Home Health Care: A Comprehensive Guide

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

If you are one of the millions of Americans who are caring for a loved one at home, you know how difficult it can be to juggle work, family life, and caregiving responsibilities. You may also be wondering if there is any help available to you. The good news is that there are many resources available to caregivers in the form of home-based long-term care. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss what home-based long-term care is, eligibility requirements, services offered, and more!

What Is Home Health Care?

In-home long-term care services are called home health care and can range from assisting with personal care and homemaker services to programs that assist with the elderly or disabled’s daily requirements at home. They include alternatives that help supplement the duties of primary caregivers and others that aid in meeting their needs.

Personal Care Services

Personal care services are nonmedical help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs):

  • bathing
  • continence
  • grooming
  • eating
  • toileting
  • dressing
  • ambulating
  • transferring

Homemaking services include a wide range of activities that ensure that someone can stay at home. They may include the following:

  • food shopping and meal preparation
  • housekeeping and light chores
  • lawncare and heavy chores
  • financially assisting by paying bills and budgeting
  • meal delivery programs (meals on wheels)
  • running errands
  • transportation services to doctors appointments
  • handyman duties including home repair and maintenance services

In-home LTC services, in addition to family and friends, are provided by a variety of care assistance organizations and agencies.

Home Health Care Services

Home health care services providers are subject to state and federal regulations. Many of them have been certified by Medicare and/or Medicaid.

A wide range of services is covered, including travel to and from the patient’s home. Home health care may be paid for by Medicare when a physician orders supervision or treatment that enables a patient to live at home and engage in routine daily activities without significant assistance.

Home health services are healthcare services that enable seniors to efficiently manage their health care at home. The objective is to promote, keep, or restore a person’s health. There is a lot of individualization in care, which typically includes the following:

  • registered nurses and licensed practical nurses
  • home health aides
  • medical social workers
  • case managers/geriatric care managers
  • physical therapists
  • occupational therapists
  • speech therapists
  • hospice organizations

Hospice Organizations

Hospice care may be received in a facility or at home. Hospice offers professionally coordinated services, including counseling, medical treatment, pain management, and symptom management, as well as social services and spiritual support for people who are terminally ill and their families.

Who Is Authorized To Provide Home Health Care?

Registered Nurses/Licensed Practical Nurses

Practical nurses who are fully qualified and licensed assist with treatment that has been ordered by a patient’s doctor. Such care might include giving prescribed medical therapies, dispensing medicines, monitoring chronic conditions, administering injections, and caring for sores.

Home Health Aides

Home health aides do not provide skilled care as do licensed nurses but do provide personal care, exercises, light housekeeping, and other daily living support.

In most states, home health care aides must be certified. Home health aides may or may not work for a social service organization under the supervision of a nurse. Their goal is to assist people in their own homes to maintain and sustain their daily living functions.

Case Managers/Geriatric Care Managers

Long-term care managers, also known as geriatric care managers, are specialists who evaluate the mental, physical, social, and financial circumstances of people who may require long-term care. Case management begins when the case manager analyzes a variety of data to determine what’s required for each client. The case manager then creates a care plan and manages housing, medical, social, and other services based on what is learned.

Caregivers and their families may turn to case managers for help with long-term care needs. Case managers are frequently social workers or health care experts who specialize in assisting caregivers and their families with long-term care issues.

Case/geriatric managers commonly provide the following services:

  • creating a care plan
  • providing information, arranging, and assisting with LTC services
  • monitoring long-term care needs over time

How Much Does Home Health Care Cost?

According to Genworth, the 2020 annual median cost for home health care (nationally) is $53,768 for homemaker services and $54,912 for home health aides.

How To Pay For Home Health Care At A Fraction Of The Cost

A long-term care annuity is a hybrid annuity that is set up to assist in paying for home health care without causing retirement funds to be depleted. To create a tax-free long-Term Care Insurance benefit, an LTC annuity doubles (200%) or triples (300%) the investment (based on medical records). If there is money in the annuity, it passes along a death benefit to beneficiaries.

If you don’t have a lump sum of money lying around, another great option is a long-term care life insurance policy (LTCi). In simple terms, these policies are designed specifically for long-term care and allow the insured to access the life insurance’s death benefit while alive to pay for LTC costs. Applicants can pay a fixed premium monthly or annually instead of a one-time deposit.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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