Ronald Fatoullah & Associates - Elder Law

What constitutes home health care and personal care assistance?

As people age, they are more likely to need help with basic care. This doesn't necessarily mean that they need home health care, but they might just need some custodial care. These are two distinct programs that are handled in different ways.

One thing that some individuals might not realize is that Medicare and Medicaid are very selective in what they will pay for. There is a chance that you will have to cover these costs out of pocket, which can be costly.

What differences exist for home health care and home care?

Home health care must be done by a licensed individual. This can be a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner or a certified nursing aide, depending on various regulations. These individuals provide medical care, such as medication administration, wound cleaning and vital sign monitoring. They are usually hired through an agency, and are likely going to cost more than personal care help.

Home care, which is sometimes called personal care assistance, doesn't involve any form of medical assistance. Instead, these individuals can help you with daily living tasks like bathing, dressing, cooking, grocery shopping or cleaning. This service is usually less expensive than home health care.

What is the cost? estimates that you can expect to pay around $48,000 per year in in-home care costs if you have someone helping 40 hours per week. Interestingly, that is also the approximate cost of assisted living, which averages $4,000 per month in this country.

The level of care you need can play a part in how much you will pay for in-home care costs, so people who have extensive needs usually find that skilled nursing homes or assisted living communities are a budget-friendly option. Still, you must ensure that you know how you will cover these costs since they can be rather high.

Part of coming up with your estate plan is ensuring that you will be able to cover these costs while still protecting assets. One of the first things you need to do is to review your coverage with Medicare or Medicaid to determine what they will cover for home care or home health care options. In some cases, these benefits are dubbed "aging in place" benefits. Don't wait until you need the care to find out what options you have. Some Medicaid planning methods must be done well in advance of needing the benefits.

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