How In-Home Care Companies Determine Care Needs

If you are looking for in-home care for your elderly relatives, you may be wondering just what kind of care you need. Do you need someone during the day because you cannot be there to help your relatives? Do you just need overnight care so you can sleep and they can be cared for? Here is how most home health care companies determine what kinds and levels of care and services you and your elderly relatives need.

The Assessment

There is always an initial in-home assessment. Someone from the home health care agency makes an appointment to meet with you and your elderly relatives. Then the assessing associate (who is usually a registered nurse or Physician's assistant) will look to see how much each relative can do on his/her own and how much help others have to provide. They will ask many questions.

Here are some sample questions commonly asked during the assessment:

  • Does the elderly relative wander and not recall where he/she is from/going to?
  • Has the relative been found out of bed and outside, inappropriately clothed for the weather, or wandering without foot protection?
  • Is the relative losing the ability to speak coherently and/or communicate effectively?
  • Have there been any dangerous moments in the home, e.g. leaving the stove on, placing small electrical appliances near the edge of a bathtub, taking too many pills because the original doses were forgotten, etc.?

If you answer honestly and thoughtfully to these questions, it helps the assessing associate figure out the depth of care required to keep your elderly relatives in their home and keep them safe. It also helps determine whether your relatives need around-the-clock care and supervision or just care and supervision at night, during certain parts of the day, etc.

Re-Evaluation Every Couple of Months

For elderly relatives that have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other degenerative and deteriorating conditions, you can expect home visits for re-evaluations of your relatives' self-care abilities every couple of months. It may be more often if one or both of your relatives suddenly begins a rapid decline. For the most part, however, in-home care companies do everything they can to keep clients/patients in their own homes until their care and their safety become too much for the visiting nursing staff. Sometimes that does not happen until the very end of a person's life (e.g., a week or two before passing away), while at other times it may occur several months before the client/patient passes. That is why these assessments and re-evaluations are so important.