How Are Long-Term Care Services Provided?

What Is Home Health Care?

Simply put, Home Health Care is exactly what the name implies - long-term care services provided in your home. More specifically, Home Health Care is care administered in the home by family members or friends with assistance from professional caregivers. For example, a husband taking care of his wife would be considered the primary caregiver and Home Health Care would include any professional and informal caregivers that assist in the home.

Home Health Care Providers offer two types of services:

  • Skilled or Professional Caregivers Caregivers include Registered Nurses and Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists. These are licensed and trained individuals who come into the insured's home and provide a specific service. Once they have completed their task, they leave. Usually their stay will not be much longer than an hour.
  • Custodial or Informal Caregivers include Home Health Aides, Personal Care Attendants and Certified Nursing Assistants. Their help would consist of services like preparing meals, light housecleaning, doing laundry and assisting with baths and personal hygiene. They generally spend 4 to 8 hours daily with the patient. These services may also be provided by family members or friends.


How Do Facilities Figure Into The Equation?

When care at home or in the community is no longer an option, Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Facilities may be considered.

  • Assisted Living Facilities provide apartment or condominium-like settings and 24-hour assistance for those who can, for the most part, live on their own but who also need assistance with personal and custodial needs. Assisted Living Facilities are fast becoming the top choice for long-term care because they provide a combination of independent living and ready care services. In essence, they allow people to remain as independent as their infirmities or illnesses will permit.
  • Nursing Facilities provide daily, 24-hour skilled, intermediate and custodial care. Nursing Facilities provide the highest level of long-term care that you can receive. The level of care one needs at this point is greater than what can be provided at home, in the community or in an Assisted Living Facility.


What Is Community Care?

Community Care goes hand in hand with Home Health Care. Whereas Home Health Care is designed to be provided in the home, Community Care is provided in community resources - outside the home - on a temporary basis with the understanding that the individual requiring care will continue to reside in his or her own home. Additionally, Community Care allows those receiving care to live at home longer by providing a break for the primary caregiver.

  • Adult Day Care facilities are equipped to handle adults who need care due to a loss of cognitive ability or loss of ability to perform activities of daily living. Activities of Daily Living are the normal functions one must perform to be able to make it through the day. These include bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring (moving from a bed to a chair, for instance). Some states require that the definition of the transferring Activity of Daily Living include mobility or the ability to move with or without the use of an assistive device like a cane or walker.
  • Respite Care is short-term care designed to provide temporary relief for a primary caregiver who cares for the insured in the home. Many times, Respite Care is provided in a nursing home or assisted living facility that accepts respite care patients.