Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Value of a Healthcare Navigator

Why is having a nurse navigator so important to the well-being of our aging population at home?

Many of us may not know it yet, or have not experienced it yet, but some day, as we or our parents get older are going to come face to face with a new and unexpected complexity in our lives: navigating the health-care and home-care systems.  These convoluted systems make a financial planner’s Monte-Carlo investment simulations look like a game of Shoots & Ladders.

The worst part is that people needing care or family members getting care for the loved ones feel helpless. This is compounded with the onset of old age or chronic illness. Often, older adults and their families can only hope their care providers in the health care system will treat them with their best interests in mind.  Too often doctors and nurses and therapists and other healthcare staff are overburdened and cannot offer the best care nor do their best work.  Remember, hospitals and the healthcare system are huge, and you are just a number in many cases.

In the future, families are going to need someone who can help them navigate these ever more labyrinth entities.  The complexity of the healthcare system in conjunction with the ever-increasing elderly population is going to give rise to a new type of professional known as a Geriatric Care Manager.

These individuals act as advocates and advisors for aging individuals both inside and outside a hospital.  According to a recent Market Watch article, “Is it worth paying an expert to help you navigate the health-care system?; a geriatric care manager is worth between $2,500 and $4,000 per year. These individuals do not personally provide care themselves. Instead they collect and present information, help to design a care plan, and navigate the health care system to implement and facilitate that plan on behalf of the family that pays them. They are guides for families who must travel the sometimes-bumpy modern road of aging.

The most experienced geriatric care managers tend to have years of experience at home health agencies delivering geriatric care management services.  While using nurses in this fashion is common with home health agencies, is rare to find this service used in private duty care. One company, Well Beyond Care has seen this need and offers, as part of its service, nurse navigators to any individuals who join.

“We understand that in-home care for the elderly is more than just getting a caregiver in the home,” states Well Beyond Care’s co-founded and Chief Nursing Offer Lauren Tarrant, RN. “We knew when we started Well Beyond Care that the value we were bringing with our nurses comes from their experience and knowledge of the complex healthcare system, and in helping families navigate their care needs on a personal level.”

“Part of the reason I started Well Beyond Care was because when I had to take care of my mother, there was no service available to help me deliver care from Austin to her in Alexandria, VA,” states CEO and President Jeffrey Fry.  He goes on to say, “there could soon come a time that navigating the morass of the health care system without a healthcare manager will seem just as foolhardy as diving into the legal system without a lawyer or the financial markets without a financial advisor.  We want our nurses to work toward the comprehensive well-being of our clients and their families; and provide them with the information to make well-informed decisions about their loved one’s care. Having this ability can save families thousands of dollars, not to speak of the well-being of their loved ones. Our nurses are there to lower stress and help families make correct decisions.”

Well Beyond Care gives caregivers and those who need care the tools to manage their in-home care online. Caregivers, registered nurses, certified nurse assistants, and geriatric care managers can use the website to be best matched with careseekers looking for care, set their wages, post their weekly availability, receive weekly payment, and build their resume and portfolio with real experience. Careseekers and family members looking for someone to give care for their parents or loved ones, can use the website to search for qualified nurses, CNAs and caregivers, are matched with a caregiver who can best can deliver care to specific care needs, monitor their caregivers’ schedules and payment online and receive personal support from the nurse that is assigned to them when they join. Join for free today at WellBeyondCare.com.

Private Duty Caregivers: Too Much Turnover

Many adult children who are looking to care for their elderly parent find in home care services a better option than having to place their loved ones in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. There are a number of factors influencing this specific preference. Topping the long list would be the fact that the elderly careseeker remains it the familiar confines of their home. This gives family and friends more peace of mind knowing that they can more readily get in touch with person receiving care. Even though the cost of in home caregivers has increased, it is still more cost effective than placing a loved one in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, making it a more practical choice.

The hourly cost involved with hiring a caregiver from a private duty agency varies since costs are based on several controlling factors. When you hire a caregiver using a private duty agency, the needs of the careseeker should be the primary consideration. Another important factor to consider is the number of hours that the patient may require assistance, since overtime rates or minimum hour charges may apply when using an agency. Additionally, the skill set required, experience, and certifications of the caregiver will also contribute to the rates you may have to pay for the type of caregiver you receive. Geographical location is another factor as rates vary from one city to another, and one region to the next.

According to the Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey, the national average hourly wage for home caregivers is at $9.31 per hour. However the costs are higher when going through an agency due in large part to their overhead. For example, an agency may charge $21.50 per hour for an entry level caregiver. This cost may include salary, healthcare, uniforms and other employee related expenses such as training and having a business office. Costs for more experienced caregivers will increase based on skill set, certifications and years of experience. These are the costs you can expect to find as you conduct your caregiver search. Most caregivers these days are working for a private duty agency as it has been traditionally the only avenue for them to find careseekers or to get continuous work.

Families requiring home caregivers may have the expectation that the quality of service from the caregivers supplied through agencies is expected to be higher, since most people assume agencies have minimum standards and state implemented rules and regulations for their caregivers. While this might be the expectation, due to the low wages paid to caregivers at most agencies, they usually experience as much as a 50% turnover rate of caregivers in any given month. According to a 2014 Benchmark Study published by Home Care Pulse and sponsored by the National Private Duty Association, average caregiver turnover rate for all home care companies increased from 46.2% to 49.8% between 2010 and 2013, and has increased yet again to 52.9% as of 2015. This high turnover rate is not conducive to creating a stable care environment in the home, and companies like Well Beyond Care are trying to rectify this with offering higher salaries for caregivers while reducing the costs paid by families looking for care for their loved ones. In addition, when a careseeker has more say in the screening and hiring of a caregiver, there is a dramatically reduced incidence of caregiver turnover.

Well Beyond Care gives caregivers and those who need care the tools to manage their in-home care online. Caregivers, registered nurses, certified nurse assistants, and geriatric care managers can use the website to be best matched with careseekers looking for care, set their wages, post their weekly availability, receive weekly payment, and build their resume and portfolio with real experience. Careseekers and family members looking for someone to give care for their parents or loved ones, can use the website to search for qualified nurses, CNAs and caregivers, are matched with a caregiver who can best can deliver care to specific care needs, monitor their caregivers’ schedules and payment online and receive personal support from the nurse that is assigned to them when they join. Join for free today at WellBeyondCare.com