Home Health Care: Choose Wisely

Many people don’t think about it until it’s too late, but home health care is something that you should consider before hospitals or nursing homes become your only option. Realistically, wouldn’t you want your children to keep you around after you are unable to take care of yourself, in the comfort of your own home?

If you have not run across the idea of home health care yet in your travels, it combines the best of many worlds of care. The same quality of care a patient would get in a hospital is transferred to a private residence, where the patient is the sole focus of a trained professional on hand.

The person will be trained in many basic and advanced parts of the treatment process, including having knowledge of nutrition, IV’s, patient and caregiver processes, occupational and dietary therapy, and a consistent knowledge of anything medically related that specific person needs to be health and safe in the home environment.

If medical agencies are smart, they always have an arm of their service that includes the ability of their staff to go on home health care assignments. This is because is can be beneficial to all parties involved, as the correct utilization of resources saves everyone time and money, and people use that to their advantage.

If you are worried about certain conditions for your parent, here are some things that home health care deals with as well – helping them eat and drink properly, basic cooking and cleaning, checking temperature and breathing, if they need assistance getting into and out of bed, if they need a helping hand with things like bathing or using the bathroom.

One of the first things that you should discuss is the plan of care. That is a document that details all of the daily, short term, and long term aspects of the care, from who is going to take care of what, to the types of medical equipment that needs to be on hand, to deciding which treatments are going to take how long and when results should be seen.

Staff should always be determined to improve their service as well. If you have noticed that your home health care provided has become lazy or does not take as much interest in the client as they should, you should immediately start shopping around for a better place to hire from. Improvement is always the key.

It’s not an easy decision sending a loved one to a hospital or nursing home, so make the right choice and instead have the hospital come to you. The service can be excellent, and you’ll feel more connected instead of guilty as time goes by and your parents are still happy.

Home Health Care Vs Residential Facilities

Home health care services offer adequate skills and resources that are intended to accommodate the rehabilitative needs of homebound patients. Although residential facilities have been around for many years, in-home elder care has become a popular form of healthcare in the United States. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice indicates that the home environment allows for subsidiary control and flexibility.

Home healthcare nursing enables caregivers to get time off, while also providing medical services for individuals with a debilitating illness. Specifically, the ongoing service is available to seniors who are disabled, terminally ill, or in need of some type of therapy. These individuals were recently discharged from the hospital and qualify for further rehabilitative services in the home.

In most instances, Medicare provides funds to support patients who need home health care nursing. In other circumstances, Medicaid and community programs cover the cost of the service. Depending upon an individual’s situation, the family and/or patient may pay the home care agency directly for nursing services. They may obtain assistance from a public organization or utilize their private health insurance.

The assisted living or nursing homes also provide a plethora of medical services and benefits. A senior care facility is referred by primary physicians to discuss the patient’s needs, desires, living preferences, and budget. To help make the most of an elderly remaining years, the family would want a community that is comforting, fits one’s personality, and affordable.

Nursing facilities are not constructed for privacy and cannot sustain a home-like environment. It is challenging for families to find that “perfect fit” facility and in most occasions, nursing homes are utilized for crisis situations. Although elderly patients receive round-the-clock assistance in residential facilities, it does not offer individual attention or encourage autonomy. According to national studies, the residential facilities are far more expensive and does not allow for flexibility.

Presently, around 1.5 million seniors live in a residential facility. However, specific details such as budgeting and long- term planning often deter the decision- making process. Although they offer the same amenities as home care, the long-term stay and round-the-clock services determines its costly demands. Thus, opting senior home nursing care can become overwhelming for the patient and the family.

Both types of nursing services are available for an elderly individual recovering from a debilitating illness. In-home health care and long- term facilities provide ongoing medical services for patients ready for discharge from an extensive hospital stay and require rehabilitation. Both professional nursing services provide skilled nurses, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. A patient’s care is generally paid by Medicare, yet Medicaid and community programs are also available.

