It’s Never too Early to Start Planning for Medical Assistance

twin-cities-homecare-training-bA study from the University of Minnesota found that 60% of middle-aged Americans believe it is unlikely that they will require home care service. In reality, 70% of adults will need in-home supportive services at some point in their life. This disparity in expectations can be blamed for the tens-of-thousands of Americans who delay saving for their future at-home care needs.

 

“Our study found that middle-aged Americans have unrealistically low expectations about their need for future health care, putting added pressure and strain on family members and friends,” said Carrie Henning-Smith, M.P.H., M.S.W., and lead author of the article. “The public needs to be aware that most will need care and there’s a need to plan ahead.”

 

This pressure and strain on the family is often the result of the rising costs associated with medical and PCA services. Insurance will likely cover some of these bills however; it’s wise to have a plan in the event that your coverage runs out. In these instances, the financial burden often falls on family members and it can quickly become too much to overcome. It doesn’t take long for home care costs to deplete assets that took decades to accrue.

 

At Best Home Care, our home care professionals answer questions about paying for home care services every day. With so many things to save for, preparing for future medical assistance needs often falls to the bottom of the list. Here are some easy guidelines for ensuring that you will have enough to cover your costs when the time comes:

 

  • Start saving now! Open a separate savings account specifically for your home care costs and contribute regularly
  • Consult your doctor and the home care professionals at Best Home Care to better understand how much you will need for future costs
  • Visit a financial adviser to organize your account and make sure you are on track towards your savings goals

 

Your health is your most valuable asset, shouldn’t you invest in it? Contact Best Home Care to learn about medical assistance planning and how you can start preparing for your future today!

Providing Home Care for Those Living with HIV/AIDS

Providing Home Care From A DistanceAccording to the CDC at the end of 2012, 1.2 million individuals over the age of 13 were living with HIV or AIDS in the United States. Even more interesting is that 1 in 8 of those individuals don’t know they have the disease. While most prevalent during the 1980s, HIV/AIDS is still a very real issue in America today. Great progress has been made to improve the standard of living for those affected by the disease. In addition, at-home care and PCA services can have great benefits for those living with HIV/AIDS.

 

Here at Best Home Care, we have helped a number of personal care assistants and family caregivers provide home care services for a loved one living with HIV/AIDS. While there is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS, the symptoms can be treated to allow individuals to comfortably continue their day-to-day life. In home supportive services compliment these treatments by fostering a health focused and supportive environment for the individual.

When it comes to providing HIV/AIDS home care, there are three areas that caregivers should focus on:

Proper Nutrition

Consuming healthy foods is essential to help maintain a strong immunes system and can even help treatments be more effective. As a caregiver, you should develop a meal plan that emphasizes healthy foods and always take care to prepare food properly and safely.

Avoid Alcohol and Drugs

HIV/AIDS patients are statistically more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol; which can interfere with treatment and lead to even more dangerous health problems. As a home caregiver, you should actively monitor your client for signs of excessive alcohol or drug use and guide them towards help if necessary.

Treatment

Treatments often include many different medications that can be confusing for a patient to keep track of and understand. As a personal care assistant, you should build a treatment plan that clearly shows what and when medications should be taken as well as tracking when they will need to be refilled.

 

HIV/AIDS home caregivers provide an invaluable service for their clients. Best Home Care is proud to support the work of these personal care assistants as they provide a better quality of life for the individuals they care for. Contact us today to learn more about home care giving services for HIV/AIDS or how our home care professionals can support you!

At-Home Caregivers Can Greatly Help Amputees Adjust to Home Life

amputee home care, amputee safetyAdjusting to life after an amputation not only requires a good amount of medical and physical care, but also emotional support as the individual learns to live without their limb or limbs. Whether the amputation was the result of a combat injury or a debilitating disease, transitioning to this new life can be a difficult process. The first few weeks after returning home from the hospital are typically the most trying as the individual is forced to relearn how to perform basic tasks around their home.

 

Home caregivers play a vitally important role in this process. The majority of the time, family members and friends serve as home caregivers for amputees and help guide in the transition to their new home life. Family caregivers greatly help amputees adjust to living at home by creating a safe and accessible living environment.

 

Below are some smart tactics to help create a more livable space for recent amputees returning from the hospital:

 

Entryway: If steps lead to the home’s doorway, temporary ramps should be installed to make getting in and out of the house easy.

