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An Alternative to Institutional Care

Posted October 31, 2012 in Advice Column, Urbandale, West Des Moines

Home care is an excellent cost-effective alternative to institutional care.

Home care encompasses a broad spectrum of health and social services, delivered to recovering, disabled or chronically ill persons in their own homes. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer home care delivered services to institutional care because it keeps families together, supports independence and is significantly less expensive.

Home care is paid for by a variety of sources. They include:

•    Patient/private pay: Home care services can be personally paid.  The scope of services and the charges are negotiated between the client and the agency.  Services can include medical, non- medical and perhaps concierge offerings.

•    Private health insurance. Policy coverage varies. Generally private insurance coverage is limited to physician-directed medical services and equipment.

•    Medicare. The person receiving services must be under a doctor’s care, homebound and in need of part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care or eligible therapy services. Eligible clients may receive a range of services which include skilled nursing, home health aide, speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy, medical social work and medical supplies or equipment. Home bound does not mean that the person is confined to his or her home or is bedridden. It means that it’s a considerable taxing effort to leave the home to receive health care treatment. Absences from the home are infrequent and relatively short in nature.

•    Medicaid. This assistance program provides services similar to Medicare for low-income people. No prior hospitalization or “skilled” level of service is required to qualify. Individuals do not need to be home bound.  Under Medicaid, home care services may be provided under the following waivers: Elderly Waiver, Ill and Handicapped Waiver, Physical Disability Waiver, Intellectually Disabled Waiver and the AIDS Waiver.

Other funding sources include Magellan, VA, Social Service Block Grants, Older Americans Act, Worker’s Compensation, Health Maintenance Organizations and Champus.

If you are considering home health services for yourself or a loved one, help is a phone call away. Contact a home care agency and request a complimentary in home health assessment. A registered nurse will come to your home, complete a thorough assessment and develop a customized care plan to help you stay safely in your home as long as possible. He or she will help determine which resources you have available and will contact your physician for orders if necessary.

Information provided by Becky Rinke, RN, BSN, COS-C, Iowa Home Care, Director of Clinical Services, 515-222-9995.





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