This month I want to continue the discussion about family caregivers and the resources available to support families in the task of caring for a loved one.
Last month I touched on two resources: Home Health Care and Home Nursing. As always, I strive to work with experts who can shed the most valuable light on the subject and provide vital information to those who need it most.
To gather basic home care information, I spoke to Weama Kassem, CEO of Synergy Home Care in Oklahoma, and Vicki Crafton, Director of Nursing, about the differences between home nursing and home care.
One of the most notable differences between the two options for needy families is that home care always requires a doctor’s prescription, while home care is a service that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without a doctor’s prescription. Home health care has a limited time frame for providing care and may be reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. However, home care can be covered by veterans’ benefits, some long-term care insurance plans (be sure to check your policy), and private payments.
Home nursing is short-term help that a doctor will usually prescribe for a qualified nurse to come to your home to provide wound care, various therapies, or immediate home care after surgery. It is important to realize that while home nursing is not a long-term form of support from a qualified nurse, it is possible to receive both home nursing and home care at the same time if needed.
Digging deeper into home care, Kassem shared that awareness of the need for home care began about 20 years ago, but has become an increasingly popular need over the past 10 years. Kassem founded Synergy Home Care’s Oklahoma office in April 2013 and is blessed to have Crafton on her team. Crafton said Synergy Home Care provides long-term care for those who need their services. In addition, all of Synergy Home Care’s employed nurses are licensed nurses who are certified in the state of Oklahoma. Make sure you ask each home care business if they use W-9 staff or contract workers. W-9 employees are bound by that company’s home care policies, while contract workers work for themselves.
After contacting a home care company, Crafton, a home care expert, said a home assessment is conducted to determine the patient’s needs. Eligible customers can range from a bedridden patient who needs 24-hour care to someone who needs to be driven to the seniors’ center three times a week. Home care provides home care for the elderly and also provides services to independent or assisted living communities, hospitals, and family caregivers. They can assist you or your loved one with daily activities, including but not limited to companionship, personal hygiene, light housekeeping, medication reminders, meal prep, accompanying you on shopping and errands, and respite care.
Respite care is the short-term relief of primary caregivers. It is a highly recommended service that all caregivers should consider using on a periodic basis. These services allow the caregiver to rest, recover, and refresh on a regular basis. Respite care can be obtained free of charge for caregivers across the state of Oklahoma by calling Terry Mulkey at the Oklahoma Aging Services Administrative Office at 405-321-3200.
With any home care business, it’s important to know that they provide you with a “Family Connect” system. It allows involved family members to read notes or updates posted by caregivers. You can view the staff rotation schedule and also send messages to the office with any questions or concerns. This makes families feel more involved. Home care can often provide services to about 30 communities and 70-90 patients per month. If you contact a home care company, a qualified caregiver can be available for on-call care within two hours as there is no waiting list. Home care can also work with the hospice and continue with the required services in which they specialize.
Most home care businesses have offices across the state of Oklahoma and are open 24 hours a day. If you need help caring for a family member, I strongly encourage you to contact home care, home nursing and hospice for guidance on caring for your loved one. These remarkable and effective services can relieve you and other family members.
Robin Gunn is the owner of the Oklahoma Senior Journal. She can be reached at [email protected]