Utah home care

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Home Care and: Common Terms, How to pay for Home Care, Licensing and Questions to ask

Seniors prefer to age in place as long as possible, rather than move into a senior living community. Challenges of aging may cause living at home to become increasingly difficult. People typically think of a retirement home or a nursing home when the time comes for seniors to retire or require care because they can no longer manage all day to day tasks. Utah is a great state to age in place because of the low housing costs and low costs of living -not to mention one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of the United states. Services are available to suit the needs of all seniors.

Home care Caregivers assist in activities of daily living (ADLs). These in-home aides may assist with personal care and monitoring, just like they would receive in a long-term care community. All while they remain in the comfort of their own home. The focus of home care is to keep people healthy and safe.

Does in home care sound ideal? If you’re not sure there are other types and levels of care to fit the requirements of all seniors.

Definitions of types of care

Home Care: Caregiver assistance related to activities of daily living, including: mobility, eating, toileting, bathing and personal hygiene, dressing and grooming or cognition support. These services are typically not covered by medical insurance and do not require a physician’s order.

Home Health: includes skilled nursing services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language therapy and medical social services. A home health care agency may choose to be Medicare certified to be reimbursed for their services. Home health agencies may also teach you how to care for yourself. Services ordered by a physician, covered by Medical Insurance and typically provided following a hospital or skilled rehab stay.

Rehabilitation & Therapy: treatment for an injury, illness, or pain with the goal of restoring function, including nursing and therapy services. Rehab is ordered by
a physician and services are provided by nurses and physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Examples include working with a physical therapist to help you walk and with an occupational therapist to help you get dressed.

Respite Care: short term relief for family caregivers to take a break from the caregiving responsibilities and allows for a healthier and better quality of life for both the caregiver and care receiver. Respite services include: companionship, personal care, recreational activities and security. Respite care can be provided as short stay or for a longer period that allows the family caregiver to go on vacation or a business trip. Longer duration respite care is generally found at select senior housing communities although some Companion services may provide this service in the home.

Hospice Care (Palliative Care): emphasizes comfort measures and counseling to provide social, spiritual and physical support to the dying patient and his or her family. The goals of hospice are to keep the patient as comfortable as possible by relieving pain and other symptoms. Hospice care, is typically offered in the last six months of life and covered under Medicare Part A .

What type of care?

In home care is an advantageous care option for those individuals who may need some assistance but want to stay home and are not ready to move into an assisted living community. This is non-medical care, but the caregivers can work with the individual to craft a plan to fit their needs.

What services are included in home care?

In home care provides a variety of services to promote safety and health. This level of care is for people who need some assistance but are otherwise independent. Making life comfortable and easier for the individual is the purpose and priority of home care. Caregivers are there to make sure seniors are comfortable and happy.

  • Companionship 
  • Socialization 
  • Cognitive stimulation 
  • Medication reminders 
  • Grocery shopping 
  • Transportation 
  • Respite for family caregivers 

Often times, people think of nursing homes or retirement homes as the only places for senior care. As we’ve discussed earlier, there are multiple care options. And even within home care, there are levels of care suited for the needs of patients.

Different types of in-home care options, which service various levels of care: 

Personal Care Assistant 

  • Companionship as well as assistance with activities of daily living, (non-medical personal care) toileting, dressing, grooming, and bathing.  
  • They can help with grocery shopping and meal preparation. 
  • A personal care assistant can help with family difficulties. If a family caregiver must leave town or be away from the home overnight the caretaker can stay with the individual and monitor and assist as needed. 
  • If a spouse is too heavy, a personal assistant can be a great asset in helping the individual move without risk of injury. 
  • These care assistants cannot perform any medical care. 

Companion Care 

  • These companions spend time with older adults. Providing companionship is especially relevant for people who live alone, or do not leave the house due to cognitive impairments or frailty.  
  • These companions are there to look after the person, keep a watchful eye, act as an extension of the person to help with mobility and general physic functions.  
  • They may drive the person to appointments, prepare light meals and snacks. They may even play games or read and listen to music together. 
  • Companion care is a great way to bring social interaction and assistance to a person who may otherwise spend long periods of time alone. 

Home Health Care

  • Home health is the only type of home care associated with skilled nursing or any therapy services.  
  • This type of care is of a much higher-level medical care and therapy. 
  • Home health aides must have a nursing degree or certification or go through specialized training.

Standard home care services do NOT involve any medical care.

Utah licensing and regulations regarding care

The Health Facility Licensing, Certification and Resident Assessment, a part of the Division of Health and Human Services regulates all healthcare providers and facilities in the state of Utah. Policies and procedures regarding home care vary state to state. Utah has their own regulations regarding Medicaid eligible seniors, which may provide up to 60 hours per month of in home care services for low income individuals.

  • Each state, Medicaid Program, and Accredited Body have their own set regulations to follow.  
  • States require agencies adhere to the policies and procedures to guarantee your State Home Care License and Private Duty Accreditation. 

Example: In Texas, the Texas Health and Human Services is responsible for licensing.

