Researching the best care for your elderly parent can be difficult, especially when some terms are used interchangeably. Understanding the differences between various kinds of senior care is crucial when deciding what is best for the care of your loved one.
In order to help eliminate any confusion, here’s a look at two types of eldercare that will inform your decision on providing your loved ones with the assistance they need.
Skilled care for the elderly and custodial care are two great options for seniors, and their differences should be closely identified so that your loved one gets the safety and attention they need to protect their wellbeing.
Skilled care is a high level of care provided by licensed medical professionals.
Patients often receive skilled care due to a short-term medical condition from which they are expected to recover. Services provided can be over the short term for rehabilitation from an illness or injury, or services may be provided over the long term for patients who frequently need a high level of care due to a chronic medical condition.
Skilled care requires a qualified person to provide it, meaning this care is always provided by a licensed health care professional and is usually ordered by a doctor. Depending on the level of care necessary, seniors will be under the care of licensed medical personnel; this may include registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, licensed vocational nurses or physical therapists, occupational therapists, or speech therapists, depending on the level of skill and care needed for your loved ones.
Skilled elder care can take place at home if your loved one wants to age in place. As more seniors are choosing to stay home, home health agencies are offering the skilled services of licensed medical professionals who will travel to your home, or your loved one’s home, each day. Home health agencies allow seniors to receive highly effective medical treatment from the comfort of their own homes, providing a level of independence.
While choosing to stay home is a great choice for many, seniors who need to can opt to have their care done at a nursing home facility. This is option is excellent for seniors who may need more assistance than can be done at home or who may be at higher risk without 24/7 medical attention nearby and at the ready.
But this doesn’t mean seniors can’t remain relatively independent while receiving care at a nursing home facility. Skilled nursing care facilities are typically used for short-term rehabilitation, so your loved one may be able to return home after the care is complete.
Skilled care does not assist seniors with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, housekeeping, cooking, and other day-to-day living activities. Instead, certified health professionals are there to provide physical therapy, wound care, intravenous injections, catheter care, medication administration, and other medically-needed assistance. Once your loved one has reached the end of their skilled care they can either go home or stay in the nursing home facility to be under custodial care.
Medicaid may cover skilled care, but state Medicare programs have different rules to determine if skilled care is medically necessary for your loved one. Skilled care is also typically more expensive than custodial care.
For those seniors who have long-term care insurance, the high cost of skilled senior care is more manageable. Still, navigating the ins and outs of settling LTC insurance claims can be daunting; a team like Family Solutions for Care that is on your side can help facilitate the process.
Custodial care is the kind of care that can be safely done by someone without a medical background. This kind of care is a popular form of long-term support for seniors whose primary needs are non-medical. Patients receiving custodial care often have a chronic condition, and they are not expected to recover.
Custodial care is usually recommended by a medical professional, yet the care is performed by personnel like nurse aides or personal care assistants.
Custodial caregivers aren’t required to have any formal medical training as they are limited to performing primary duties. However, some custodial caregivers will opt for some basic training or certification to become a personal care assistant or a home health care aide.
Seniors who need custodial care often have a healthy family support system to meet their additional needs that non-medical caregivers cannot give, such as medication administration.
Custodial care can take place at your home (or your loved one’s home), or in a nursing home care facility. Custodial caregivers work in various facilities but most often provide in-home care services for seniors with minimal needs and who want to age in place.
Patients receiving custodial care receive assistance with daily activities. Caregivers are often helping seniors out of bed, bathing, dressing, cooking, laundry, and other household duties, including managing finances.
Custodial care also assists patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s, as these patients tend to wander or become confused, and they require additional support.
Medicaid may cover custodial care if the care is done in a nursing home setting, not at home.
Researching care facilities for an elderly parent can be an emotionally draining task. Consulting with care providers and facilities is extremely important before you make a decision.
Ask about necessary state and federal certification and regulations as well as who enforces them. As long as you stay informed and armed with the right questions, your loved one will be in the right hands.