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Preferred In-Home Care Still Poses Risk for Elderly

Choosing long-term care options for your parents or loved ones is never easy, and our Parkland nursing home abuse lawyers know there is much to consider.
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Now, at least with regard to cost, a new study shows that in-home care may be the most preferable option – if it’s feasible.

Genworth Financial’s 10th Annual Cost of Care Survey found that while the cost for assisted living and nursing home facilities has skyrocketed to rates well above inflation, the cost for in-home care has risen by just 1 percent or so in the last five years.

The survey included cost information from some 15,000 long-term care providers, broken down into differing types of care for nearly 440 metro areas in the U.S. While homemaker services and home health aide rates have essentially stayed flat during the time frame, the median annual cost for nursing homes has shot up from $65,200 to $83,900, rising four percent in the last 12 months alone.

The fact is, many people want to be treated at home anyway. It’s what is comfortable.

This option may make a lot of sense for your loved one. However, it also requires a heightened level of commitment from close relatives and family members. When bringing him home care, you must never assume that just because someone has earned some level of medical education or training they are 100 percent trustworthy.

It’s important to carefully research both the agency and the professional with whom your loved one will interact. The reality is, your loved one may be more isolated at home than in a nursing home. There is less direct oversight from a physician and there aren’t other health care workers around to observe certain problems or concerns. The home health care worker might be more prone to cut corners with regard to care or even to take advantage of your loved one.

We are certainly not implying that this happens in all or even most cases – but it does happen, and it’s something about which family members and loved ones need to be aware.

This applies also to your loved ones’ finances. It’s not uncommon for aides or caregivers to help with paying certain bills or purchasing groceries or other necessities, particularly if the elderly person is widowed or otherwise living alone. But relatives must take care to closely watch transactions and bank balances to ensure this access is not abused.

Because you are trusting this person with the health and well-being of someone who is precious to you, don’t be worried about taking up someone’s time with your questions. You’ll want to ask about the agency’s licensing, whether it is certified by either Medicare/Medicaid or The Joint Commission. Ask too whether they carry malpractice and liability insurance.

With regard to quality of services, inquire about references and ask how long the agency has been operational. Ask whether an outside agency conducts regular inspections – and ask those inspection reports. (Be wary of an agency that is not inspected.)

You’ll want to know too about the individual workers, and whether the agency verifies employee references. Ask about the specific job descriptions and qualifications and whether workers receive special training or ongoing instruction.

If you do at any point suspect abuse or negligence on the part of your loved one’s home health care workers, do not hesitate to call us and learn more about your rights.

Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Long-Term Care Costs Favor Home-Based Treatment, April 9, 2013, By Philip Moeller, U.S. News & World Report

More Blog Entries:
Plaintiff Wins $23M Nursing Home Abuse Claim, April 2, 2013, Parkland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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