Lighting: Motion-sensing lights can be installed inside and outside the home.

Doors: Traditional round doorknobs can be replaced with levers to make it easier for upper limb amputees to operate. In some cases, it may make sense to remove doors completely to make it easier to enter with a wheelchair.

Shower: Purchase a shower bench and grab bars to make getting in and out of the shower safer for lower limb amputees.

Kitchen: Lowering the sink and counters will make the kitchen more accessible for those in wheelchairs but can be costly. Other options include using the kitchen table for food prep and moving important items to lower shelves in cupboards.

 

For more information and guidance on providing home care for amputees, contact Best Home Care. Our team of home care professionals has helped many amputees receive the at-home care they need to adjust to their new home life.

Navigating Home Care’s Red Tape: Traditional PCA Option

studying-703002_1280As mentioned in the previous post in this blog series, paying for home care services is no easy task. Understanding the details of the many regulations and programs available can be overwhelming for those just getting started with at-home care. Add to this the large amount of paperwork and administrative tasks that must be completed on a regular basis and it’s easy to become lost in the process. The State of Minnesota’s Traditional PCA option is a great choice for individuals who don’t want to deal with the extra work that comes with managing their home care services.

 

One of the most important roles of a PCA agency is to oversee many administrative tasks for their clients. This can involve everything from accounting tasks to evaluating the performance of a personal care assistant. The Traditional PCA option gives a home care agency the power to perform these tasks and more for their clients.

 

Under the Traditional PCA option, the provider home care agency is responsible for:

  • Finding, hiring, training, scheduling, and firing personal care assistants for their clients
  • Finding back-up PCA staff
  • Overseeing the home care services that are provided
  • Evaluating the work of the home care professionals

 

In addition to these tasks, Traditional PCA provider agencies complete background checks on their home care professionals, ensure their staff has completed the required PCA training, manage taxes for PCAs, bill the State for home care services performed, and more.

 

The Traditional PCA option requires those receiving in-home supportive services to work with the PCA to:

  • Ensure health and safety needs are met
  • Develop a home care plan
  • Evaluate the home care services that are provided

 

Those receiving home care are also required to certify the services performed by the home care worker by signing the time sheet at the end of each pay period.

 

Best Home Care is proud to be a leading Traditional PCA provider agency in the Twin Cities! Our employees specialize in home care administration and take pride in helping clients receive the care they need without the confusing hassle. Contact us today to learn more about the Traditional PCA option and see if it’s a good match for you!

Navigating Home Care’s Red Tape: PCA Choice

Tips to keep organized as personal care assistant

When it comes to paying for home care services, complicated doesn’t begin to describe the process. Paying out of pocket is convenient however; the reality is that most individuals in need of at-home care do not have the means to afford this option. The good news is that programs exist at both the state and federal level to provide financial assistance specifically for in-home supportive services.

 

In the state of Minnesota, the PCA Choice option is a financial assistance program for home care services that gives the recipient a greater amount of control as to how their personal care services are provided. Under the PCA Choice option, an individual receiving PCA services is responsible for:

  • Hiring their personal care assistant
  • Organizing home health care training
  • Scheduling their home attendant’s visits
  • Creating a PCA care plan
  • Monitoring and tracking the quality of home care provided

 

In order to take advantage of the PCA Choice option, a recipient must work with a PCA Choice provider agency. The PCA Choice agency assists the recipient in paying and accounting for the medically necessary covered PCA services. In addition, the home care agency also serves as a knowledgeable resource for the recipient, answering questions and guiding them through the process of starting PCA services.

 

Getting Paid to Take Care of a Family Member

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the PCA Choice option is the ability to hire a family member or friend to work as your home caregiver. Under this option, recipients are able to train and hire a loved one to provide home care services for them on a regular basis. Not only does this option compensate family caregivers for their services that would otherwise go unpaid, it also gives the recipient peace of mind by having someone close to them provide home care.

 

Best Home Care is proud to be a PCA Choice home care agency in the Twin Cities. Everyday we help individuals unravel the complexities of paying for and starting home care services. Contact our home care professionals to learn more about the PCA Choice option and how to get paid for caring for a family member today!

