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Types of In-Home Care Services

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With the high cost of long-term care, more and more seniors are trying to stay in their homes as long as possible. But that isn’t always possible if the person needs a lot of cares that they or their spouse or children are not able to provide. Enter in-home care.

Home care services are becoming more and more popular and can be a very cost-effective way to manage health or rehabilitation issues. The added bonus is that many people have a better outlook and attitude when they can stay right in their own homes.

In-home care covers a wide variety of services and can vary by the agency selected and the person’s individual needs. Here are some of the most common services you’ll find.

  • Personal care — This usually encompasses help with tasks related to daily living such as bathing, dressing, using the toilet (or changing Depends) and getting in and out of bed. This care is usually performed by a certified nursing assistant (c.n.a.) or home health aide.
  • Nursing care – Home health nurses will typically conduct an assessment of the patient’s needs and create a plan of care. They will then make regular visits to check overall health, manage pain and administer medicines. Nurses will often work closely with the patient’s doctor in terms of what is working and what needs to be changed. Nurses may also change bandages or set up oxygen or IVs if needed.
  • Physical therapy – Sometimes it is difficult to transport an elderly patient to a clinic for physical therapy, but supervised instruction regarding exercises to do and equipment to use can help their rehabilitation tremendously. PT is especially helpful after a fall or a mild stroke.
  • Occupational therapy – OT is another service that can be successfully brought into the home. Occupation therapists can work with patients on managing their own activities of daily living (ADL). Seniors will learn basic things such as how to use a “grabber” to help them get dressed and the correct way to transfer from bed to chair or walker and back.
  • Speech therapy – Stroke victims often need help from a speech therapist to get back to their previous level of speaking. There’s no reason this can’t be done at home.
  • Light housekeeping – Some elderly people – even those in good general health – may need some extra help around the house with dusting, vacuuming, etc. Many home health agencies offer this service. Some also offer outdoor help such as lawn mowing and raking.
  • Dinner service – Some agencies offer meal preparation – usually for one or two meals a day. Another option is Meals on Wheels, available in many communities, where a volunteer delivers the Big Meal of the day.
  • Companionship – Many times an agency will offer the services of a volunteer who can come in to spend time with the “patient” or spouse. They can provide emotional support, or help with tasks such as writing a letter or reading the paper or favorite book. Volunteers can also provide a much-needed break for the regular live-in caregiver or spouse.
  • Hospice services – If and when someone is reaching the end of life, hospice services are often provided in the person’s home. These usually include all of the above, plus visits by a social worker and chaplain.

Long-term care may be the best choice for seniors who live alone or who need a great deal of care. But for those with minimal needs and family support, home care services are a great way to remain independent while still getting the help they need.