The Importance of Planning for Home Care

by Eileen Martínez, Community Liaison for ComForCare

Gazette readers, I hope you are all well and settling into our crisp Autumn days and, frankly, cold nights. Some of our clients are spending their time at Yates Cider Mill or can be found at OPC, while others are planning for the holidays ahead and shopping at the Village.

Speaking of planning, it is always a good habit to develop and one that we should all consider sooner rather than later when it comes to Home Care. Allowing yourself time to research all your options before you need Home Care will allow you to put your plan in place when, and if, you need it.

Last we spoke, I shared with you the difference between Home Health Care and Home Care. Home Health Care addresses medical issues and is usually paid for through Medicare, Medicaid or private health insurance. Private Duty Home Care helps clients remain safely in their homes while assisting clients with the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), and is paid for by Long-Term Care Insurance, Veteran’s Pension, Catastrophic Auto Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, Reverse Mortgage, Medicaid, or Family Funds.

When planning for Home Care, consider the scenario of a scheduled surgery that would require you having assistance while you rehabilitate. Or if something happened that left you incapacitated, what plan will you have for when you return home?

Another scenario to consider is that in order to remain in your home safely, it might be best to bring in a caregiver. Ask yourself if you need help with getting in and out of bed. Do you need assistance with bathing safely or getting dressed? What about your medication? Are you taking the right medications, the right dose and at the right time? As for medical appointments, are you able to get yourself to appointments safely and are you keeping up with both medical appointments and social outings? Are you getting to the grocery store to buy fresh produce and are you then able to safely prepare healthy meals? Are you overwhelmed with housekeeping, the laundry and other chores that were once easy routines that you kept pace with?

If you decide that Home Care is a viable option for you, you need to decide which option is right for you. You have three choices: full-service home care agencies, a caregiver registry, and private hire caregivers.

Full-service home care agency caregivers are employees, which means the agency takes care of all legal and administrative tasks including payroll taxes, insurance, and worker’s compensation claims. Most full-service agencies are insured and bonded.

Caregiver registries are similar to staffing agencies – they will help you find a caregiver and collect a referral fee when a match is made. Registries typically do not employ caregivers.

Private hire, also known as independent caregivers, are just that – independent. You are the employer and you are responsible for all background checks, payroll taxes, insurance and more.

Whichever you decide is best for you, be sure to vet the agency, the registry, or the private hire thoroughly. Agencies should be able to provide proof of insurance and they should be doing, at minimum, background checks and drug testing. They should also be insured and bonded in order to protect you from any loses you may experience due to an injury sustained by a caregiver in your home or while transporting you in the line of duty, and to protect your property.

The nice thing about planning is that you free yourself of worries, you are prepared for the unexpected, and you can focus on resting and healing should you need to implement your plan for Home Care. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true with planning who is going to help you live your best life possible while staying safely in your home.

Eileen Martínez is a Community Liaison for ComForCare – North Oakland County, located at 2708 S Rochester Rd in Rochester Hills. You can call 248-623-6500, email Eileen.martinez@comforcare.com or visit comforcare.com/mi/northoakland/ to learn more.