My Great Aunt Sarah will be 91 on her next birthday. Last fall she had a fall! As a result she needed some surgery and spent about a week in the hospital. While in the hospital she got pneumonia. (Pneumonia is a very common result for elderly folk when they are hospitalized.) Altogether she enjoyed the hospital’s facilities for about two and a half weeks. That qualified her for a skilled nursing facility and/or rehab. Aunt Sarah also had a Medicare Advantage plan that would pay her deductibles at the facility for her. A senior health plan that is a Medicare Advantage plan, also sometimes referred to as Part C, may have a few more benefits for rehab than the Medicare Supplements. Be sure to check with your insurance broker about your specific plan. Aunt Sarah’s doctor had to write a prescription for the rehab. He recommended a place that had a heavy accent on the rehab. After all that time in the hospital Aunt Sarah was not walking very well and she wanted to go home (where she lived alone…well not all alone, she has a parakeet named Jerry).

After about ten days in rehab Aunt Sarah was ready to go home to Jerry. Sarah was still a little shaky on her feet and her doctor ordered her up some Home Health Care. Many health care treatments that were once offered only in a hospital or a doctor’s office can now be done in your own home. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as the care you would get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

The thing that home care does the best though is to give you back your independence, regain your confidence and help you become self-sufficient. If you have an elderly person in your family or you care for one; it’s important to realize what a big change it is for someone to come from 24/7 care to an empty home and Jerry! The mental transition in some cases may be quite difficult.

So, who is eligible for home health care? You must need, and a doctor must certify that you need one or more of the following:

  • Intermittent skilled nursing care
  • Physical therapy
  • Continued occupational therapy.

The home health agency caring for you must be approved by Medicare. Your senior health plan will pay any deductibles. Your doctor will know who and what is available in your community.

Here is a list of things that any senior health plan will not cover once your loved one is at home:

  • 24-hour-a-day care at home
  • Meals delivered to the home
  • Homemaker services like shopping, cleaning, and laundry
  • Personal care given by home health aides like bathing, dressing and using the bathroom if this is the only care needed

If you become exhausted by the care YOU are providing just remember that senior health plans and Medicare also provide for respite care. And, that’s a whole another article!