Ok, so if you Google Home Care you’re going to get a WHOLE BUNCH of stuff that all sounds the same, but it isn’t. So let’s break it apart into separate buckets so you can better manage those Google results or any other resources you may be exploring. Because each category is its own mini-topic, we’ve broken it into
- Non-Medical – Homemaker/Companion and Personal Care (below)
- Medical – Home Health and Hospice Care (next post)
Homemaker and Companionship Care
Often the first type of home care that people access is what’s known as homemaker and companionship care. This is the kind of care a senior needs when he/she can no longer take care of things around the house, or may not be able to drive to run errands, or may simply be isolated or in early stages of dementia, and need a companion.
This type of care does not require a certified or licensed caregiver as companions/homemakers are legally not allowed to physically engage with the person receiving care (like lifting them, helping them to bathe, helping them to dress, etc.). These caregivers are also not allowed to administer any medications or engage in ANY medical tasks at all.
Personal Care is primarily what our company, Avail Home Care, provides, although we can also provide homemaker and companion care, and can also provide skilled nursing care, depending on the situation. I know…we are only TWO options in and it’s already getting confusing. Hang in there with me, Imma get you to clarity, I promise.
Personal care is what’s needed when a senior does need PHYSICAL help and/or safety supervision.
The caregivers assist in what are called “activities of daily living” or ADLs. These include:
- transferring – which is physical movement such as bed to chair, into and out of cars, into out and out of the shower, and onto a toilet, for example.
Notice that these are not true “medical” needs like wound care or physical therapy. And yet, if a spouse or parent cannot safely take a shower, this is a real, serious need. It’s not a joke.
FALL PREVENTION is truly a very important aspect of personal care as we know that a fall can lead to hospitalization and the exposure to the hospital increases the risk of infection as well as decline from other forces like stress. Avoiding a fall and the hospital visit is an important part of staying well.
In addition, the caregivers are there to keep the senior safe overall so, for example, they may be physically well but have dementia and be at risk of harming themselves or wandering off if they don’t have supervision.
Finally, these caregivers, if properly trained and certificated, may engage in medication assistance, which generally means making sure the senior is taking the right things at the right times, and at times, helping (hand over hand so it’s never just the caregiver themselves) opening bottles or containers so that the senior can access medications when needed.
Because of the more high-stakes nature of this kind of care, the caregivers who provide personal care services are legally required to be trained, certificated (as in the case of home health aides – HHAs), and/or licensed (as in the case of certified nurses assistants – CNAs). It’s important that a company be providing a person with this level of training and experience when true personal care is needed.
It’s a Relationship!
The last important thing to consider about personal care is that this is likely to be a longer-term relationship than the medical care we will address in the next post because the conditions the senior has are not short-term, they are chronic.
Placement of a suitable caregiver who not only has the right qualifications but is also a good energy and personality match for the senior is very important.