Best Home Care Launches Updated and User-Friendly New Website

logo-03About a year ago, we here at Best Home Care noticed something interesting happening: clients and employees weren’t taking notice of our website as much as they once were. Nearly every person contacting us about home care services would compliment our website, however over time those slowly became few and far between. Even though our website featured great content on home care and valuable resources for caregivers, it seemed that it was losing its shine. We determined it was time for a digital facelift!
 

Our home care professionals spent many months pouring over the Best Home Care website to determine what we liked and what could be improved. Eventually, we assembled an improved site layout and passed it along to our web designers. After rounds of refinement and revisions, the new Best Home Care website was launched on April 21st!
 

Visit BestHomeCareMN.com

 
The overarching goal while creating this new website was to help people quickly find the home health care information they were seeking. In order to accomplish this, we did several things:
 

• Simplified the main menu to include seven headings instead of the eleven on the previous website
• Reorganized the content on various pages to help visitors find resources conveniently
• Streamlined the homepage to appear much cleaner with clear paths for information
• Applied larger font sizes throughout the website to assist those with vision challenges
 

Please take a moment to browse the new Best Home Care website and let us know what you think by contacting us directly or sharing on our Facebook page! We take a lot of pride in being a top home care agency in the Twin Cities and are excited to have a website that reflects the level of commitment we have for our home care employees and personal care assistants.
 
We’d like to thank all our home care professionals for providing input on the new website and the team at Brandography for bringing it to life.

Home Care’s Benefits for Children with Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic_Fibrosis_Thumbnail - complete home health care

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetically transmitted disease that affects the glands in the body that create mucous, making this normally water-like substance thin and sticky. Unable to flow freely, mucous becomes lodged in airways and ducts throughout the body. These blockages affect different organs in different ways causing symptoms to vary from patient to patient. The lungs, pancreas, and sweat glands are three of the major organs most commonly affected by CF. Currently there is no cure for the disease, however treatments have greatly extended the life expectancy of people living with CF.

 

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation states that about 30,000 people in United States live with CF. Each year; there are approximately 1,000 new diagnoses of CF; many new patients are under the age of ten. Caring for children affected by CF can be a challenging and difficult task, even for the most experienced home caregiver. In most cases, a parent or loved one will act as a family caregiver for their loved one. This can, and often does, lead to financial and time management problems as the family caregiver struggles to maintain other commitments in addition to their new home care duties. As a leading Minneapolis home care agency, Best Home Care helps caregivers in these situations get paid for taking care of a family member.

 

In home supportive services can greatly help children through the challenges of growing up with up CF. The disease affects each child slightly different so it’s important for personal care assistants to be flexible and clearly understand their symptoms before building a home care plan. In general, a CF home health aid should:
• Ensure the child eats nutritionally, especially during flare-ups
• Assist with therapy practices including: airway clearance techniques and vibration vests
• Help with necessary medical treatments such as antibiotic prescriptions and IV treatments

 

Cystic fibrosis home care services can greatly improve the quality of life for children living with this debilitating disease. Best Home Care is ready to help family caregivers across Minnesota with support and guidance to provide quality home care for their child living with CF. Contact our team of home care professionals to learn more!

Hiring a Non-Medical Home Caregiver Following Surgery

Ways to Become a More Effective Caregiver - services for independent livingThe recovery time for a major surgery, such as a hip replacement or open heart surgery, can last anywhere from weeks to months. As we age, our body requires more and more time to repair itself from these procedures and it’s not uncommon for seniors to remain in the hospital for longer periods of time following a surgery to allow for proper healing. However once released, the risk of injury is still high as seniors adjust to the various restrictions on their home life. A non-medical home caregiver, such as a personal care assistant, can guide a senior through the recovery process, preventing any setbacks or injuries along the way.

Post-surgery complications often occur because a patient attempts to perform an activity that their physical state simply won’t allow. Stiches tearing and internal bleeding are just two issues that can result from trying to do too much too soon after a surgery. Senior home care professionals may not be medically certified, but they can assist with the daily challenges that follow a surgery. These Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) include:

  • Cooking and Cleaning
  • Toileting and Bathing
  • Medication Preparation
  • Wound Cleaning/Redressing
  • Appointment Scheduling

Non-medical home caregiving promotes a speedy recovery following an operation in the place where a patient is most comfortable: their home. This is only one of the many benefits of hiring a PCA to provide home care services after a surgery, others include:

  • Caregivers offer companionship for those living alone. This companionship has proven to slow the aging process and dementia.
  • Convenient scheduling means caregivers can be hired for as long as they are needed to aid in post-op recovery.
  • A reputable home care agency will help a senior hire their own at-home caregiver and assist with the burdensome administrative tasks that come with the process.
  • Compared with other solutions for care after surgery, senior home caregiving is the most cost effective and comfortable for the patient.

