Bringing Mom or Dad Home: Making the Transition Smooth with In-Home Care

When an older parent is discharged from the hospital, they often need care at home. In-home care eases the transition for your parent, providing skilled and custodial care and fostering independence in the comfort of their home. Sometimes, the care may be ongoing.

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Bringing Mom or Dad Home: Making the Transition Smooth with In-Home Care
7 Min Read June 12th, 2024

Helping an older parent recover after a hospital stay can feel overwhelming. Helping a parent recover after a hospital stay can be a whirlwind for adult children. Between managing discharge plans, work schedules, and their own families, stress can quickly escalate. You want them comfortable and well cared for, but navigating discharge plans and determining the best next steps can be stressful. Here's where in-home care can be a game-changer.

Imagine your parent returning home after surgery or an illness – a familiar environment for healing, but older adults often have a variety of health and mobility problems that can limit their independence. Depending on why they were in the hospital, they may require continuing services once they get home. In most situations, you can't just drop them off at home and forget it.

Older adults often have complex medical histories. They may face mobility issues, chronic conditions, or even cognitive decline. Leaving the hospital doesn't necessarily mean their care needs vanish. Daily living activities (ADLs) like bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, and medication management can become increasingly difficult. 

Many times, a hospital stay leads to long-term care, which could go on for months and months, or perhaps, the rest of their lives. The required care can burden family members or cost thousands of dollars since health insurance, including Medicare, pays for short-term skilled care only.

For seniors with dementia, constant supervision is crucial. Spouses, often of a similar age range, can feel trapped inside their homes, becoming primary caregivers. This caregiving responsibility significantly restricts their own lives and freedom and can even impact their physical and mental health.

With the support of a professional caregiver, your loved one can remain in their home and enjoy a smooth transition from hospital to home, ensuring they receive the care they need to recover safely and comfortably.

In-Home Care: A Bridge to Independence

Professional in-home care acts as a bridge for older adults who are expected to recover fully, easing the transition from hospital to home and promoting independence for your loved one.

An older adult who already was dependent on others may find, even after recovery, that their need for help with everyday living activities will increase following a hospital stay. Professional homecare providers can help someone remain in their home and delay, if not avoid, the need for a long-term care facility.

  • Skilled and Compassionate Caregivers: Trained professionals provide medical assistance, medication management, and assistance with ADLs, allowing your parent to be safe in their home and maintain a good quality of life.
  • Reduced Family Stress: Adult children can focus on work and family, knowing their parent is receiving the care they need. Caregiving can be challenging, and informal family caregivers are untrained and unprepared for the job; with professional caregivers, adult children have the time to be family. They will receive regular updates from caregivers, keep everyone informed, and create peace of mind.
  • Spouses Can Maintain a Life: A spouse will often attempt to provide care, but the result is that their quality of life becomes limited. Caregivers can provide the quality care necessary, allowing the spouse time to live their life and provide support, not being the primary caregiver.
  • Maintaining Independence: In-home care allows your parent to recover and regain independence at their own pace in the comfort of their home. However, they will feel more independent at home if they require ongoing care.
  • Addressing Dementia Needs: Caregivers can provide the required supervision and help with daily activities for seniors with dementia, ensuring a safe environment.

What Services Do In-Home Care Providers Offer?

In-home care services are tailored to a care recipient's needs. Here are some standard services offered:

  • Personal Care: Assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting (including personal hygiene), and other daily activities.
  • Medication Management: Reminders to take medications, monitoring for side effects, and coordinating with doctors.
  • Light Housekeeping: Keeping the home clean and safe, including laundry and meal preparation.
  • Companionship: Social interaction, emotional support, and participating in engaging activities improve the quality of life.
  • Transportation: Assistance with errands, doctor appointments, and social activities.

Cost of In-Home Care

Unfortunately, health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, only covers short-term skilled care following a hospital stay. If your loved one has Long-Term Care Insurance, it usually will cover in-home care services. However, without Long-Term Care Insurance, the cost of in-home care will be paid for out-of-pocket from income and assets.

Medicaid will pay for long-term care services, including, in many states, some in-home care if available, but only for those with limited income and assets.

Because of medical underwriting, Long-Term Care Insurance can only be purchased before a significant health event. Every insurance company has its own underwriting rules. Most people acquire an LTC policy in their 40s or 50s, but depending on health, options are available for those in their 60s and older.

Finding the Perfect Fit: How to Secure Quality In-Home Care for Your Loved One

After deciding that in-home care, whether temporary or ongoing, is the right choice for your recovering parent, the next big step is finding a qualified and compassionate caregiver. Finding a qualified caregiver can feel daunting, but resources are available to streamline your search.

Qualities of a Top-Notch Caregiver

  • Experience and Skills: Look for caregivers with experience in caring for seniors with similar needs as your parent. This could include experience with chronic conditions, dementia care, or mobility limitations.
  • Compassion and Empathy: The ideal caregiver is someone who genuinely cares about your parent's well-being. They should be patient and understanding and possess excellent communication skills.
  • Reliability and Trustworthiness: You'll entrust your loved one's care to this individual, so reliability and trustworthiness are paramount.
  • Positive References: Don't hesitate to request and follow up on references from previous clients.

