.
  • Setting up the homeremoving rugs, adding grab bars, rearranging furniture, etc.
  • Bringing in a hospital bed
  • Arranging for visits from a nurse, OT, PT, or other home care services
  • Arranging transportation to medical appointments

Types of Help an Elderly Person Needs After Hospitalization

The hospital may be able to help you set up some of the after-care needs for discharge planning but be aware they may not be able to arrange for all the services you need. Home care services can fill the gap in services that you need after hospitalization, and longer if necessary.

Here are some of the needs that elderly people commonly need after surgery or hospitalization:

  • Help with safe transfer and mobility
  • Medication reminders
  • Meal preparation
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Taking detailed notes for family
  • Bathing and personal hygiene
  • Exercise
  • Companionship

At the time of admission, the hospital may discuss discharge planning. If they dont, it will be up to the elderly person or their family to make sure everything is in place for continuing care.

At the end of a hospital stay, it will ease your stress if you have a detailed plan for how to manage things when its time to bring an elderly patient home. A smooth transition to the home environment will facilitate recovery, prevent infections and illnesses, and give everyone involved the confidence to move forward safely.

Most importantly, by enlisting the help of a home caregiver, you may very well prevent an elderly person from having a setback that takes them back to the hospital.