As we age, we require more and more healthcare options and availability to us. Some people need to move into facilities where they can get round-the-clock care. Or sometimes, people need temporary care while rehabilitating from an injury or surgery.
Whether people want to maintain independence and receive care in their own home or can’t afford to move into a costly assisted living facility, at-home healthcare is often an ideal situation for their needs.
At Pops, we deal very closely with people who have chronic conditions (diabetes, for one) and require at-home healthcare for their ongoing treatment or management of their disease. However, the requirements, cost, and options of at-home healthcare can change year by year, leaving many confused with how they go about getting such care.
Luckily, we’re going through all of that and more in a guide for all things home healthcare. This guide will list the benefits, pros and cons, and recent advancements in-home healthcare that can help alleviate a lot of that burden on caretakers and family members.
What Is Home Health Care?
Home healthcare is a type of care that allows people to receive in-home services for their medical needs. This kind of care can include skilled nursing, physical therapy, home health aides, and more. The type of care received depends on the patient’s current condition and what they require assistance with. Some care you might see include:
- Help bathing and grooming
- Getting dressed and ready for the day
- Help using the bathroom
- Assistance with eating and drinking
- Managing medications, both prescription and over-the-counter
- Keeping track of vitals (weight, blood pressure, temperature)
- Care coordination
- Basis housework and assistance getting around
That’s not all home healthcare can offer, but it’s a good start. Again, home healthcare might be temporary or long-term to the point of end-of-life care. Either way, it benefits many people who don’t have the option of going to a facility for one reason or another.
People Who Benefit From Home Healthcare
At-home healthcare is not always for elderly individuals who need assistance getting around. There are many people who benefit from home healthcare. This can include:
- People who are recently discharged from the hospital and need continued care at home
- People with a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment, such as diabetes or heart disease
- People who are recovering from surgery or an illness and need assistance with daily activities
- Elderly individuals who want to stay in their own homes but require some level of assistance
- Parents who are caring for a child with a chronic illness
- People with disabilities
The Pros and Cons of Home Healthcare
Like anything, there are pros and cons to home healthcare. Some people might find the following benefits:
- They can receive care in their own home, which is less stressful than a hospital or nursing home setting.
- They can maintain their independence for as long as possible.
- They can have a more personal relationship with their care provider because they are coming to your home and working one-on-one with you.
- They can stay in an environment that is familiar, comfortable, and safe.
- There’s less of a risk of infection because there isn’t exposure to other people and illnesses like in a hospital setting.
However, there are some cons to home healthcare:
- The care received in the home may not be as extensive or sophisticated as that of a nursing facility or hospital. Home healthcare aides won’t have the same equipment they would at an institution, limiting their ability to treat patients with more severe conditions.
- Home healthcare is not always covered by insurance, and it can be pretty expensive, depending on what services are needed.
It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of home healthcare before deciding if this type of care is right for you or a loved one.
Types of Home Health Care Options
There isn’t always a one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare in the home. Just like people have widely varied needs and levels of care required, there are also different roles or levels of expertise required for the caretakers. For people with minor care needs, one may need one of the following types of people for their treatment.
- Nursing assistant: A nursing assistant is someone who has been certified to provide basic care to patients, such as help with bathing, dressing, and grooming. They may also manage a patient’s medications and keep track of their vitals.
- Home health aide: A home health aide provides more extensive assistance than a nursing assistant and can help with activities such as cooking, cleaning, and transportation.
- Registered nurse: A registered nurse is a licensed healthcare professional who can diagnose, treat, and manage care for patients. They may also oversee home health aides and nursing assistants in providing patient care.
It might be necessary for people with more complex needs or those requiring ongoing medical attention to have one of the following people or care teams handling their care.
- Physician: A physician is a doctor who can provide medical care to patients and manage their treatment.
- Clinical nurse specialist: A clinical nurse specialist is a registered nurse with additional training in a specific area of nursing, such as surgery or pediatrics. They can provide specialized care to patients and assist with diagnosis and treatment.
- Case manager: A case manager is a professional who coordinates care for patients and their families. They work with physicians, nurses, home health aides, and other caregivers to ensure all the patient’s needs are being met.
- Physical therapist: A therapist can provide physical or occupational therapy to patients in their homes. They can help with exercises, mobility issues, and adapting to their new lifestyle.
How Much Does Healthcare at Home Cost?
Contrary to popular belief, home healthcare is half as costly as a Nursing Home or specialty facility. The Genworth Cost-of-Care Study places a nursing home cost close to $9,000 and a Home Health Aide closer to $5,000.
But this cost can vary greatly depending on the state you live in and the level and hours of care required. Also, most often, in-home healthcare aids charge by an hourly rate vs. salary because the needs or requirements can change quickly, and an hourly rate can allow for this flexibility.
The Cost of In-Home Healthcare (Fast Facts)
- The median cost as of 2020 is around $24/hour
- The monthly median cost of full-time (40 hrs/wk) healthcare treatment at home is around $4,500
- The cost of in-home care varies significantly by location, licensing, and level of care needed
- The most expensive states for in-home healthcare are Washington ($31/hr), Minnesota ($30/hr), and California ($29/hr)
- The least expensive states for in-home healthcare are Louisiana ($17/hr), Alabama ($18/hr), and Mississippi ($18/hr)
- If 24/7 in-home care is required, the cost goes up considerably. The median cost of 720 hours of round-the-clock care is $17,000+ per month.
- Some standard packages for in-home care call for 7 hours, 15 hours, 30 hours, or 44 hours of care in one week. The costs go up, obviously, for more hours. Some shifts call for an overnight worker which can add on fees up to $150/night.
Recent Advancements in Home Healthcare
There have been tremendous leaps in technology that have allowed home healthcare to be better than ever in recent years. And with the experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers have shifted to more remote or virtual options which can maintain seamless care, whether in person or not. Some recent advancements in-home healthcare include:
Remote patient monitoring:This technology allows healthcare providers to monitor a patient’s health from a distance. This can include things like checking vitals, tracking medication adherence, and even seeing how the patient is sleeping. Remote patient monitoring has been utilized for people with diabetes who can quickly and easily send their glucose monitor results to their provider within seconds.
Robotic assistants: There has been an increase in theuse of robotic assistants in home healthcare. These robots can help with health monitoring, providing medication, preventative healthcare, or even providing companionship and domestic independence.
Virtual care: With theincrease of telehealth services, there has been a rise in virtual care options for patients. This can include video visits with doctors, nurses, or other specialists. Patients can even get devices thatautomatically dispense medication at the appropriate time.
What to Consider When Choosing Home Healthcare
There are many things to consider when choosing home healthcare. The most important factors are the level of care required, the patient’s location, and the family’s budget.
Other things to keep in mind include:
- The type of illness or injury
- The hours of care needed
- The type of services offered
- Care for pets
- The family’s location
No matter what, the biggest thing to ensure is that you or your loved one is getting the absolute best care they deserve. While people with diabetes may not always require advanced in-home healthcare, Pops Diabetes remains an excellent resource for anyone seeking more and better options for their care. If you have any questions about how to get the best diabetes care at home and on the go,reach out to us today!