Home Care Explained – Everything You Need to Know About Home Care

Homecare – Who needs it?

Everyone needs care at some point in their lives; from little babies to centenarians and everyone in between. Most of the time when we need care, our families and friends provide it. However some people require more care than family and friends are able to provide. Often in these instances the person requiring the care (care recipient) may be a new mother, have a disability, be frail aged, have a severe illness or a mental health issue. Depending on the needs of the person, particular home care supports will be put in place to assist them to live or manage at home. Many people who receive home care would need to live in a nursing home, hospital or institution if that support was not available. Other terms such as ‘home health care’ and ‘domiciliary care’ are often used interchangeably with home care – but can refer also to care provided by a health professional.

Homecare – What is it?

There is a wide range of services and supports that fall under the banner of home care. In short, the type of care provided is what the person is unable to do for themselves. Listed below are some of the main ones with a brief description:

Personal Care – Refers to all care that addresses the personal hygiene of the care recipient. Personal care support can include; assistance to shower or bath, to dress, to use the toilet, to change continence aids, to shave, apply lotions and cosmetics, brush hair and brush teeth.
Domestic Assistance – refers to all housekeeping and cleaning tasks. Services can include; cleaning the house, doing the dishes and laundry.
Transportation– This can be driving the person to appointments and can also include accompanying them if required.
Shopping– This can involve driving the person to the store and assisting them to do their own shopping, or the home care worker can do the shopping with a list.
Respite– This type of support involves remaining with the care recipient while the usual carer has a break.
Nursing Care– refers to the home care that needs to be provided by a registered nurse. Can include: medication monitoring, wound dressing, injections and nursing assessments.
Case management – Case management involves a comprehensive assessment and the development of a care plan in conjunction with a case manager. Case management can be short or long term depending on the needs and requirements of the care recipient.
Social Support – refers to services that focus of the social needs of the client. This type of service can include companionship, visiting and community access.

Homecare – Who pays?

Depending on the country you live in there may be government funded programs that assist in paying home care costs. Some health insurance can cover some of these costs – check with your insurer for more information.

There is also a wide variety of home care agencies that can provide you with a home care worker for a fee.

Homecare – Who provides it?

In most instances friends and family of the care recipient are able to provide them with home care. However in those cases where family and friends cannot do so, or where the care recipient prefers; a professional care giver will provide the care. Professional care givers can also be referred to as: support workers, carers, community workers, personal care aides and assistants and nursing assistants. The terminology will vary between countries. The level of skill and qualifications required for professional care work will also vary depending on country. It’s best to check with your care provider to find out the minimum requirements in your area.

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