Differences Between Home Care and Private Duty Home Care

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There’s so many types of services that are available for our seniors out there. But today I want to focus on two. I’d like to point out the differences between home care and private duty home care.

Welcome to The Senior Circle, where we hope to inspire and help others by providing valuable, relevant information related to caring for an elderly loved one. Hi, my name is Dawn Neely and I’ll be your host. Thank you for joining us.

Today I want to talk about the differences that exist between home care and private duty home care, also referred to as skilled care versus non-skilled care. So a lot of people that we talk to will say to us, “Well, we don’t think we’re gonna need any help because the hospital told us we’re gonna have home care when mom comes home.” And that’s great. It’s something that I’m really grateful for. A lot of our customers, our seniors, benefit so much from that.

But I’d like to talk about the difference between skilled home care and private duty services. So after a hospitalization or a stay at, for example, a rehabilitation center, it’s very common to have home care prescribed for someone that is returning to their home environment. And what that means is that you’ll have skilled care coming in. Typically a nurse will visit one, maybe two times a week, but their goals are to assess your situation, assess your health, take vitals, make sure that medications are being taken properly, make sure there aren’t any adjustments that need to be taken, or made to those medications, and help communicate with the physician. There’s also a physical therapist that could be assigned as well that will come in once or twice a week in order to do exercises, to teach mobility exercises so that those things can be improved upon as the home caring continues. An occupational therapist may also be prescribed, someone to come in and make sure that the house is safe, make sure that any adjustments that need to be made, for example, in the kitchen and things of that nature are done. Perhaps speech therapy as well. But those are the types of things that home care will handle. They can handle wound care as well.

These are things that are all prescribed by a doctor. Typically, each of these visits are gonna last, 30 minutes to 45 minutes each time. And it’s very helpful because it does certainly help in the recovery of someone that’s had a hospital stay or, like I said, a stay in a rehabilitation center.

Private duty, on the other hand, comes into play when there are challenges with mobility, challenges with the ability to handle a lot of the activities of daily living (ADL) on a regular basis. So private duty is a service that can be contracted so that things such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, transportation, assistance with personal grooming and bathing are taken care of. Things of this nature aren’t necessarily prescribed by a physician, but it’s realized by the senior themselves or a loved one that the needs that they’re going to have on a daily basis are greater than those that can be met two or three times a week that the home care is going to be covering.

In terms of costs of these types of care, any skilled care that is prescribed by a physician would be typically covered by Medicare up to 35 hours a week and wouldn’t be at the cost of a person that’s requiring the assistance. Private duty home care, as it’s not prescribed by a physician, is, unfortunately, not something that Medicare typically covers and is something that, many times, is paid out of pocket. There are different programs that can help with private duty home care, such as veterans benefits. Some veterans have the eligibility to receive a certain number of hours a week, a month, of service. That is helpful. People with long-term care insurance plans that have care on their plans are also eligible, many times, for that benefit. There are different ways that can be looked at in different avenues, but typically, private duty home care is an out of pocket expense. Sometimes, what you’ll find is that a skilled care company also provides private duty home care. So the services might be provided by the same company, but only the prescribed services are actually what’s covered by Medicare and the other services would be private pay.

If you are going to require private pay services, just some things to keep in mind is, you know, you want to verify a couple of things with the person or company that’s providing the services. Are they bonded and insured? Do they conduct criminal background checks? Are there supervisory visits? Do they have backups in place? things of that nature.

But I hope this has been helpful in terms of determining the difference between skilled care and non-skilled care. But if you have any questions or aren’t clear and you’d like to go over that with somebody, we would be happy to help out.

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