Haims: Home care? It’s probably not what you envision

Personal home care has changed substantially over time. If you hear the words “home care” and envision a service that is all about taking care of the frail, very old, and very sick, your perception may be quite limited.

Yes, home care providers do assist the frail, old, and very sick, but they provide so much more. Today’s home care providers assist both young and old after surgical procedures. Some providers are licensed to drive clients to physical therapy, doctor appointments, and general errands. Some even provide caregivers that can take clients flyfishing, hiking, skiing, and to visit friends and family for social events. Home care providers nowadays are more like personal assistants that offer people the ability to live the life they choose — in the comfort of their own home. 

Hiring a home care provider does not mean that you or your loved one is incapable of managing your independence. Nor does it mean that it is adult babysitting. Such perceptions could not be further from the truth. A good provider focuses on building a strong and personal relationship with their clients. They advocate for their clients and create environments of trust, offer compassion, and provide the assistance needed to live functional and independent lives. A good home care provider assists both the client and their families. And, when family is not nearby to help and provide support, home care providers are there step in and take away worry and concerns.

Families and spouses have some tough decisions to make when they have a loved one who is struggling to manage their daily tasks or live safely on their own. Aging loved ones may be finding it harder and harder to do everyday things that used to be done effortlessly. Perhaps there are some physical health situations emerging which limited mobility, making housekeeping or errands difficult or impossible. Early Alzheimer’s symptoms may present challenges, medication needs may need to be managed, and safety issues may emerge.

Should a family choose an assisted living facility or home care? It is a difficult decision, and sometimes moving away to an assisted living facility with full-time care is necessary for the health and safety of the individual. However, unless someone needs full-time supervision or medical care, home care is an excellent alternative — especially if the individual would be happier remaining in their home.

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COVID-19 has posed dramatic challenges to the health care arena as a whole. Due to this pandemic, many changes have needed to be made to the delivery of care. Some changes include the utilization and implementation of telehealth, increased occurrences of homebound patients, and implementation of personal protective equipment. 

Locally, some medical providers have implemented the use of telehealth services to expand access to essential medical services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth is changing the landscape, triage, and evaluation of medical needs and services. While telehealth is not new, the proliferation of its use these past months has been impressive.

In effort to minimize people’s potential exposure to COVID-19, medical providers across the country are utilizing the assistance of home care providers to ease stresses on the health care system. Such partnerships are proving to lessen unnecessary hospital admissions and readmissions, free up hospital beds, assist medical providers with oversight, gain a better understanding of potential red-flag signs that may indicate the onset of problems.

With the use of PPE like masks, gowns and gloves, in addition to proper training, some home care providers can assist recovering COVID-19 patients who are stable enough to be discharged after a hospital stays. These home care agencies are often able to assist in the oversight of respiratory concerns and underlying medical conditions that may not need to be managed in the hospital environment. 

The quality of one’s life depends on the quality and access of care available to them. If COVID-19 has altered the way you or your loved ones go about the day or has caused challenges to accessing medical care, you should look into a home care provider. A quality provider will help maintain familiar routines as much as possible and ease the process of adapting to sudden necessary changes.

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