The increasing number of the aging population and the corresponding demand for hospital beds has been a major concern in the management of care in modern societies. For instance, having a high number of people from the elderly population in most healthcare facilities creates the need to have an alternative model of care. In that regard, interventions have been adopted to improve the continuation of care and cope with the increasing cost of care, especially for the aging population. This means improving the quality of life and health among this group of people while minimizing the cost of care.
One of the interventions adopted in this case is the home care setting which is viewed as a crucial and viable solution in helping society reduce the cost of care while maintaining quality care among vulnerable groups in society, specifically, aging people with chronic diseases.
WHAT IS HOME CARE?
Home care refers to a formal delivery of care based at home carried out by healthcare professionals and accredited home care agencies in collaboration with family members of the patients. Such care may include nursing, physical therapy or general care services. Therefore, for effective home care services, there is a need to have a coordinated program between healthcare professionals and the patient’s family members.
Most patients, caregivers, and family members consider home care as a great option because those close to the patient are able to offer care conveniently. However, irrespective of the convenience involved, there are concerns raised on the burden associated with it, such as the monetary, physical, and emotional costs involved in implementing the home care plan. It therefore becomes important to look at the possible circumstances that prompt people to consider home care for their loved ones still.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING ON HOME CARE
The care receiver’s opinion
In assessing the signs that may prompt the adoption of home care for patients, the most critical consideration is the person being taken care of and his/her needs. For home care programs, the older person needs to approve it based on what is good in improving their wellbeing. In this case, it is important to look at the issues from the patient’s perspective so that the care plan developed is person-centric. For instance, the sense of “being looked after” is one of the conditions to consider because it first indicates that the patient needs people close to him or her to offer help. Moreover, in this case, the patient must show a sense of satisfaction with regard to the program chosen because that would show independence in the choice of care.
Accessibility of care
The patient’s perceived accessibility, availability, and promptness of services are also important elements to consider when deciding on initiating the home care program. For instance, when care needs to be delivered, the caregiver would need to consider whether the plan proposed would guarantee the promptness of the services as perceived by the patients. Additionally, patients have the perception that home care would guarantee the availability and convenience of services, and so underscores the need to have caregivers as much as possible in close proximity to the patient. Since the patient’s preferences have to be considered, it becomes practical to adopt a home care plan that makes sense to the patient regarding their perception of convenient services.
Good connection with the professional caregiver
Another patient’s need that is important in the adoption of home care is the need for a good connection and interaction between the caregiver and the patient. Home care is essentially providing optimal comfort to the patient in a home setting. Sensitivity, respect, friendliness and empathy are important factors, and therefore, the care plan and the caregiver that is chosen must reflect such factors. When such instances become the centre for care provision, home care becomes the best option, especially for the elderly or the aging population.
The patient’s perception on home care
The patient’s belief about receiving care at home is another important need in the care process that needs to be considered while deciding on when to initiate a home care plan. In essence, the patient’s perception is that home would be the best place since it is linked to their sign of independence, personal identity and family traditions important in offering privacy and security. Such demands from the patients make it important to consider a home care plan to improve the quality of life or the overall wellbeing of the aging people. Furthermore, home care is important in offsetting destabilizing effects of illness because home brings a sense of normalcy, continuity and attachment that contributes to fostering feelings of wellbeing. Home care, in this case, is initiated with the absolute goal of making the patient feel freer and secure because the loved ones surround them.
Social and psychological support
Social and/or psychological support is among other needs or factors that may direct an individual to opt for home care. In essence, when the patient needs social and psychological support, it would be practical to make such patient close to friends and family to prevent hospital admission. As such, the patient would be safer while receiving necessary treatment while at home. However, it is equally important that the caregivers and the patient’s family consult and agree with professional care providers in designing conditions for a safe care home care plan. They will also arrange for professional visitations and check-ups to improve the wellbeing of the patient.
The patient’s level of independence
Another reason that signals for the adoption of home care is when an individual is unable to take full care of her or himself and such individual is in fear of leaving home. The thought of leaving home to seek assistance elsewhere may be considered stressful and daunting by the elderly, and this makes home care the perfect solution. As indicated earlier, any care provided must consider the needs of the patients; it would be important to consider the safety, happiness and health of an individual while designing the model of care to be initiated.
From a wider perspective, there are signs indicate the need of home care, especially in the case of an aging population. One of the concerns, in this case, is the diminishing ability of an individual to carry out everyday tasks and chores. For instance, an individual may lack the ability to carry out the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as doing laundry and feeding themselves, due to physical limitations. Given that such struggles may not necessarily require hospitalization, caregivers and families will consider home care where ADLs would be managed to facilitate the healthy aging of an individual. Such considerations are crucial as it helps in creating the notion of care from the patient’s perspective.
The financial cost
Another important consideration on when home care should be initiated is the cost involved and the complexity of hospitalization or hospital admission of a loved one. Hospitalization may at times be complicated with the increased overhead cost of hospital beds and the scarcity of beds to facilitate admission. In that regard, it becomes practical to consider an alternative model of care, and in this case, caring for the patient at home. In such arrangements, healthcare professionals must be involved because they initiate visitation schedules to improve the quality of care for a given patient. This helps to eliminate the probability of developing any eventual health complications that might have occurred in the hospital.
Availability of healthcare professionals
Another important question to consider before deciding on whether to start home care is the availability of healthcare professionals: nurses, care aides, physiotherapists, all of whom play an important part in delivering professional quality home care, but also guide caregivers at home and train them on how to offer better care for their loved ones.
A great way to determine this is to contact a local home care agency and schedule a free consultation to discuss the care needs of a patient. In addition, if a patient’s family member is looking to get trained in order to administer home care to a loved one, it might be impractical to initiate a home care plan when the healthcare service provider does not have enough staff to train caregivers at home and take visitation roles. As already stated, the effectiveness of home care relies on the availability of family members and professional healthcare provider; thus, when deciding on initiating this care plan, it is important to consider the availability of both.