Virginia Home Care: Common Terms, How to pay for Home Care, Licensing and Questions to ask
The senior population of Virginia is expected to increase to nearly 24% over the next several years. As of 2021 there were over 1 million seniors aged 65 and older. Aging adults enjoy living in Virginia because of the laidback beach lifestyle in combination with the big city amenities. And even while enjoying the comfortable life Virginia offers, some seniors will require care at some point. Most of the time, when people think of senior care the first thing they envision is a nursing home. This couldn’t be further from the truth: There are many different types and levels of care for our population of people 65 and older aside from nursing homes. Typically, people prefer to age in place as long as possible, rather than move into a senior living community – but the challenges of aging may cause living at home to become increasingly difficult. The focus of Virginia home care is to keep people healthy and safe.
Virginia is home to several cities where seniors may receive high quality healthcare: Virginia Beach, Richmond. Norfolk, Roanoke, Williamsburg, among others.
- Virginia Home Care: Common Terms, How to pay for Home Care, Licensing and Questions to ask
- What is home care in Virginia?
- How do you know it may be time for Home Care?
- What Assistance do In-Home Care Aides Provide?
- What are the different home care options?
- Laws and regulations in Virginia
- How much does home care cost in Virginia?
Home care and aging in place
In home care services include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). These in-home aides may assist with personal care and monitoring like they would receive in a long-term care community. All while they remain in the comfort of their own home.
What is home care in Virginia?
Home Care (or In home Care) is suited for seniors who may only require some basic assistance at home. Care plans can be customized for each individual. In Virginia, the in home aides may support with activities of daily living (ADLs), which include medication reminders, assistance with bathing and eating. Generally, they can help with housekeeping, chores, running errands as needed, and accompanying seniors to appointments. Home Care may be an excellent care options for family members if they must leave town or just need a break from caring for their loved one. Home Care aides bring a sense of personalization, providing companionship and socialization, a sense of connection.
How do you know it may be time for Home Care?
What are the signs to look for?
Have you noticed your loved one is spending less and less time managing their hygiene or personal appearance. They may stop brushing their teeth or let their facial hair grow in an unkempt fashion when they didn’t before. Are they going longer periods of time in the same clothing, or neglecting relatively scheduled eating habits? Grooming and hygiene live under the umbrella of ADLs, and as such a Personal Care Assistant may help with these tasks.
Is your loved one forgetting things more frequently? Typically, people forget things sometimes, but if you notice they are forgetting simple tasks they normally perform regularly, this may be a a sign that assistance is necessary.
It is not uncommon for elderly adults to experience trouble walking, getting up from a seated position or need help getting in and out of bed. Signs like this can be dangerous. The risk of a fall increases as mobility declines. The aide of a home care caregiver may assist with moving around the house safely.
Did you notice your loved one’s home is in disarray? Have they usually shown signs of tidiness or regular cleanliness, and now the home is disheveled and dirty. In Home Aides may assist in normal household maintenance like dusting and sweeping, cleaning the kitchen or doing laundry.
What Assistance do In-Home Care Aides Provide?
Home Care Aides provide a variety of services and assistance. Depending on the individuals condition, elderly adults may require different types of care.
Services included in home care:
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 an individuals needs. The specific services offered in home care will vary state by state.
What are the different home care options?
The various care services and options
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.
- 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
*A different type of home care service.
- 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.
Laws and regulations in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Health is responsible for licensing and overseeing all home health and home care agencies in the state of Virginia. Any agency which provides services including personal care must be licensed by the state.
All new staff must undergo a criminal background check. These new employees may not work directly with clients until the criminal background check has returned and they are cleared for employment.
All home care aides (providers) are required to complete a nurse education course or a state-approved evaluation to determine competency for the required tasks and services.
All agencies 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.
How much does home care cost in Virginia?
the average cost of home care in Virginia is about $185 less than the national average. Virginia sits at abut the middle of costs for home care in the region.
- National average cost of home care per month: $5,000
- Virginia: $4,775
- Delaware: $5,350
- Maryland: $5,150
- Pennsylvania: $5,000
- North Carolina: $4,400
- West Virginia: $3,535
The cost of home care in Virginia varies dramatically across the state.
- Charlottesville: $6,300
- Washington D.C.: $5,350
- Richmond: $5,150
- Blacksburg: $4,975
- Virginia Beach: $4,775
- Winchester: $4,675
- Lynchburg: $4,200
How to pay for home care
Medicare does NOT cover standard home care including:
- Companion services
- Grocery shopping
- Meal preparation
- Light housekeeping
Medicare does NOT cover personal care assistance including ADLS:
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.
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.
- 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 about home care
- 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?
- 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?
Resources and Links for Home Health, Home Care and Hospice
Eldercare Locator is a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Connect with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver education or respite from caregiving responsibilities. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Administration for Community Living.
Medicare provides a search feature to find & compare providers near you, most senior housing and care providers are included on CareAvailability.com. Find & compare plans in your area. Determine if you qualify for premium savings.
Medicaid offers information on how to apply for Medicaid, eligibility criteria, links to local state offices, and additional resources.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease, information and resources are available.
Hospice Foundation of America is to provide leadership in the development and application of hospice and its philosophy of care with the goal of enhancing the U.S. health care system and the role of hospice within it.
National Association for Home Care & Hospice is a trade association that represents the nation’s 33,000 home care and hospice organizations and the caregivers who provide in-home health and hospice services.
The Virginia Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and promoting the health of Virginians. The VDH is made up of a statewide Central Office in Richmond and 35 local health districts. These entities work together to promote healthy lifestyle choices that can combat chronic disease, educate the public about emergency preparedness and threats to their health, and track disease outbreaks in Virginia.
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