Home Health Aide NH

When you live in NH or the northeast part of the US, you’ll likely find that there are more doctors per capita than in other parts of the country.  That makes for more nurses, and home health aides, many of which help elderly seniors right in their home, or in a care facility.  Regardless of where care is received, you need to know when to call for a home health aide, and whether they are right for your needs.

Although you never want to be calling a doctor needlessly, telephone conversations with the physician or their NH home health aide may help avoid unnecessary visits.  Most doctors see telephone advice as part of their jobs and are willing to chat briefly, as long as you don’t abuse this service.  But when every single call made results in the doctor or aide advising you to bring your elder in for a visit, then the doctor is sending a message that they don’t provide telephone advice for a particular situation.  If that policy doesn’t work for you and your elder, you may be better off finding a doctor or home health aide with a different policy.

Now not every aging senior needs to be treated by a geriatrician, but every physician or home health aide who treats older people should have had at least some training in geriatrics.  Asking about geriatric training should be the first question when deciding whether a doctor is right for your senior in need.

Here are additional questions to keep in mind when your elder is looking for a doctor or deciding whether the current physician or home health aide is right for the job:

  • Are they board certified in internal medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Find out if they have a Certificate of Added Qualification in Geriatric Medicine
  • Are they someone who can be talked to easily and feel comfortable with.  Do they welcome questions, showing an interest and having obvious concern for their well being.
  • Do they seek underlying causes for complaints and prescribe treatments, or do they attribute many of the ailments simply to “age”?  When a doctor frequently dismisses complaints as just being a result of old age, then consider dismissing the doctor.
  • Are their services covered by their health insurance plan?  If not, can they afford the services?
  • Does the doctor have privileges in a hospital that is preferred by the senior?
  • Determine if the doctor’s visiting hours and location convenient
  • Find out if they have competent back-up when on vacation
  • Check if they’ll have to wait many weeks or even months to get appointments
  • Will the doctor or home health aide, or nurse or assistant handle routine questions on the phone?

Though your home health aide may have all the qualifications you require, you may need someone more versed in the additional and nuanced treatments of those in old age.  Geriatricians are primary care physicians who have been board certified in either family practice or internal medicine and have passed an exam certifying them in the specialty of geriatric medicine.  They must take continuing medical courses to stay certified.  Only about 9,000 geriatricians are in the US.  It’s believed to be about 11,000 short of what is needed to take care of the 35 million older people in NH and the entire US.

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