What is Home Care Nursing?

Home care nursing is useful for those hoping to age in place or avoid the high costs that can come with full-care senior living facilities.


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If you’ve been thinking about your golden years and are beginning to make plans you may be worried that if you can’t afford high-priced senior living facilities you’ll be unable to find the care or companionship that they offer. Fortunately, the availability of home care nursing means that you don’t have to make a choice between the fear of neglect or the fear of outliving your retirement savings.

Appropriate home care nursing services will vary greatly based on individual needs but can cover anything from help with daily activities to long-term illnesses or short-term medical care to recover from an injury or a procedure.

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Home care nursing services typically fall under one of three categories, based on the level of care required, how they’re paid for, and whether you need to work with your primary care physician to receive the service.

3 Categories of Home Care Nursing (and How to Pay for Them)

Personal care and companionship – This category typically includes services that are not medical interventions such as assistance with personal care and grooming, assistance getting in or out of a bed or wheelchair or even light-duty help with tasks around the house. This type of home care nursing is typically provided by a personal aide or a home health aide and does not require a prescription from your doctor. Because of that, you shouldn’t expect the costs to be covered by Medicaid or Medicare, but they may be covered by VA benefits, long-term care insurance, or other private insurance. That’s not to say that these services will never be medically necessary. Alzheimer’s patient supervision may also fall under this category.

Private duty nursing care – This level of home care nursing is also known as home-based skilled nursing or long-term nursing care and is typically appropriate for individuals with chronic medical conditions that require ongoing care or specialty care around medical devices like feeding tubes or ventilators. This type of care needs to be prescribed by a doctor, and can be covered by health insurance, VA benefits, workers’ compensation or Medicaid (with qualifications). Unlike personal care, skilled nursing care will not cover home tasks.

Home health care – Home health care is short-term, physician-prescribed care that is intended to help a patient prevent or recover from illness or injury. Also known as Medicare-certified home health care, this home care nursing includes services like physical or occupational therapy and short-term nursing care. Although subject to approval, this level of care can be covered by Medicare or private insurance when deemed necessary.

All of these categories can also be covered by private pay, although that can become expensive if you or a loved one need highly specialized care or constant supervision.

The most important aspect of all of these is that even if you need some level of assistance, staying in your own home remains an option for you.

When you’re making these decisions it’s important to work closely with your physician in determining an appropriate course of action if you do need care, and to have a conversation with loved ones about their ability to contribute, either financially or with their own time, to make sure that you can spend your golden years living the life that you want.

Have you considered home care as an alternative to senior living facilities?

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