In comparison, home health care is a growing industry and is preferred by most caregivers and their loved ones. To date, 12million people utilize home care due to its rewarding benefits. Home care offers specialized care in the home; therefore patients are given individual attention. The patient and family are directly involved in the entire decision-making process. More so, the patients and their family are empowered and encouraged to manage their own care.

Getting to Know Home Health Care

It is no surprise to any one by now that getting older is a very difficult process of life. It involves losing certain abilities you once took for granted and the ability to perform or act in a task or activity you always loved. However, the only thing worse than having to sacrifice what you once loved, is having to do it by yourself. For that reason there are resources such as home health care that can help provide you with the care that you need, the friendship that is vital for aging, and also the independence you will not want to give up. After all, that is what a life is all about, a quest for independence, and home health care providers want to make sure you continue on that quest, but that you are healthy enough to do so.

However, the upkeep of one’s independence can certainly be a challenge that will only become more up in the air as the aging process really takes hold.

For that reason, a home health care provider that you elect to look after you needs to be able to truly provide for you in ways that will help you look toward your future.

By doing this, you stand better odds at living a more fulfilled life and a more exciting life that is not filled with regrets of what you are no longer able to do. That said, your provider can, and ought to be, someone who has the ability to give you physical therapy treatments that will improve the movement of your overall body.

They should be someone who can give you occupational therapy treatments that will improve the movement of specific points on your body such as fingers, hands, and other specified joints.

They should be someone who can give you speech therapy so that your expressions remain clear. And lastly, they should be someone who can offer you total daily services for when you need, such as helping you get to the bathroom, or tidying your house, or even preparing a meal for you once in a while. That way, you do not have to devote whole days to only one or two tasks, but are free to go aggressively after the same bidding you prefer.

After all, there is no need to hurry back into doing everything you would have in your old routine.

Finally, if you are in a position in your life where you are ready to get a home health care professional, be alert that you are not hiring someone that is too far out of your price range. While it is important to pay for the best, it is also important you do not add any financial burden to the load you are already dealing with. And, truly, these home health care professionals can be quite affordable as long as you get to know your options. Once you think you have found someone, too, make sure you get them right away. These professionals are not a dime a dozen, but the people going through the aging process certainly are.

National Health Care: How Small Business Will Fare

As the debate about health care continues, I find myself thinking about other countries with national health plans and worrying that we’re going to become like them. On the one hand maybe we can be as sleek and efficient as the Swedes. On the other hand I fear suffering from blackened teeth and a pasty complexion like the Brits. Or worse, just sinking into obscurity like the Canadians. Maybe my worries are groundless. Oh, and for the record, my wife is a Brit. And she’s never even had a cavity. What an oddball.

As I write this, a huge national health bill is being debated in Congress. The President is trying to push through his plan. Other, competing proposals are on the table. And although many of the details are still up in the air, one thing’s for sure: the new plan, whatever it will entail, will need to be funded. And unlike the Brits, that money won’t come from the savings from never seeing a dentist. In this country, the funding is likely going to come from a “pay or play” option. And that option will be forced on businesses, both big and small.

There are four leading proposals being discussed. One, proposed by the President, would enact an 8% payroll tax for employers that are not providing or paying enough health insurance for their employees. Another, proposed by Senator Kennedy, would levy a $750 per employee annual charge for those same employers. The third sits in the Senate Finance Committee-this doesn’t include any pay or play provision. That won’t happen. The fourth involves an invasion and takeover of Canada, but that one’s losing ground because no one wants to go to Canada.

Small business owners hate the idea of more taxes, almost as much as we hate being called small business owners. We’re being told that this new tax will help pay for health coverage for all and that in the end it will benefit us as a country.

LOWER INSURANCE COSTS

Will national health care benefit us as a country? I’m not really sure. But one thing I know for sure: British food is terrible. And a national health insurance system would be a good thing for small business owners. Not a bad thing. Now before my fellow conservatives handcuff me to a TV and force me to watch 20 hours of The Franken & Davis Show, let me explain.

