Survey after survey has told us that the majority of Americans want to grow old in their own homes. Healthy or infirm, seniors want to be in a familiar environment, surrounded by their belongings and their loved ones.
There are cases, too, when the loved ones drive the decision: Living independently has become difficult, impractical, or dangerous. For many, taking care of your parents in their old age is just what you do; keeping a sister stricken with ALS at home because it is easier for friends and family to be with her.
Finances may also drive the decision. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are expensive, and the rules for Medicare are complicated, even, at times, outright punitive. For a long time, though, moving into a place like that was the only way to make sure a nurse checked on the senior on a regular basis.
The increasing availability of qualified in-home health workers has taken some anxiety out of the equation. Having someone come to a person’s home means the patient need not leave the house for a care visit — it’s a twofer: convenience and reduced costs of care. And, of course, the patient and family can avoid the costs of an in-patient care facility — it’s really a threefer.
Healthcare costs are often described in terms of Medicaid reimbursements. The reimbursement is uniform and, in theory at least, reflects best practices. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, home care is dramatically less expensive, in Medicaid dollars, than in-patient care.
In Philadelphia, for example, home care runs to about $76 per day, the department says. In-patient care runs closer to $230 per day, or three times as much.
The problem for the elderly and their families, however, is how to pay for home care. We’ll explain more in our next post.
Source: Mainline Media News, “Senior Care Notes: Paying for homecare,” Ed Rofi, April 8, 2015