If you or a loved one is having surgery in the near future, consider hiring an in-home caregiver to aid in the recovery. Best Home Care will work with you to find a qualified personal care assistant or to hire a family member to provide your home care services. Learn more by contacting our Twin Cities home care agency today!

In-Home Care vs. Assisted Living Centers: Which is Right for Your Needs?

Can I get paid to care for my disabled friend or family member? - home care elderlyDeciding on the right form of ongoing health care for a loved one can be a tough decision but one that should not be taken lightly. Today, there are countless options for those of all ages in need of all types of care. In-home care and assisted living have become the two most popular forms of out-of-hospital care options and for good reason, they both provide patients the health care they require while maintaining some form of independence.

While the two have many similarities, they also are very different. It’s important to have a discussion with a physician in order to understand which option is best for you or your loved one. As a leading Minnesota home care agency, Best Home Care takes pride in helping individuals understand their options to make important decisions regarding their health. Below is a brief overview of in-home care and assisted living centers as well as some advantages of each.

In-Home Care: Under this type of care, the patient continues living in their current home and receives regular visits from a home caregiver or personal care assistant. The individual receives professional assistance with various activities of daily living depending on their specific home care plan. The individual can hire a family member or friend to provide these home care services.

            Advantages

Assisted Living Centers: Under this type of care, the patient moves into and lives in a residence with others in need of care where they receive services from the staff. Care services are typically available 24-hours a day however individuals live their day-to-day life independently.

            Advantages

  • Offers round the clock care for an individual’s disability or condition
  • Allows individuals to maintain independence in a controlled and safe environment

It’s important to learn as much as you can when deciding on a proper path for the care of your loved one. Take advantage of Best Home Care’s free home care resources and contact our home care professionals to learn more about in-home care and to discover if hiring a personal care assistant is the right option for your loved one.

Best Home Care Featured in the Star Tribune

In home supportive Services, At Home CareOn March 21st, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a feature in the Business section on Best Home Care and founder Andre Best. The article, authored by Neal St. Anthony, profiled our Twin Cities home care agency and specifically highlighted Best’s continued efforts to fight fraud within Minnesota’s home care industry. St. Anthony wrote a great piece on Best Home Care in February of 2015 and this current article served as a follow up on Best’s progress to improve billing practices for home care agencies.

Read the entire article here!

Billing fraud within the home care industry is nothing new and it’s something we here at Best Home Care continue to fight everyday. Currently, Minnesota tax payers pay $600 million to home care providers each year however, it’s estimated that overcharging for in home supportive services not delivered to patients costs Minnesota taxpayers tens of millions annually. While there has been progress to help fight this type of fraud, much can still be done.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services recently initiated a procedure that involves random phone calls to ensure a home care provider and their patient are together when they are scheduled to be. While this is a step in the right direction, our home care professionals know there is more that can be done to ensure taxpayers’ money is being used appropriately. We believe that embracing current technology is the most effective way to enforce home care laws and quality standards.

Best Home Care is piloting compliance software for a mobile phone application that will track the amount of hours a personal care assistant works as well as verifying services. Learn more about the software here. To ensure the billed work is being completed as it is filed, the app requires a PCA or caregiver to randomly photograph themselves with their patient and tags their location at the beginning and end of their shift.

As a leading Minneapolis home health care agency, Best Home Care takes pride in providing quality and reputable at home care services for our clients. Contact us to learn how we are working to ensure honest and fair home care practices throughout Minnesota!

Home Care’s Benefits for Those Living With Lupus and Their Caregivers

Minneapolis home care agency, at home care, personal care assistants, home care planAccording to the Lupus Foundation, 1.5 million people live with lupus in the United States and 16,000 new diagnoses are made each year. Since its symptoms mimic those of other diseases, these statistics may actually underestimate how widespread the chronic condition is. Lupus is a disorder of the immune system in which it mistakes normal, healthy cells for disease-causing invaders. There is no way to tell where in the body the immune system will flare up so it is difficult for doctors to provide a prognosis and associate any set symptoms with the disease.

Since the disorder attacks different areas of the body, it is hard to profile specific symptoms of the disease like other chronic diseases. The most common symptoms of lupus include:

  • Pain and swelling in joints
  • Muscle pain
  • Unexplained fevers
  • Chest pain when breathing deep
  • Oral ulcers
  • Constant fatigue without a reason

Providing PCA services for those with lupus can be difficult as the flare-ups come unannounced. Personal care assistants forming a home care plan will find lupus a difficult case as patients can sometimes go decades without a symptom. There are some things that science advises caregivers to do to reduce the likelihood of a flare up.