Grievances: 

  • The agency should have a plan in place for families to voice any grievances or complaints. 
  • The person receiving care has extensive rights pertaining to the provided services.  

The individual under care has the right to file a complaint with the agency: 

  • Regarding their treatment and care provided. 
  • The failure of the agency to provide certain care. 
  • The lack of respect for property and/or person. 
  • Individuals have the right to participate in and be informed about, and consent to or refuse care in advance of and during treatment. 

What are the costs of home care?

The average monthly cost for 40 hours a week of home care in Utah is $5,625 her month. This is more expensive than the national average of $4,960. Costs may vary depending on what region within the state.

Home care in Salt lake City averages $5,100 per month, which is below the state average and also the largest city in the state. Provo is higher than the state average at $5,800 per month. The lower end of in home care in Utah is in the lower northeast corner of the state, Logan, where home are averages $$4,995 per month.

Across the United States, the cost of home care may be much cheaper or much more expensive than the median cost mentioned above. The cost for a month of home care in Washington averages to $6,550, whereas in Louisiana the average cost for a month of home care is $3,650.

Medicaid and home care in Utah

The Utah state Medicaid plan covers the cost of care in nursing homes for seniors and disabled individuals, as well as some in-home personal care. The Utah State Plan Medicaid Personal Care Services program may support qualified individuals to provide in-home care services.

How to pay for home care

Medicare: 

Medicare does NOT cover standard home care including: 

  • Companion services 
  • Grocery shopping 
  • Meal preparation 
  • Light housekeeping 
  • Transportation 

Medicare does NOT cover personal care assistance including ADLS: 

  • Bathing 
  • Dressing 
  • Eating

Medicaid: 

Medicaid does cover home health for seniors who are eligible. 

Each state has its own Medicaid programs in place. As a result, eligibility and services fluctuate state to state.  

  • Home care services may be covered by regular state ran Medicaid and may also be offered under the Home and Community Based Services Medicaid Waivers. 

State Medicaid: 

In-home personal care services (dressing, bathing, eating, etc.) are not federally mandated, some states may offer them via Regular Medicaid. 

Long-term care insurance: 

An individual’s private insurance may help with some of the cost of home care. This usually pertains to long-term care insurance. 

  • The purpose of long-term care insurance is to cover senior care, which includes home care. Though, be aware that coverage varies depending on the insurance provider, the specific policy, and other factors. 
  • It is common that long-term care insurance will only start to cover care when the person with the policy requires assistance with two or more ADLs. 
  • As a result of the above, individuals who only need companion care may not be covered by their long-term care insurance.  
  • Typically, purchasing long-term care insurance is not an option if you are at the point where you already need care. 

Veteran aid and assistance: 

This benefit is available to some military veterans or surviving spouses. 

  • A veteran may qualify for as much as $2,050 each month. 
  • A veteran with a sick spouse may be eligible for $1,600 per month. 
  • If a veteran has passed, their surviving spouse can qualify for $1,300 per month. 

Private pay: 

  • Many families pay for care with private funds. 
  • Private pay can be a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments. 
  • Family members may contribute funds toward a loved one’s care. 

Questions and inquiries for home care agencies

Agency Information

  • Is the agency RN operated?
  • Is the agency a franchise or locally owned and operated?
  • Is the agency licensed by WA State Department of Health?
  • Is the agency licensed for both home care and home health?
  • Does the agency have liability insurance?
  • Can the agency respond to you 24/7?

Caregiver Information

  • Are employees licensed, bonded & insured? Or are they independent contractors?
  • Does the agency test skills, conduct behavioral interviews and verify caregiver credentials?
  • Are caregivers required to have current certifications for First Aid, CPR, and TB?
  • Are caregivers provided continuing education/training?
  • Can authorized individuals monitor care and make requests online in real time?
  • Does the agency offer caregiver replacement when the “fit” may not be right?

Documentation and Supervision

  • Does an RN/MSW/Care Manager conduct a free home care assessment?
  • Does an RN/MSW/Care Manager create a home care plan?
  • Does an RN/MSW/Care Manager supervise the caregivers?
  • Do caregivers receive client orientation before arriving at a client’s home?

Policies and Cost

  • Can services be cancelled with a 4-hour notification?
  • Does the agency offer flexible scheduling, custom care plans, and  a continuum of care?
  • Does the agency have weekly or monthly minimums?
  • What is the hourly minimum per shift?
  • Does the agency offer home care discounts?
  • What is the required deposit?
  • Will the agency accept long-term care insurance?

Additional Resources 

The Utah Department of Health & Human Services

New York Life is a trusted and reliable insurance company that provides extensive insurance plans. 

Care Availability has a gamut of information that helps you navigate and understand types of care. 

Retirement Connection (FAQs)

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is an excellent source for information about coverage and the regulations that govern types of care. 

Medicare’s hub for all things related to Medicare coverage. The ultimate resource for anyone looking for Medicare coverage or individuals who are already covered and need additional information. 

USA.GOV. The official website for all government information. 

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Written by The Care Availability Team
Experts in the senior care & retirement living industries

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