Skilled Services

Following a hospital stay, your loved one may need ongoing medical services provided by skilled providers, depending on the reason for the hospitalization. Here are some common types of skilled services that in-home caregivers can provide:

  • Wound Care: This includes cleaning, dressing, and monitoring wounds to prevent infection and promote healing.
  • Ostomy Care: Caregivers can assist with managing ostomy appliances for individuals who have undergone surgery that creates an artificial opening in the body.
  • Catheter Care: This involves inserting, cleaning, and maintaining catheters for managing urinary or bowel incontinence.
  • Medication Management: Caregivers can remind patients to take their medications, monitor for side effects, and report any concerns to healthcare providers.
  • Injections: Qualified caregivers can administer injections, such as insulin, as prescribed by a doctor, for diabetes management.
  • Physical Therapy: In-home physical therapists can help patients regain strength, mobility, and coordination after surgery or illness.
  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists help patients relearn daily living skills like bathing, dressing, and cooking, promoting independence in their own homes.

Empowering Your Search: The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory

The vast number of available caregivers can make your search overwhelming. Here's where the  LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory comes in.

This free online tool allows you to search through over 80,000 caregivers, senior communities, and long-term care facilities in the country.

  • Targeted Search: Filter by location and types of care required.
  • Detailed Profiles: Read each provider's bios, qualifications, and experience summaries.
  • Review System: Gain valuable insights from past client reviews.

The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory empowers you to find caregivers who meet your specific criteria, saving you valuable time and effort.

The Art of Asking the Right Questions

Once you narrow the search, you must ask questions to the potential caregivers.

  • Experience: Ask about the caregiver's experience caring for seniors with similar needs.
  • Training and Certifications: Inquire about licensing and any specialized training or certifications the caregiver possesses.
  • Communication Style: Discuss communication preferences. How will they keep you updated on your parent's condition?
  • Days Off: What happens if the caregiver needs a day off or is sick? Is there a process of finding a replacement?
  • Personality Match: Observe how the caregiver interacts with your parent. They must have a positive rapport.
  • Insurance: Does the provider accept your health insurance or Medicare (for skilled services)? Will they help process a claim for Long-Term Care Insurance?

Additional Tips

  • Contact Your Local Area Agency on Aging (AAA): AAAs offer resources and support for families navigating senior care options.
  • Seek Recommendations: Ask friends, family, healthcare providers, or your parents' social worker for recommendations.
  • Conduct In-Home Interviews: Schedule interviews with potential caregivers in your parent's home to assess their skills and compatibility.

Your parents deserve compassionate care and support on their journey to recovery. If your loved one needs ongoing long-term care, you want to ensure the caregiver's personality matches. Be sure to communicate with the caregiver throughout and visit your parent's home from time to time.

Health changes as you age, and long-term care can be necessary for a variety of reasons, including frailty due to aging. A hospital stay or surgery can increase the risk or require additional care for a period of time.

Your loved one deserves quality care and a good quality of life. The need for long-term care doesn't mean their quality of life has to change despite needing care. Finding the right caregiver will help them physically and emotionally and reduce the stress and burdens on the rest of the family. 

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About the Author

Linda Kople is a freelance writer with a personal family history in long-term care. She specializes in aging-related topics such as caregiving, health, and retirement planning. Her experiences and interests drive her to explore and write about the various aspects of aging and health issues.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Adding Long-Term Care Insurance to your retirement plan can be a wise move to preserve your lifestyle and legacy, as it protects income and assets from the rising cost of long-term care services. But there is more. It also eases the burden on your family members, who often become caregivers when no plan exists.

With LTC Insurance, your loved ones can focus on maintaining familial bonds and providing emotional support rather than becoming full-time caregivers. This shift allows them to support you in meaningful ways, strengthening family connections during challenging times.

You must have fairly good health to obtain LTC Insurance, so the best time to get a policy is in your 40s or 50s. However, depending on your health, affordable options can be found in your 60s and beyond.

Use an LTC Insurance Specialist to Help You Find Coverage

Be sure to seek the help of a qualified LTC Insurance specialist who represents the top-rated insurance companies that offer long-term care solutions. 

An LTC specialist understands the federal and state regulations and tax benefits these products can offer, including the Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program.

The LTC specialist will show you accurate quotes from all the top companies, allowing you to shop easily and conveniently. 

Quality Caregivers and Facilities add to Quality of Life

Finding caregivers or long-term care facilities that offer quality care services for your older family members will improve your loved one's quality of life. With the LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory, finding the right caregivers or long-term care facilities is simpler than ever. 

The directory makes it effortless to explore qualifications and choices, whether you're searching for caregivers or facilities nearby. 

With over 80,000 listings nationwide, this free and comprehensive tool offers all types of care services, in-home care providers, senior communities, and long-term care facilities.

If you're a care provider, you can claim your free listing or upgrade to enhance visibility through the LTC News Directory Business Portal.  

LTC NEWS also offers assistance in processing claims from any Long-Term Care Insurance policy. Partnering with Amada Senior Care, a renowned in-home healthcare agency, LTC NEWS ensures that you and your loved ones have the funds from their LTC policy to receive quality care. There is no cost or obligation for this service.

Experience peace of mind knowing you can access quality care services when you need them most - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

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