  • Medication is critical for the treatment of lupus. PCAs should ensure that lupus at home care patients take the correct prescriptions at the right time.
  • Studies have shown that stress can trigger lupus flares. Caregivers should create a relaxed home care environment for their patient.
  • Clinical studies have shown that exposure to sunlight can trigger flare-ups. Home caregivers should ensure that lupus patients wear protective clothing and use a high SPF sunscreen.

The best way to cope with lupus is to be knowledgeable and prepared. As a top Minneapolis home care agency, Best Home Care seeks to be a resource for those living with lupus and the personal care assistants and family caregivers that care for them. Browse the Best Home Care website for valuable caregiving resources and contact our home care professionals to learn more about providing home care for lupus patients.

PCA Choice vs Traditional PCA – Which is Right for Your Home Care Services?

How Home Care Workers Ease the Caregiving Burden of Alzheimer’s Disease - home dementia careIn order to receive home care services in the state of Minnesota, individuals must work with a PCA provider agency that is enrolled with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). Then they need to decide whether they will work with a PCA Choice or Traditional PCA Agency. While this process helps to ensure that people have choices in how their services are delivered, it can also be rather confusing. We here at Best Home Care provide educational tools to make it easier to understand the complexities of home care. Below is an overview of the two kinds of PCA provider options available to Minnesotans:

PCA Choice

The PCA Choice option gives people more control of their at home care than the Traditional PCA model. People on the PCA Choice model receive less frequent qualified professional or nurse visits, as they are the ones primarily responsible for their care. PCA Choice recipients are also responsible for:

  • Hiring, training, supervising and scheduling their staff
  • Maintaining a written agreement with their PCA Choice provider agency
  • Working with their PCA to make sure their health and safety needs are met
  • Developing their own home care plan
  • Providing their own back up staffing in case of an emergency

Traditional PCA

Under this option, the provider agency (either a Personal Care Provider Organization or a Medicare-certified Home Health Agency) is responsible for the administrative tasks surrounding the personal care assistant providing care. People on the PCA Traditional model receive more frequent qualified professional or nurse visits so the agency can be sure services are meeting care plan goals. The agency is also responsible for:

  • Hiring, training, supervising and scheduling staff
  • Monitoring and evaluating PCA staff to ensure care plan goals are being met
  • Developing a care plan to meet the goals identified at the nurse assessment
  • Maintaining back up staffing in case of an emergency

NOTE: Under either the PCA Choice or Traditional PCA models people are entitled to have a caregiver of their choosing. Meaning whether you are PCA Choice or PCA Traditional you get to choose your caregiver, and can have that caregiver be your close friend or relative.

What is the PCA Agency Responsible for?

Home care agencies have several responsibilities whether they are a Traditional or PCA Choice agency. All Minnesota PCA agencies must:

  • Perform criminal background checks on PCAs
  • Ensure workers have completed proper PCA training
  • Provide qualified professional supervision
  • Pay and withhold taxes for PCAs
  • Bill the State for completed services
  • Maintain written agreements with clients and PCAs
  • Maintain documentation of services including timesheets
  • Maintain enrollment with the Department of Human Services

Best Home Care is proud to be a PCA Choice and Traditional PCA provider agency. We’ve helped hundreds of people find the home care solutions they need and we look forward to helping you! Contact our home care professionals to learn more about PCA Choice and Traditional PCA options and find which one is right for you.

Can Smartphones and Watches Replace Traditional Medical Alert Systems?

Senior Home Care, Medical Alert SystemsMedical alert systems are an incredibly important tool for senior home care patients and those living with paralysis. Not only do these easy-to-use systems allow individuals to maintain their independence, they provide family members with peace of mind knowing their loved one is able to contact help in the event of an emergency.

We here at Best Home Care have noticed an interesting trend occurring over the past few years as new technology slowly replaces the traditional medical alert system. Smartphones and smartwatches are increasingly being used in place of expensive medical alert systems and their pricey subscriptions. Recently, there have been a number of stories about the intelligent assistance system in these devices saving the lives of their owners. This innovative technology is being incorporated into home care plans; allowing those receiving at-home care to live much more independent lives.

“Hey Siri” and “Okay Google”

Voice command software in the iPhone, Nexus, and other Android phones allow an individual to contact help without ever touching their phone. In the event of an emergency, simply stating, “Hey Siri, call 9-1-1” or “Okay Google, dial emergency services” will connect the home care patient with a local dispatcher. Voice commands benefit the home health care for seniors in the event of a fall or for those living with paralysis if they are unable to reach their phone.

