On Making Difficult Decisions

Difficult decisions can be easy to make when there is clarity. Sometimes the deciding factor is money when deciding between an elder staying at home with an in-home companion or moving into a senior community. An in-home caregiver can be more economical than you think.

A companion can be an extra pair of eyes for your elder, company and social interaction for individuals isolated by their illnesses, and an individual whom family can trust to make an emergency call in the middle of the night.

Consider this scenario: A frail, elderly grandmother was just released from the hospital. It had been a long, stressful two weeks but she is now home – home alone that is. Everyone involved, including her, knows she is still too weak and fragile to be alone. She may trip and fall going to the bathroom, not drink enough water, or be overwhelmed with her daily, basic housekeeping chores.

Everyone in the family works or has overwhelming domestic responsibilities. An assisted living facility seems like a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The family is hesitant to pack up and make such a drastic move knowing that sometimes an elderly person may have just had a setback and some extra care in their own home would put them back on track. The family feels that she would be doing much better in several weeks but would still need continuing assistance. But how to do that when everyone’s responsibilities already having them running at full speed? This is where being informed about the various options available for the elderly in our community will make a huge difference.

This same scenario plays out every week all over California. Making life-changing decisions does not get easier, regardless of the different factors, but having those options laid out by a professional can help you make informed decisions.

Sometimes individuals look forward to change, such as moving into a more social environment, but others may dread the idea. It all depends on their personality.

For those individuals already in assisted living, retirement homes or even in nursing homes, an extra pair of caring hands can make all the difference for the family or individual to feel increasingly comfortable with their environment. At home, an in-home companion can provide a gentle medication reminder, be someone to help your elder get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom safely, someone to do, or assist with, the shopping, a companion for a hand of bridge, or just someone to talk to.

Senior Home Companions is a unique service. Designed, implemented and run by professional nurses with a long history of caring for the elderly in Southern California, Senior Home Companions has taken the concept of case management and elder care to its optimum level – with the goal of providing the best services available.

Board Certified Nurse Practitioners supervise the case managers, who are also licensed nurses. The case managers supervise the certified companions who provide the direct care. This is not just home care – this is independence assistance! You and your elder dictate your schedule – we’re available to help set that up. You are in charge.

And if questions about certain issues arise, Senior Home Companions consults with a round table of advisors – including Board Certified Geriatric Physicians, Registered Dieticians, Physical Therapists and Hospice Professionals – this is in addition to the Nurse Practitioners.


6 Responses

  1. Families with these decisions to make have difficulty judging from all the choices out there.

  2. The homecare industry has exploded over the past three years across the country as many people have made staying in their own homes a priority.
    While having choices is a good thing, so many choices can make it very confusing about knowing where to turn.
    Since there is very little to no goverment regulation in this industry, going with a company run by health care professionals is usually a good place to start. Then check that companies health professionals state licenses-if its in good shape then your probably also going to be.
    Checking references should also be a priority.

  3. Will Medicare pay for a private companion for my grandmother?

  4. Good question.
    Medicare does not pay directly for private caregivers in the home. Every state has different programs, but in the State of California, there are managed care companies that an indiviual can sign their Medicare benefits over to and some of thise provide VERY limited private caregivers (ex. SCAN Health). This happens usually only after an acute hospitalization and only for a very limited time-usually less than 1 week. Medicare, the Federal Health insurance program, is not designed to pay for long term care. This falls to every states version of Medicaid, or in California, Medi-Cal. But the Medi-Cal program also DOES NOT pay for private companions for the longterm.

  5. How does hospice and private companions work?

  6. Hospice, in context of being utilized with a Medicare Recipient, (briefly) is a federally funded program for those individuals who have a terminal diagnoses and have less then 6 months or so to live. If the pt on hospice is having an acute exacerbation of their illness, not necessarily fatal, then the hospice pt may be assigned “inpatient status” at a hospital, nursing home, etc, where they can have an assigned aide/private companion that will attend to just them for a period of time-that period usually defined by the situation and the providers on the case. This is the only situation where hospice will pay for a personally assigned companion. If the family wants a private companion outside of this situation, it will not be covered by hospice or Medicare. Long term care insurance and various insurance plans will pay for this type of coverage but the individual plan must be looked at closely to identify whether or not they will cover a private companion.

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