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Top Ten Things to Consider When Choosing Home Health Care:

(NAPSI)-Whatever your age, here’s something you may find intriguing: Today, baby boomers comprise about 30 percent of the U.S. population, and more than one-third of them are caring for an older parent, according to AARP. In addition, a recent survey showed that two-thirds of boomers have children under the age of 18 living in their households. As this so-called “sandwich” generation continues to age, private home health care is increasingly important for the health and well-being of all three generations.

What To Expect

Home health care is a way for people to enjoy living at home safely rather than end up in residential, long-term, or institutional-based nursing care, while allowing them to maintain their independence and dignity. Care workers may visit the patient’s home to help with daily tasks such as going to bed, dressing, personal hygiene, some household tasks, shopping, cooking, and supervision of medication, as well as accompanying their clients to doctors’ appointments. Workers typically visit the home on a schedule determined in part by a licensed physician and in part by the patient’s needs. Visits range from a few hours per day on a few days per week to round-the-clock attendance.

What To Look For

According to Partners in Care, when selecting someone to provide care for you or your family at home, look for the following:

• Credibility, trustworthiness and compassion;

• A caregiver that fits the patient’s medical needs, personality,and interests;

• Fluency in the patient’s own language.

In addition, the home health care agency should measure your satisfaction on a regular basis to ensure that services are upgraded to meet your needs. Health care professionals most often involved are nurses, followed by physical therapists and home care aides. Other health care providers include respiratory and occupational therapists, medical social workers, and mental health workers. In the U.S., home health care is generally paid for by private health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, or directly by the patient or family.

What To Ask

To ensure the highest level of care, ask the following questions of a prospective home care provider before making a final decision:

1. What types of services do you provide and how quickly can you provide them?

2. Is the agency or individual licensed and insured, and by whom?

3. Are the home health aides screened, and in what manner?

4. What kind of professional training have your aides received? How many hours? Do they receive advanced courses?

5. What kind of health care team support do your aides receive?

6. If my aide calls in sick, needs time off, or just doesn’t show up, how quickly can you provide a fully qualified and screened replacement?

7. Do you provide 24/7 live clinical support in case of an emergency?

8. Are your aides trained to be sensitive to the unique cultural, ethnic, personality, personal care, and personal interest needs of the patient?

9. What controls and systems do you have in place to monitor and prevent theft and abuse?

10. Will your agency help me navigate payment options and continuity of care, especially in a situation that may involve a mix of Medicare, private insurance, and private pay?

Dealing with declining health is never an easy task, but knowing that licensed, skilled health care professionals are caring for your loved ones can bring much-needed peace of mind.

What To Do To Learn More

For more information and answers to these questions, contact Partners in Care at (888) 943-8435 or on the Web at http://www.partnersincareny.org.

Home health care can be a vital tool for people who want to enjoy living at home safely.

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