Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Connecticut

What is Home Care?

Home Care is a service to recovering, disabled or chronically ill persons who need medical treatment and/or assistance with the activities of daily living. Generally it is appropriate whenever a person requires care that cannot easily or effectively be provided by family or friends.

Home care provides services to persons of all ages and includes preventive, acute, subacute, rehabilitative, and long-term care. Services range from simple assistance in activities of daily living to high-tech IV therapy.

In Connecticut, there are three major categories of home care provided through licensed Home Health Agencies:

Home Health

Provides skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical social work, speech/language pathology, respiratory therapy, and personal care services, in accordance with a physician authorized plan of care. Where only personal care services are delivered, unlicensed personnel may be utilized, under the supervision of an RN, and physician's orders are not required. Agencies may be "licensed and certified" (meet Medicare standards and must be utilized for this payor source) or "licensed" (meet state standards of care and may be utilized for other payor sources).

Hospice

Provides a coordinated program of palliative care to terminally ill patients, and supportive services to patients, their families and significant others, in both home and facility settings, through a physician-directed plan of care. Specialized services include medical, nursing, home health aide, social services, spiritual care, bereavement services, volunteer services, and other appropriate counseling services. The hospice philosophy of care provides support for persons in the last phases of incurable illness so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible. Hospice care seeks to enable patients to lead an alert, pain-free life and to manage symptoms so that their last days may be spent at home or in a home-like setting.

Personal Assistance Services

Provides routine, ongoing care or services required by an individual in a residence or independent living environment that enable the individual to engage in the activities of daily living or to perform the physical functions required for independent living, including respite services. Personal care (feeding, transferring, toileting, ambulation and exercise, bathing, dressing, grooming, routine care of hair and skin, meal preparation, and assistance with medications normally self-administered) may be provided by unlicensed personnel without nursing supervision. Respite care is short-term temporary relief for caregivers and is available under the most appropriate category of care to meet the needs of the client and caregivers.

Who Uses Home Care?

Persons discharged from the hospital who are not fully recovered. Persons with chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or stroke that requires frequent monitoring and can no longer meet their needs alone. Persons with a terminal disease, such as cancer or AIDS, who need personal care, pain management, and emotional support. Persons with limited mobility who need assistance with activities of daily living. Families who need respite from caregiving and emotional support in dealing with a loved one who needs special care. A child with special life-sustaining equipment who can thrive at home and school with nursing support.

Why Use Home Care?

Who Pays for Home Care?

Home care is paid for through a variety of private and public sources, or directly by the patient and/or his or her family members. Private third party payors include commercial health insurance companies and managed care organizations. Public third-party payors include Medicare, Medicaid, and other community or state administered programs.

How Do I Choose a Home Care Provider?

Finding the best home care provider for your needs requires a little research, but it is time well spent. You have the right to choose any home care provider who is qualified to provide the services you need, although that choice may be restricted somewhat if you are enrolled in a managed care plan (such as a Medicare HMO). Here are some questions to consider when deciding which home care provider is best for you.

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