Over the past few years, smartwatches have exploded in popularity and so has their use in the home health care industry. As a smartphone extension for your wrist, seniors are increasingly using smartwatches as a medical alert system wherever they go. Doing so eliminates the need to carry their smartphone with them and allows them to move confidently within and outside of their home.

Note: Those interested in using a smartphone as a medical alert system should schedule a test-call with their local 911 dispatcher to ensure it works properly.

Apple iPhone’s Medical ID

A lesser-known feature of Apple’s iPhone is the Medical ID as part of the Health app. This tool makes basic medical information accessible from the smartphone’s lock screen. If the owner were to become unresponsive, an EMT can use this app to quickly find critical information and provide better care. Click here to learn how to set up your Medical ID and be better prepared for an emergency.

Technology touches every industry and home health care is no exception. As a leading Minneapolis home care agency, Best Home Care works to stay on the cutting edge of new trends in our field in order to provide the best service for all of our home care professionals. Contact us to learn more ways technology is impacting home care services and how you can start including it into your PCA services!

Setting Home Caregiving Goals for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Home Care For People With Cerebral Palsy - in home medical careCerebral palsy refers to a number of neurological conditions that are caused by brain damage during pregnancy or in the early years of life. There are several known causes for cerebral palsy, including brain bleeds and traumatic childhood injuries, however many reasons are still unknown. Currently, there is no cure for cerebral palsy but many advances have been made in the treatment of children and adults living with cerebral palsy. At home care and in home supportive services augment these treatments by promoting the proper development of children growing up with cerebral palsy.

As a leading Minnesota home care agency, Best Home Care serves family members and home caregivers caring for children living with cerebral palsy in the Twin Cities. Our home care professionals have found that cerebral palsy presents some unique challenges that don’t easily fit in typical home care plans. In most cases, the best caregiving strategy involves setting daily goals that encourage the child to live more independently and socially. It’s important that children affected by cerebral palsy start to develop these traits early on in life and home care services can have a huge impact on this.

Here are some ways personal care assistants and parents/guardians caring for a child with cerebral palsy can set daily goals for their home care:

  • Practice activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing. An example of a small goal might be: learning to put on socks by the end of the month.
  • Encourage social interaction whenever possible. An example of this is saying “please” and “thank you” when out to eat or in other public situations.
  • Promote self-independence of the child at every opportunity. For example, instead of bringing them a toy encourage them to get the toy for themselves if they are able.

Home caregiving goals will (and should) shift depending on the child’s age and specific abilities. The purpose is to challenge children to become more independent and social on whatever level is appropriate.

If you are caring for a child with cerebral palsy, turn to Best Home Care for assistance and guidance with your home care services.

Learn About this Special Tax Exemption for Personal Care Assistants and Family Caregivers!

Minneapolis home care agency, Twin Cities Home Care Americans are currently in the heart of tax season. Some individuals look forward to this time of year and have their taxes done before the ball drops on New Years Eve. Then there are the rest of us that drag out the process of filing our taxes for weeks or months. No matter which type of “tax filer” you are, Best Home Care is here to provide helpful guidance for personal care assistants, home care professionals, and family caregivers in the Twin Cities.

We here at Best Home Care recently came across a special tax exemption for home caregivers that meet certain criteria. After doing some research on this topic and speaking directly with the IRS, we discovered that seven of our home care employees qualified for this exemption. Thanks to this exemption, these home caregivers will be able to keep hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars this tax season.

This discovery is big news around our Minneapolis home care agency and we wanted to share it so other home care professionals could take advantage of it. In simple terms, a caregiver’s income is exempt from federal and state taxes if:

  • The patient receiving PCA services is on a Medicaid waiver; and
  • The family caregiver or PCA live with the patient receiving home care service

NOTE: People who care for recipients of PCA services who are not on a Medicaid waiver may still qualify for this exemption. According to the IRS, ” Whether the Service will treat payments under a state program other than a state Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waiver program as difficulty of care payments excludable from gross income will depend on the nature of the payments and the purpose and design of the program.” Visit the IRS Website to learn more.

It’s important to note that this exemption is restricted to the income that the home caregiver receives for caring for the patient they live with.

This tax exemption was enacted as a way to assist individuals that would otherwise require care in a hospital, nursing facility, or intermediate care facility to receive care in the individual care provider’s home. In January of 2014, Notice 2014-7 was issued that stated the IRS would treat Medicaid waiver payments in these situations as difficulty of care payments excludable from gross income. For more information on this tax exemption for home caregivers, visit the IRS website.

There is a good chance that you may qualify for this exemption if you provide senior home care or adolescent home care services for a family member. To learn more, contact the home care professionals at Best Home Care! We recently helped seven of our employees save on their taxes this season and we look forward to helping you next!