Provided by Axxess Blog
“I continue to hear from people that had they known about home care, they would have made different choices.” –Merrily Orsini, president and CEO of corecubed
Most consumers may not become aware of care services available in the home and the benefits they can provide until they are struggling to find a solution for an elderly relative needing assistance. Family caregivers end up handling a work-life-care balance between caring for loved ones, working and attending to their own families. According to research done by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute, more than 34.2 million Americans serve as family caregivers for someone age 50 or older.
The report goes on to state that more than 60 percent of family caregivers must make work adjustments such as cutting back hours, turning down promotions, leaving work early and even losing job benefits. The productivity loss to American businesses is estimated to be as high as $34 billion annually, according to a MetLife Mature Market Institute and NAC study done in 2006.
“The Invisible Workforce,” an article by Lisa Marshall in WebMD, mentions that six out of 10 family caregivers admit exercising less and eating worse after starting to care for a loved one. Four of 10 said caregiving put financial strain on their families, and nearly 75 percent neglected to visit the doctors themselves.
Many families, unaware of the benefits of home care services and the coverage available through Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs and other private insurances, will plan on moving their loved one to a nursing home. In fact, Home Instead Senior Care and The Boomer project found that nearly half of family caregivers overestimate the cost of home care. A 2015 Genworth survey shows that the annual average of a semi-private nursing home room can cost around $80,000, while in-home care services average around half of that at $45,000 (assuming an average of 44 hours of care per week).
Home healthcare and home care have proven to bring quality care to the home, and people should consider these services to bring balance back for their family members and themselves. “Caring for America’s Seniors: The Value of Home Care,” by the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) and the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) found that family caregivers using home care services report better overall health, ability to hold jobs, less financial strain, and fewer lost wages than those without home care services.
With the advent of technology, the level of care available in the home is similar to that available in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities. Machines and tools that were once only available at hospitals or facilities have been fitted for home use. Homes can easily be customized based on client needs, from adding handrails and lifts to ramps and special beds. Physicians are now communicating with patients via telehealth, and nurses and caregivers are mobile with their documentation at the tips of their fingers via software and mobile applications.
Home care and home healthcare allow people to age in place, and enjoy the comfort and familiarity of their home and family surroundings, which naturally provide a better quality of life. A close family friend with multiple sclerosis was receiving skilled care at home and shared how much she disliked the care she had received in a facility, from the boring food to missing her family and cat. At home, she could control the temperature of her room, be surrounded by memorabilia, watch politics on TV when she wanted, and join her family members for meals and special occasions.
Nurses and caregivers are matched with clients based on their expertise and the clients’ specific care needs. Often times, they develop friendships with their clients due to the continuous care that they provide, in comparison to the uncertainty and impersonal nature of care that clients may meet in a facility with rotating employees. This is also true for pediatric patients. I had an opportunity to observe a routine pediatric nursing visit. During the visit, the nurse would say things like “She loves wearing these boots,” “This is her favorite toy,” and “She doesn’t like when you don’t include her in the conversation.” Her ability to predict and tune in to the patient’s needs were indicative of their close relationship.
By receiving personalized service in the comfort of their home, seniors using paid in-home care report 25 percent fewer doctor visits a year, as noted in the 2016 report by HCAOA and GCOA. While visiting a local memory care facility for seniors, I found out that all the week’s activities had been cancelled and clients were quarantined to their rooms. This was at the height of flu season where a resident contracted the flu and ended up spreading it to many other residents within a matter of days.
Clients with in-home care are not exposed to facility surroundings that may have other sick patients. And with their familiar surroundings, clients are less likely to fall. Falls are a leading cause of injury death, and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Home healthcare and home care can help keep clients healthier, less emotionally stressed and socially engaged, slowing and preventing illness and injury that lead to hospital admission. Frank Lichtenberg, a professor of business at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, conducted a study which estimated that the United States saved as much as $25 billion in hospital costs in 2008 alone due to the growth of home care services during the previous decade.
To conclude, consumers should certainly explore in-home solutions for their current or future care needs. With the quality of care matching or exceeding that of care in a facility, and at just a portion of what it costs in a facility, home care and home healthcare make caring for loved ones much easier. In addition to all these benefits, the amount of jobs created by the industry and the taxpayer dollars being saved, home care and home healthcare are something we should all be advocating for our future.