 

Navigating Home Care’s Red Tape: Wavier Programs

Understanding & FlexibleHome care services can be a complicated mess. With so many regulations, programs, and systems to work in, knowing where to start is often overwhelming. Working with a reputable home care agency (like Best Home Care) will certainly help you understand the home care process, however it’s important to have a basic knowledge of the options that are available for you and your loved one’s specific situation.

 

Some of the most common questions we receive at our Minnesota home care agency are concerned with paying for home care and personal care services. Most families are unable to pay for personal care services out of pocket and therefore must rely on insurance or state-run programs. One of these is the State of Minnesota’s home and community-based service waiver program.

 

What is the state’s home and community-based service waiver program? Medicaid’s HCBS waiver gives states the flexibility to develop creative alternatives to allow people to pay for and receive at-home care that meets their needs. These services are not available under regular Medical Assistance.

 

What are some of the waivers and what services do they provide?

  • Brain Injury Waiver: People with acquired or traumatic brain injuries that require a level of care provided in a hospital or nursing facility.
  • Alternative Care: Supports services for older Minnesotans, age 65 years and over, who have low income and assets and are at risk of being placed in a nursing home.
  • Developmental Disabilities Waiver: Helps individuals with developmental disabilities that need the level of care provided by a professional care facility.

 

How do you apply?

When applying for the HCBS waiver program, it’s best to work with a home care company that will handle the administrative tasks. You can learn more about applying by visiting HCBS webpage here.

 

If you’d like to learn more about receiving funds to pay for home care through a HCBS waiver in the state of Minnesota, contact Best Home Care! We’ve helped hundreds of individuals receive the quality home care they need at an affordable price through these programs.

Using Convenient Technology to Prevent Fraud in the Home Care Industry

Senior Home Care, Medical Alert SystemsThe Justice Department recently announced that it is charging hundreds of individuals with committing Medicare fraud worth $900 million dollars. This marks the largest takedown of fraud committed by personal care assistants, home care agencies, and other medical companies ever. Most of these cases involved billing Medicare and/or Medicaid for treatments that were never provided. Sadly, this is just the latest example of an issue that has plagued the home care industry for decades.

 

For years, the standard method for billing for home care services involved completing and submitting paper timesheets that outlined details on the care provided. Unfortunately, this method allows for inaccurate time keeping and makes it difficult to analyze the quality of home care being provided. While there have been steps taken to ensure accuracy and prevent fraud, there is still an opportunity to greatly improve these regulations.

 

The home care professionals at Best Home Care work hard to ensure accurate and honest billing for all our home care clients. One way we do this is through the use of our Timesheet app. This compliance software for smartphones tracks the amount of hours a personal care assistant works, provides a unique way of verifying these services, and allows for the quality of home care to be assessed. Here’s how it works:

 

  1. A home care worker or PCA records the hours they worked and details the services they provided.
  2. To ensure compliance, they may be asked to photograph themselves with their client.
  3. This data is sent to and stored in a secure database.
  4. The information can be downloaded and analyzed by home care agencies, home care recipients, and payers like the state or insurance companies.
  5. The data provided can also be compared to a home care recipient’s goals as a way to measure the quality of care.

 

While fraud is still an issue in this industry, we believe that technology holds the answer. We encourage all our employees to use the app and are working with other Twin Cities home care agencies to bring our Timesheet app into their system. To learn more about the Timesheet app and how Best Home Care is working to prevent fraud in the home care industry, contact our home care professionals today!

Stay Prepared With These Summertime Caregiving Safety Tips

Springtime Home Care ActivitiesThis week we celebrated the longest day of the year marking the official start to summer. With the oppressive heat and humidity that’s settled in the upper Midwest, it’s easy to think that summer started three weeks ago. This brutal heat can be dangerous and life threatening, especially for those receiving home care services. According to the National Weather Service, excessive heat causes hundreds of deaths in the United States each year and is especially threatening to children and the elderly.

 

Minnesota’s recent heat wave got us here at Best Home Care thinking about the risks our personal care assistants and home caregivers face. Many home care patients are at an increased risk of falling victim to excessive heat so it’s important for at-home caregivers to be proactive and take preventative actions.

 

Below are several tips to help home caregivers avoid heat exhaustion from affecting their patients and ensure a fun, safe summer of home care!

 

What is Heat Exhaustion? Heat exhaustion occurs when the body becomes overwhelmed and is unable to naturally cool itself by perspiring. Dehydration is usually the first sign of heat exhaustion.