For one, as a business owner, a national insurance plan would be cheaper for me. Way cheaper. Yes, those critics are probably right-socialized medicine will probably lead to higher individual taxes, longer wait times for treatment, lower-quality health care, and a strong urge to have tea and biscuits at 4 o’clock. But take a look at these numbers from a client of mine-a 50-person manufacturer in Pennsylvania. In 2008 it paid $375,000 net health insurance on a payroll totaling $2.086 million. (This included the owners.) And this is for a pretty basic Blue Cross plan. That works out to 18% of its payroll cost. If we go with the President’s 8% plan, the company would save about $208,000. If we opt for Kennedy’s proposal, it would save $337,500 per year!

Would this be better for our employees? Maybe yes, maybe no. But at least it’s something. A lot of employers are providing nothing. Some employers may be offering and paying too much. Will we all opt for this option? Maybe yes, maybe no. Some of us may want to offer better plans to our employees to gain a competitive edge or because we place a higher value on this kind of employee benefit. With a national health plan, business owners would be given a much less expensive health care option to provide to their employees. Right now we’re stuck paying insurance premiums to the Big Blues and the HMOs that seem to be nonnegotiable and fixed in some smoky backroom in the Bronx. Having a lower cost alternative gives us some breathing room. And some choice.

And if we choose the lower cost alternative, what are we going to do with these savings? Sure, my client could take the entire amount and purchase two tickets to an Arsenal vs. Chelsea match (ever seen how much those tickets cost?). But more likely it’ll reinvest. It may actually hire more employees. Or spend on a piece of equipment. Or keep a few more cans of warm lager in the employee lunchroom.

ELIMINATING UNWELCOME SURPRISES

Another benefit? Less surprises. There are two things I personally dread receiving in the mail: my oldest son’s report card and our health insurance premium notice. Thankfully I can kick my son out on the street once he (hopefully) graduates high school. But I don’t have this kind of option for my health insurance costs. This is a huge, annual wild card for business owners. What will the increase be this year? Only 27%? Phew, what a relief! The pay or play plans being discussed would levy a fixed percentage or amount on business owners based on payroll dollars or headcount. Like it or not, you can’t deny that at the very least, there would be no surprises. Knowing what the cost will be every year makes it easier to budget, easier to set prices, and easier to plan hiring. Right now the expense is so variable, and so significant, that it has an impact on our decisionmaking.

A lot of people are saying a national health plan would deincentivize us from providing wellness benefits. You know what these are, right? They’re things like fitness club memberships, nutritional food choices, and other programs to make employees healthier that in turn would decrease our overall insurance costs. Nice idea in theory, especially if you’re a Fortune 1000 company that can afford human resources departments and internal wellness czars. But exactly how many business owners are actually doing this? We’re just happy if our people show up in one piece. Few of us are buying into the theory that cutting back on those Reese’s Pieces on the receptionist’s desk and having our six employees walk around the parking lot once a week will actually have an impact on our health insurance costs. I’m happy to take my chances on this.

And you know what? Maybe a little competition wouldn’t be so bad for the health insurance providers either. For years it seems like we have had to take whatever increase they’ve invoked in order to keep their profits steady and their shareholders happy. Now, with a lower-cost government plan in place, perhaps these same companies will need to sing and dance a little more to get our attention. Perhaps they may actually find a way to decrease their prices or increase their services in order to entice us to stay on board with them. This can only benefit our employees, not to mention our own bottom line.

What about employers that don’t provide insurance but will be required to? Some of the plans are proposing to exempt companies with less than 25 people from this rule. So what if you’re employing more than 25 human beings and you’re not offering these people any insurance? Check your calendar, dude-we’re not in Victorian England. Maybe you should. And if that means forking out $750 per person to do this, then boo hoo.

So yeah…maybe those Swedes and Brits and, darn it, even the Canadians are on to something. Sure, there are a ton of very reasonable downsides to a national health plan. Our overall level of care may deteriorate. Our personal taxes may go up. Our teeth may turn brown and crooked. Our best doctors may lose the incentive to do their best work. We may all be forced to drink warm beer. But then again, maybe our tabloids will start showing a topless beauty on Page 3. Oh, and maybe some business owners will have a more affordable health care option that they never had before.