Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions provided by the American Geriatrics Society. Written by Catherine M. Eberle, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center.
What is home care?
What services may be provided as a part of home care?
Do I qualify for home care?
How can I receive home care services?
How long will I be able to receive home care services?
Who pays for home care?
How much does it cost?
A. Services may include any of the following:
- Professional service - care provided by a doctor, nurse, dentist, foot doctor, therapist (such as physical, occupational or speech therapists), psychologist, pharmacist, or social worker.
- Ancillary service - care provided by a home health aide who often helps with bathing and personal hygiene; or help provided by homemakers, chore aides, volunteers, or home-delivered meals.
- Diagnostic testing - such as drawing blood, taking x-rays, and performing heart tests.
- Medical equipment - such as intravenous supplies and drugs, medical alert services, blood sugar tests, home safety (such as ramps and rails to assist in moving around), hospital beds, canes, walkers, and other items deemed medically necessary by your physician.
A. For Medicare to cover help at home, a person must be homebound or frail. A "homebound" person is someone unable to leave his or her home except for doctor appointments or to go to church. A "frail" person has many illnesses and goes to the hospital or emergency room for his or her care.
A. Most often your doctor will refer you to a home care agency or equipment provider when you become ill and need more care and services at home. This may happen while you are in the hospital, but you do not have to be in the hospital to get home care services. You should tell your doctor if you are having problems at home and think you could benefit from help.
A. How long you receive home care assistance depends on how long you need that help, if there is someone to provide the care, as well as how you pay for it.
A. The following programs often pay for home care services:
- Other health and disability insurance
- Social Security, Title XX
- Older Americans Act, Title III
- Veterans Administration
- Various charities
A. The cost depends on the service, the equipment and your insurance. If you were in the hospital recently, Medicare or your insurance company may cover services and needed equipment. The agencies on the list below can identify groups that will pay for services.
To speak with a home care advisor about your options, please call 1-877-9-CARE-97 (1-877-922-7397)