Paying fo care at home

Q: What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

A: Medicare is available to those who have paid into the system. It is most commonly used to pay for doctor's office visits and hospital and nursing home stays. Medicaid is available to people with limited financial resources. Medicaid pays for many of the services covered by Medicare but Medicaid also pays for home care. In order to qualify for Medicaid home care, the person must also have specific physical needs. Hearthside can help with understanding these systems and applying for them.

Q: Does Medicare pay for home care?

A: Medicare pays for only a very limited number of hours and for a very limited amount of time. Medicare will only provide this limited service if there is, what they call, a skilled need, such as: physical therapy, occupational therapy or nursing. Medicare will not pay for home-care if the patient has only custodial needs.

Q: What is the difference between custodial care and skilled-need?

A: A skilled-need is a need that can only be met by a professional such as a physical therapist or a nurse. Custodial needs are needs that a home attendant can take care of: bathing, dressing, cooking and feeding. More often, seniors need have a need for custodial care rather than skilled-needs.

Q: Why should I call Hearthside instead of a home-care agency?

A: Hearthside is not a home-care agency. Getting great home-care is one aspect of the larger picture we address. Whether the family uses a home-care agency or hires privately, we screen the aides, train them and they are supervised closely. We train the aides in how to best care for a person with dementia (memory loss), physical limitations and communication problems. We visit every other week, in most cases. Sometimes the client and the aide know when these visits will be. But, we also make unannounced visits to be sure that things are going well at all times.

Q: My father is receiving home-care services from an agency and he gets confused about who the different homes-care workers are. Is there anything that can be done about this?

A: Many home care agencies provide split-shifts. This means that there will be a day-shift aide and a night-shift aide. This results in there being more than 4 people providing the care. At Hearthside, we suggest that, as long as the senior sleeps through most of the night, there be a 24-hour aide Monday-Friday and a 24-hour weekend aide. Having fewer home-care workers provides a more stable home environment.

©2013 Hearthside Care Coordinators, Inc.  |  Tel: 718-797-4418