Thursday, December 30, 2010

Planning for Temporary Home Care After the Hospital Stay in Montgomery County PA

Planning for Temporary Home Care After the Hospital Stay

DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS There are two basic levels of home care: skilled and unskilled. Most insurers will pay only for skilled care, but even then you must be homebound and require only temporary care. The hospital should have arranged for short-term nursing care, if needed, before you were discharged. But typically a nurse will also come to your home and evaluate your continuing needs.

Private insurers almost never pay for unskilled help, like a home health aide. If you decide you need more help than your insurer will authorize, first consider whether you need a nurse (who may charge $50 or so an hour) or whether a home health aide will suffice (more like $10 to $38, depending on where you live).

If you do want a skilled nurse, you must get a prescription from your doctor ordering the services, even if insurance is paying.

How do you find a home health aide? It’s usually less expensive to find someone on your own than to go through an agency, so start by asking friends and family for referrals. If you do opt to use an agency, call a few and ask for price quotes. Ask, too, whether they do background checks on their workers. (They should, of course.)

A good place to start is the local visiting nurse agency. These agencies are nonprofit and privately operated, so each one offers slightly different services, but some can provide the services of both nurses and home health aides. For tips on selecting health care agencies, go to the V.N.A.A. Web site at

HIRE A MANAGER If you don’t have the time or stamina to figure out an ideal home health care plan for yourself or a loved one, turn to a health care advocate or, in the case of elderly patients, a geriatric care manager.

These consultants charge an hourly fee of $90 to $160, which is not reimbursed by insurers. But a one-hour consultation could potentially save you hours of precious time.

A nurse advocate or geriatric care manager can explain how insurance and Medicare work and the services you may be entitled to, and they can speak to doctors on your behalf. If you’re interested in hiring a geriatric care manager, contact the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. If you want to find an advocate, you’ll have to ask around for referrals, as there is no central resource.

Continue reading from the New York Times by Clicking Here.

For more home care information in the Montgomery County PA area visit our website at

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