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The Basics of Hiring In-Home Caregivers

An article in Consumer Reports describes how to find quality home care when a loved one needs long-term care. Although most individuals who need long-term care rely solely on family members, about one-third (1/3) of these individuals rely on home care in full or in part. Finding trustworthy in-home help can be quite difficult. Here are some ways that you can find someone who is honest, reliable, and has the skills that your loved one needs. Most of all, you’ll need someone with whom your loved one is comfortable.

First, you should assess the type of care needed. There is a difference between home health aides, who provide basic medical care, like medication monitoring, and personal care aides, who help with housekeeping and personal care. If your loved one is ill or has a disability and needs medical attention, then a home health aide is probably appropriate. Otherwise, if your loved one is just elderly and needs company and help around the house, then a personal care aide is probably sufficient. Alternatively, if your loved one is physically healthy but has dementia and cannot be left alone, you can hire someone to provide companion care for him or her. Companion care is just like it sounds; the caregiver acts as a companion to the elderly person and accompanies him or her outside the home, if necessary.

Next, you will need to look at the cost of in-home care, which can vary significantly according to your location. In very rural areas, it may be much harder to even find someone who provides in-home care, and also more expensive. Home health care and personal aides charge $21 per hour, on average, which equates to $48,000 per year, based on a 44-hour workweek. Rates will be higher if you need to employ an aide at night and on holidays and weekends. If you need an aide with some medical expertise, such as changing bandages or a catheter, you are likely to pay more on the hour, as well. When considering costs, you might also consider adult daycare programs, which provide many of the same services that an aide would provide, but at a much lower cost, or about $18,000 per year, based five days per week of care.

Keep in mind that as a general rule, Medicare does not cover any type of long-term care, such as nursing home expenses or in-home care. However, Medicare will pay for some in-home health care for a specific short-term need. This may occur, for example, when a person has been hospitalized and needs help at home for a few weeks while recovering from surgery. While long-term care insurance or Medicaid may pay some or all of your in-home care costs, the reality is that most people end up paying for these services out of their own pockets.

Whether you choose in-home health care or another option, you always must pay attention and be aware of the signs of caregiver abuse. Unfortunately, this prospect is not as uncommon as you might think. At Boller & Vaughan, we are here to stand up for the rights of senior citizens and their families who have suffered substantial injuries, whether physical, emotional, or financial, while under the care of those are supposed to prevent such injuries from occurring. Contact us today at (608) 268-0268, set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin home health care abuse attorneys, and discover how we can help.