Making Homecare a Familiar Choice
What’s the biggest hurdle to getting people to help choose home for care? According to Jennifer Gibson, RN, and the Senior Clinical Specialist at Axxess Technologies in Dallas, TX, it’s the unfortunate reality that many consumers, and even referral services like hospitals and physicians, are not familiar with the industry, and therefore do not look to choose home care as an option for older adults.
Jennifer spent much of her career as a home health nurse, and she is passionate about educating the public and professionals about the benefits of home care. In this podcast episode, Jennifer explains that honoring a senior loved one’s wishes to age at home is now easier than ever, thanks to a growing home care industry that can provide everything from companion care, to skilled nursing care, to end of life hospice care.
Gibson recommends pursuing the following steps if a senior loved one may be looking to choose home care:
- Understand the coverage of the insurance plan. Private insurance, supplemental plans, and even Medicare often have a home care benefit that can be accessed.
- Assess the present and future needs of the older adult. What does your loved one need to remain at home? What will make the home more accessible – grab bars, ramps, etc.? How might those needs change over time?
- Learn about the different home care options. Understanding what each provides will ensure that the senior’s needs are met so he or she can receive the benefits of care at home.
A recent article in The New York Times cites the shrinking number of hospitals in the United States. This trend is due in part to the fact that medical treatment can be provided in locations outside of a traditional hospital: a trend that Gibson points to when explaining how technology is helping to revolutionize home care.
There was a time when home care staff were required to have an atlas in their car in order to navigate to clients’ homes, remembers Gibson. Now, smartphones provide easy and timely directions. Smartphones, tablets, and computers can also help home care staff prioritize clients and allow electronic orders to be sent to physicians, providing a coordination of care that is easy to manage in real time.
Gibson points to the ability to do video conferencing in a HIPAA-compliant environment when a senior loved one’s immediate family lives out of the area. It’s safe to say that as technology continues to evolve, so too will the applications for use in the home care industry.
To learn more about in-home care services, Gibson recommends contacting the Home Health and Hospice Association in your state, as well as the state board of nursing. These organizations can help guide you to find the best option for your loved one.
Listen to the full interview with Jennifer Gibson in the Help Choose Home podcast series by searching for “Help Choose Home” on iTunes, Google, or on any device at https://player.fm/series/help-choose-home.
Help Choose Home is a collaborative effort by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), Axxess, and corecubed, providers of home health marketing, to educate the public about the many benefits of the in-home care industry, which includes non-medical home care, private duty nursing care, medical home health, hospice, and other in-home health and wellness services.