If you’re in need of an Illinois home care worker and you’re new to the world of senior care, you may have already discovered that there are two kinds of home-based care: Home Care Helpers and Home Care Nurses (which provide Nursing services).
A Home Care Helper is typically provided by a certified nurse’s assistant (CNA), who can assist with everyday basic tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, and helping mom dress, bathe, and use the bathroom. A CNA can also remind the senior to take her prescription medications, but cannot dispense those meds. These kinds of homemaker services agencies may or may not be licensed depending on the agency, and whether they are following the specified requirements of Illinois.
Home Nursing Care might be necessary if the senior requires someone who can actually administer medications, take a senior’s blood pressure, or provide different levels of in-home physical therapy, among other medical needs. Both federal laws and those of the state of Illinois regulate these agencies, and they are often Medicare and Medicaid certified, which means federal financial assistance through those programs might be available.
Most Illinois home care agencies will first visit a potential client’s home to conduct a free needs assessment. When you do an assessment, the caregiver and family member(s) meet in the parent’s home to evaluate how the home is laid out, and identify where the senior will be receiving care. You determine what’s required: how many hours a day, how many days a week, etc.
Realize that the kinds of qualities to look for in the caregiver will also depend upon the kind of services they are providing. Some senior home health care providers will drop by for a few minutes to provide medical services, while others may spend several hours a day with the senior in less formal circumstances. In the latter case, a professional relationship may become a personal relationship that can last for years.
If your loved one needs medical or nursing care, they will likely need the services of a licensed professional nurse. The home care agency may also work with an occupational or physical therapist, and contract out just for these services. Visits from these caregivers are typically of short duration—15 minutes to half an hour—or for a limited time frame, such as a few months.
In evaluating the particular individual providing this type of home care, it is most important to make sure that they are properly certified. If the care provider is Medicare-certified, the home health aide will automatically need to meet professional licensing requirements. Additionally, many home care agencies in the state of Illinois also require that home caregiver personnel have the appropriate state licenses.
Home care helpers are a more basic and less medically trained, and provide the kinds of services that are more basic to care-tending, housekeeping, help with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and feeding. This home care helper may also assist with shopping and cleaning, and even possibly general entertainment. And though home care nurses have more medical training and certification, you still want to ask questions about their professional qualifications. However, keep in mind that their personal characteristics, as they will be intimately working with your loved one, will be the most critical aspect of whether your home care worker is a fit in your life.