Understanding Aging in Place Home Care Options, Coverage, and Costs

marketing for home care

Help Choose Home Podcast: Interview with Jeannee Parker Martin

marketing for home carePerhaps you know a bit about in-home caregiving, but you aren’t really sure if it’s an option for your senior loved one. Where do you find out more information about aging in place? What types of care services are provided? How much does in-home care cost? Does Medicare or Medicaid cover a percentage of in-home care?

These are all important questions, and helping educate consumers about what is home health care has been the life’s work of Jeannee Parker Martin, president and CEO of LeadingAge California. Martin has been in the home care industry for more than 25 years, previously working with Visiting Nurses Home Health and Hospice in San Francisco, CA, and later as president and co-owner of The Corridor Group, a consulting firm that advises home health agencies.

According to Parker Martin, the most important question a consumer can ask when looking at care options for their senior loved one: Who can I speak with about help in the home? This question triggers the physician to refer the family to a case manager, social worker, or other staff member who is knowledgeable about home care services in your local area. From there, families can assess the information provided and make educated decisions about the viability of in-home care for their senior loved one.

A key service provided by case managers is helping families determine what they can afford when it comes to home care services. In some instances, it may be as simple as having temporary help with yard work after your loved one recovers from a fall. Or, it may be that your senior loved one needs help dressing and preparing meals on an ongoing basis. Some communities have senior service programs or organizations that offer these services complimentary, or at a reduced rate. Medicare, Medicaid, or a managed care program may pay for a portion of in-home care, especially if it is needed following a hospitalization.

While private duty and personal companion type in-home care services might run $50 to $80 per day, 24-hour care, or in-home care for an extended period, can be expensive quickly. Parker Martin recommends working with a case manager to help determine if Medicare or Medicaid will reimburse for in-home care. She also suggests that if your senior loved one has an older long-term care insurance policy, checking on the details of coverage. Some older plans have fewer restrictions and coverage is more robust than policies purchased more recently. A case manager, social worker, attorney or even the issuer of the plan can help interpret the policy’s coverage with regards to home care services.

Keeping older adults in the home setting of their choice, helping them thrive, and providing family caregivers with support and access to community resources are the keys to a successful home care experience. For Parker Martin, the family caregiver is one of the most critical parts of this equation. There are not enough professionally-trained caregivers to meet the needs of an ever-increasing aging population, and family caregivers are on the front lines, filling the gaps in care.

The public health system also benefits when seniors are able to receive in-home care. Fewer long-term hospitalizations save money for Medicare, Medicaid, and health plans, allowing state and federal resources to be extended or directed toward other needs.

In-home care is one of the most critical features of today’s health care delivery system, benefiting a population’s physical, mental and social well-being. Looking forward, Parker Martin emphasizes the importance of people accessing community-based care and home care services, citing documented outcomes that show clear benefits to seniors when they are able to age in the familiarity of home.

Listen to the full interview with Jeannee Parker Martin in the Help Choose Home podcast series to learn more. This episode and others in the series can be found on iTunes, Google or other listening devices.
The Help Choose Home podcast series provides information and resources to help those with a care need learn more about healthcare at home. Podcasts are hosted by Merrily Orsini, president and CEO of corecubed, an agency dedicated to marketing for home care providers.

Help Choose Home is a collaborative effort by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), Axxess, and corecubedto 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.