Home care is medical care or personal support provided by an individual caregiver in the patient's home, rather than care given in nursing homes or clinics as in-house care. Home care is also sometimes referred to as domiciliary care, public health care or personal care. It can be offered by anyone who cares for the patient. Family members, friends, and extended family are some of the most frequent clients.

     Home care services are voluntary, meaning that the client may refuse participation in home care services. The patient and/or family member can provide information about his/her condition, recovery, medication needs and any special needs. The caregiver will also be assessed by his treating doctor to determine the best medical course of action for his health and well being. If the assessment determines that home care services would be of benefit to the individual, the client would make an application to his local agency for a caregiver to accept as a responsible member of the family.

    There is an ongoing national average of in-house caregivers per patient served by hospitals and other long term care facilities. Based on the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Consumer Expenditure Statistics (CES), the average cost of care in 2021 was $6,711 per year for in-home caregivers. The national average in this category is slightly higher than the overall national average because some of the states differ in their laws regarding home health aides compensation. In general, however, most states require licensed, registered and certified nurses to provide direct patient care and the direct patient care that takes the place of a caregiver. The national average is about five times higher than the in-house caregiver average.

     Some research indicates that about one-third of the American population over age 65 do not live with a caregiver. In the past, there were few options for seniors who needed extra assistance, but that has changed. Thanks to technological advances, elderly patients who require in-home caregiver services can now live independently for many years. For those seniors who are interested in living independently, but do not wish to be a caregiver, there are other options available to them.

     A good fit for most seniors is someone who can communicate and help them with their everyday activities. It is also important that they be physically capable to perform some of the tasks necessary to maintain independence. Because they live so long, most seniors are in need of a caregiver who is mobile and capable. This means someone who can get around and do the things that seniors typically do without assistance. A typical assessment at a home care agency will determine if a service provider is a good fit for a senior based on whether they meet the following functional abilities: having consistent access to transportation, performing fine manual tasks, remembering what activities they need to do and remembering new information, moving comfortably in bed, holding a conversation, and caring for self-care needs like grooming and bathing.

     Home care services for older adults may be just what your family or you need. There are a number of agencies nationwide that offer senior in-home care services and can give you a more in-depth evaluation. If you are looking for a better option, you can find it by checking out the services offered by agencies nationwide. You can also ask your doctor for more information regarding the benefits of home health care and elderly independence. Armed with this information, you should be able to make an informed decision about the best match for your family member.

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