Home healthcare is medical care or support administered in the person home where the client or patient is actually living, rather than care provided at a facility such as nursing homes or clinics. This type of care is becoming more common for senior citizens, who may need periodic assistance with daily activities but can’t afford to live at home. Senior home care is also called live-in care, domiciliary care or residential care. For those individuals who need assistance with their daily activities but can’t live at home, live-in aides, which are sometimes referred to as live-in companions, can provide help, including companionship, through the use of trained aids.
In addition to basic assistance with daily activities, home healthcare workers provide emotional support and therapy as needed. Some of the services that are offered by home healthcare workers include helping with bathing and grooming, transportation, medication reminders, medication intake and helping with meals. A number of agencies contract with private home healthcare workers to provide this type of assistance. Live-in aides may be paid an hourly rate or may be paid on a salary or fee basis.
There are several types of home healthcare worker jobs available. The majority of contracts involving live-in care work with an agency or nursing facility provide for long term employment. Some agencies hire workers on a part-time or hourly basis. Agencies and facilities tend to specialize in specific needs of their clients, so certain tasks may be completed by one caregiver while another works on a different task. Some examples of tasks that may be completed by two or more caregivers include but are not limited to assisting with bathing and grooming, helping with meal preparation, transportation, medication reminders and medication intake.
Part-time home healthcare workers can also work on an as-needed basis. Most contracts involving live-in care arrangements with an agency or facility require that the worker be available for at least 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, it is possible for a caregiver to be available for fewer hours or longer if required. In some instances, a shorter amount of care may be required, such as helping with light housework or errands during the day. This type of arrangement is usually made between the client and the agency or facility and is usually less expensive than hiring a full-time caregiver.
Medicare benefits may also be available through a home care services contract. Most of these agreements work by requiring that an agency or facility to provide services to individuals who are eligible for Medicare coverage. However, home healthcare providers are not limited to those enrolled in Medicare.
In order to qualify for Medicare benefits as a home healthcare worker, it is important to understand the rights and protections available to the individual. For example, all workers are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLS) regardless of their geographic location. Also, all U.S. workers should be allowed to join, and exit from, any company at any time without fear of being fired. Also, if the company chooses to dismiss a worker, they must provide written notice. The act also protects other workers who are engaged in similar work at their place of employment but who are not being subjected to the same dangers.
A variety of other resources exist for those interested in becoming home healthcare workers, including internet sites about the employment opportunities available, guides to assist in filling out the necessary forms for coverage, and forums with medical professionals who can offer information on different healthcare facilities. Many states also have their own websites that can be visited to learn more about home healthcare and eligibility requirements. There is no fee involved in applying for either Medicare or Medicaid home healthcare benefits, although sometimes a fee may be charged if the applicant qualifies for one or both programs. (Medicare does not pay for any health care services provided by home healthcare providers.)
There are various groups that can help home healthcare workers obtain these benefits, including labor unions, management companies, hospitals, and nursing homes. These groups can provide helpful information on obtaining the proper documentation and assistance in completing the application process. Unions are particularly useful because they can negotiate a fair contract with the agency handling the home healthcare application process, which can ensure that the services provided are of a high standard and cost effective. Management companies may also help workers receive consideration for employment based on skill, education, experience, and geographic location.