Is it the same as if you’re in a nursing home and being cared for by a nursing home attendant? Is it more? What about running errands or if I need to go get groceries or cat food?
Types of Care
There are a number of people that may have arthritis. Arthritis is worse in the morning. Once they get their muscles warmed up and get moving, then they’re solid for the rest of the day – but they need that help.
They could be in an institutional setting, or they could stay at home with just this one thing to help them going. Others need help getting ready for bed at night. But during the daytime, they can do their own tasks.
Still others have a home health aid there 24 hours a day, preparing meals, running the errands, and taking them to the beauty shop. There are live-in programs as well. Someone is there to just live with the client and might be there 7 days a week.
These people need someone there overnight. If they wake up and need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, there’s someone to assist them.
Or just that companionship. They want a companion that can sit down with them, read the paper, discuss the news of the day. Watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune together, talk about it and interact.
There’s skilled nursing, taking care of people who might be on a ventilator. These ventilators are only the size of a laptop, but the person can’t breathe without it. Taking care of it, suctioning the trachea – that’s when you really need somebody.
Home Care Technology
Taking care of someone with a ventilator at home was unheard of years ago. There are so many options in home care with the technology today. Personal emergency response systems or a “Help, I’ve fallen and can’t get up” button – it used to be that if you fall down, you press the button. What if I fall down unconscious?
They’ve reverse engineered that now to detect if a person fell. If I don’t push the button, it’s going to respond.
There are medication-dispensing units. I put a medication cup in this box, and at 8 o’clock in the morning, the medicine cup will come down and say, “It’s time to take your 8 o’clock medications.” After 3 times, if I don’t do it, it rings into an operator.
The operator then calls my house and says, “Hey you forgot to take your medicine.” If I don’t answer, then they call my loved one to come and check on me.
The technology in home care is absolutely phenomenal. Military is probably the leader in telehealth. There are programs right now where the University of Washington does cataract surgery on patients in Alaska from Washington via robotic surgery with lasers.
There was a physician in Paris who actually did an appendectomy on a patient in New York. A doctor was standing by as they were demonstrating it. But as we develop that technology more and more, the ability to take care of people in the home is just going to explode.
Everyone wants to stay at home. With these kinds of advances, more and more are going to be able to do that.
That’s the wave of the future – getting away from a centralized hospitals and nursing homes, at least in the cases where it makes sense. There’s obviously still going to be a need for those places, but home care is on the low end of the affordability scale and people want to stay at home.
From a Medicare/Medicaid perspective, there are less resources coming out of the system as well. This is just a burgeoning, exploding industry with a lot of potential in the future.
Advantages of Home Care
Probably the number one reason is “my home is my castle”. It’s where people feel comfortable. If I want to walk around in my underwear, I can walk around in my underwear.
People recuperate better at home. Less infections. Just having that continuity, someone who’s familiar with your health problems, mannerisms, and habits. They can pick up on subtle changes quickly, refer them out to the doctor, get them taken care of – whatever they need to have done.