What Should I Know About Home Care?

December 31, 2020 by Katie Davis

Home Care Services - what do I need to know?

When considering home care for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to do some preparation first. Home care is an umbrella term which can describe a variety of services you may receive at home. The first step in researching home care services is to better understand what people mean when they use the term.

North Carolina defines it in this way… “Home care includes a category of services which are provided to an individual in a place of temporary or permanent residence used as an individual’s home.

Home care services include:  Nursing Services and Duties, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Medical Social Work Services, In-Home Aide Services, Infusion Nursing Services, Companion Services, Sitter Services, Respite Services, Clinical Respiratory Services and Home Medical Equipment and Supplies.”

When Do I Use Home Care Services?

In our experience, it is most common for people to engage home care services for two reasons: 

  1. They are returning home from the hospital after an injury or surgery.
  2. They notice a loved one needs a bit of additional support or companionship at home.

Like many other senior care services, most older adults do not engage home care services unless they note a significant decline in their health.

In most cases, your treating physician or the hospitalist rounding on your loved one at the acute care facility they are located in will order and recommend various home care services. As an alternative, they may suggest your loved one go to a skilled nursing facility for additional care. Because of client preference, physicians and insurance providers are encouraging rehabilitative and home health services instead of skilled nursing facilities when appropriate.

In North Carolina, a physician MUST order home health nursing services and rehabilitation before the certified home health agency can begin care. But a physician need not order non-certified home health care, like companionship and sitter services. You will contract directly with the agency for those services.

For more information on the difference between home health and home care services, visit our blog on the topic here. 

What Can I Expect When Someone Comes Into My Home?

Regardless of what care services you use, you or your loved one will need to adjust to someone coming into your home. To set yourself up for success, it’s important to set your own and your loved one’s expectations around the initial onboarding. It will take a bit of time to become more comfortable with caregivers being in your private space. 

How much time? Our experience tells us it can take about 90 days for everyone to feel comfortable. Sticking to a schedule and giving your caregivers plenty of notice if you need to re-schedule also helps the transition go more smoothly.

Another important thing you can do is to encourage frequent and open communication with your home caregivers. If there are certain rooms you prefer they not enter, let them know. If you have valuables or jewelry you’d like to secure, buy a small safe for yourself or your loved one.

You should also ensure the agency’s caregivers are licensed and bonded against theft. In the very unlikely event something goes missing, you have recourse.

Finally, be patient with your caregivers as they get to know you. But if there is a irreconcilible personality or scheduling conflict, be sure to let the appropriate person know. They will promptly address the situation.

How Much Will It Cost?

Non-medical home care services are typically scheduled by the hour. The cost for this type of service is anywhere from $22 – $25 per hour in the greater Charlotte area. Many agencies will have minimum hourly requirements and also offer different (better) hourly rates for live-in caregivers.

Alternatively, if a doctor orders home health care services for you, those services are likely covered by your Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan.

Be sure to ask lots of questions about billing so there are no surprises as the care begins.

Like most types of senior care, selecting home care services for yourself or a loved one requires a healthy amount of research. And an ongoing commitment to manage that care. Many people use CarePods for that reason. We help individuals and their loved ones find, schedule and oversee home care agencies as needed. Most families find that extra layer of support comforting and valuable during an already stressful time.

If you’re in need of affordable senior care in the greater Charlotte areagive us a call today!


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