 

What are the Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion?

  • Rapid pulse or breathing
  • Dehydration – dry skin or no sweat
  • An elevated body temperature
  • Dizziness or fainting

 

What to Do if You Suspect a Home Care Patient is Suffering From Heat Exhaustion:

  1. Call 9-1-1
  2. Apply anything that’s cold to their wrist, neck, or groin
  3. Get the patient to slowly drink plenty of water if able

 

How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion in Home Care Patients on Hot Days:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Wear protective clothing and sunscreen if traveling outside
  • Ensure air conditioning is operating properly
  • Take cool showers or baths to help maintain body temperature

 

While summer is the greatest time to be in Minnesota, it can also be dangerous. PCAs and caregivers should actively take steps to ensure the safety of their patients in extreme heat. The Minneapolis home care professionals at Best Home Care are ready to help with resources and support for caregivers. Contact our Twin Cities home health care agency to learn more about best home care practices this summer!

Let’s Celebrate All The Male Home Caregiver’s This Father’s Day

Ways to Become a More Effective Caregiver - services for independent livingFather’s Day is a time set aside to honor the contributions that fathers and father figures make in their children’s lives. Each year at Best Home Care, we like to take this opportunity to appreciate the contributions and sacrifices male home caregivers make for their clients. Providing in-home care services can be a challenging and arduous task however, and Father’s Day is the perfect time to thank the male family caregiver and personal care assistant in your life for their hard work.

 

Here at Best Home Care, we employ a lot of great men who provide at-home care for a loved one or work professionally as a PCA. Historically a female dominated industry; home caregiving has seen an influx in male caregivers over the last two decades. Today, 45% of those providing in-home care services are male and this percentage is expected to continue to grow. In particular, the number of male caregivers providing Alzheimer’s home care has more than doubled in the last two decades. According to the Alzheimer’s Association in 1996, 19% of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers were male. In 2009, this number rose to over 40%.

 

While the in-home supportive services they provide are identical, men tend to approach caregiving differently than women. Research has shown that male home caregivers:

  • Approach caregiving as yet another job. They segment their lives well and work to prevent the caregiving role from affecting other roles.
  • Tend to look for practical solutions and direct ways to solve problems associated with home caregiving.
  • Are more likely to use the Internet as a caregiving resource.
  • Provide more long distance care.

 

This Sunday, be sure to hug the male home care professional in your life. Even if he isn’t your father, Father’s Day is a great day to express your appreciation for a male caregiver’s tireless work.

 

To all the male family caregivers and personal care assistants from all of us here at Best Home Care, thank you for the service you provide. Your work and commitment makes an incredible difference in the lives of those you care for!

How to Know When it’s Time to Quit Your Job to Care for Your Parent

Five Things Every New Family Caregiver Needs to Know  - personal care providersIt’s human nature to feel called to provide care for a loved one in need. Whether a sick child staying home from school or an aging parent, home care services are a part of all of our lives. When it comes to aging parents, at-home care usually begins with a weekly visit to see if they need to run an errand or to just spend time together. However, this weekly check-in can quickly turn into a much larger commitment when a parent suffers from a chronic condition or a debilitating disease such as Alzheimer’s. It’s during this time that a family caregiver will be faced with the decision of whether or not to leave their job in order to provide home care full time for their parent.

Deciding to leave a job to care for a parent is a decision that should not be taken lightly, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons. Here are some things to think about before quitting your job to become a full time family caregiver:

  • The Money You Save: Paying for in-home care services, adult day care, or facility care can be very expensive. By caring for your family member, you will likely save them several thousands of dollars a month by avoiding the cost of home care services.
  • The Peace of Mind You Gain: You know the needs of your parents and understand them better than anyone else. By caring for a parent, you can rest assured that the care they are receiving is always in their best interest.
  • The Money You Lose: Leaving a job means there will be less money coming in. Having a sound financial plan that outlines how you will get by without this income is essential before quitting.
  • The Opportunities You Miss: Getting out of the workforce means you will miss out on much more than a salary. These lost opportunities include: loss of benefits, not acquiring new job skills, and a lack of a professional network.

It’s important to understand that not everyone is ready to be a full-time family caregiver and it’s okay to seek help from a PCA agency. To learn more about starting senior home care services for a parent or how to get paid for taking care of a family member, contact Best Home Care today!