Thursday, December 11, 2008

What every family caregiver should know about Respite Care

If you are a caregiver for a family member, than you know the cost of love. You are most likely...... using vacation time to care for a loved one when help is not available, missing your childrens important school functions and activities, having to leave work early, and arriving late. More times than not, family caregivers have to pass up opportunities for advancement they've worked a lifetime for because they cannot make a committment. There is no time to take care of their own needs and they are tired all the time. Most importantly, less time becomes available to spend with spouse, relationships become jeopardized.

Caring for a family member who is ill or frail can become a 24 hour a day job, usually neglecting your own needs and health. The caregiver becomes drained by the ongoing, every day, responsibility of delivering care, yet, feels an obligation to continue. Caregivers are at an increased risk for becoming depressed and stressed. Anxiety levels rise and as a result the caregiver may subconciously express and verbalize feelings of resentment towards their loved one.

Respite means taking a much needed break or rest from caring for a family member, who cannot care for themselves, before stress and anxiety occur. Respite is the primary mechanism a family caregiver has from the everyday, ongoing, never ending, sometimes,unrewarding job of caring for a family member 24/7. It has been estimated that caregivers provide an average of anywhere between 15-20 hours of care per week in addition to trying to hold on to a job and caring for family.

Respite provides relief from the overwhelming and tiresome task of caring for a loved one who is ill or has special needs. The family caregiver becomes resentful and the family member feels like a burden and therefore experiences guilt feelings, which most often can lead to depression. With respite, caregivers can have a more optimistic outlook about their ability to continue providing care because they were able to have some time for themselves..

Respite care can delay institutionalization of a loved one, thus, eliminating quilt feelings which are often associated with this seemingly selfish act of desperation. Caregivers are overcome by this desperate, helpless, hopeless feeling that it can only get worst and feel their only alternative or way out is institutionalizing the family member. Even though we really know deep down inside that our family members prefer the familiarity of their own home to being institutionalized.

What every caregiver giver wants and and needs the most is respite relief or a break from the everyday chore of caring for a family member. Studies have proven the value of respite to caregivers and their loved ones, it is quaranteed to take the edge off your tension. Respite benefits both the caregiver and the family member by renewing energy levels, reducing tension and strengthening relationships.

While on respite, spend time with family enjoying activities that had to be put aside. Spend time with spouse making up for lost precious moments and try to restore an almost lost relationship. Take a relaxing bubble bath, watch a movie, get a relaxing massage, take a warm soothing bubble bath or just do nothing. Whatever you do on respite make sure it reduces tension and stress and makes you happy.

Many homecare agencies and Assisted living facilities offer respite services for a fee, certain organizations will give you a few hours or sometimes days free of charge. If you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to call me or e-mail me at " .

Vilma Vaccaro

Preferred Homecare Plus


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home care vs Home health

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between home care and home health, companions vs health aides? They are two types of support services you can receive in your own home. They sound similar but are actually two very different services. Home health care is ordered by the physician, usually at the time of discharge, following a hospital admission. It is medically focused and it is covered by Medicare and and other insurances.

Home health care is usually short term, is prescribed as follow up care or to monitor a health problem. It usually involves both a visiting nurse and home health aide. The nurse will assist the patient with changing bandages, monitoring a wound, assessing blood pressure and monitoring glucose levels. The physician writes what is called doctors orders at time of discharge and the skilled care nurse carries them out.

The home health aide assists the patient with their activities of daily living(ADL's), prepares and serves meals, medication reminders and is only there for about three-four hours a day, two-three days a week. Home health is controlled by insurances and are usually short term.

Homecare is not ordered by the physician and is not covered by insurance. It is considered a non-medical homecare service or custodial care. Homecare services are usually paid out of pocket or through a private insurance.

Companion/homemakers assist the adult or elderly population, needing minimal assistance so they can remain at home. Home care is an alternative to Assisted living facilities and Nursing homes. Afterall, we all know "There is no place like home".

Services include, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, caring for personal laundry, errands, transporting clients to doctor appointments, hair/nail salons, medication reminders, walks, conversation and companionship. These are just a few of the services provided by home care companions.

Respite relief is available for those family members who are caring for a loved one and need to take a break or time off. Home care services can either be long term ot short term, from a few days to indefinitely. You are assigned two caregivers, one for everyday and the other as a back up.

Whether you choose Home care or Home health, make sure the workers are bonded, have insurance, have background screenings and drug test performed and have references checked. Ask to meet the caregiver prior to services being rendered, find out some information about them by asking questions.

You want an agency that supervises and monitors their workers, provides quality homecare and has quality assurance checks performed on an ongoing basis. Make a list of your needs and then decide whether you need home care or home health.

Vilma Vaccaro
Preferred Homecare Plus

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Preferred Homecare

This is my blog about the healthcare industry.