Category Archives: Caregiving

COVID-19 Guide for Caregivers

To all future and current caregivers,

You may not know this, but you are so valuable to us and to the folks that you care for, and we want to ensure that you have what you need and that you will continue to stay healthy yourself.

In our opinion, half the battle is understanding what is going on, what can WE do to protect ourselves and our family AND the community that we care for. Here is some guidance regarding the symptoms of COVID-19, how it spreads and how it is treated (click this link to download a PDF: COVID-19 Precautions & Testing}. We have also included some information regarding managing anxiety and fears, the myths and facts as well as a way to screen yourself DAILY.

It is important to us that you know you have our support and that you will not be asked to work if you are experiencing a cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath.

We hope you will read the information, keep it with you if you wish and by all means HEED THE CALL by asking yourself the 3 most important questions:

  • Do I have a cough, sore throat, fever or shortness of breath?
  • Have I just returned from international travel?
  • Have I been close to anyone suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you can say “Yes” to any of these questions, you may be at risk for carrying or developing COVID-19 and you need to report it to your local health department or MD so that the CDC and WHO can take the next steps.

With all of the questions, fears and talk around town and the nation; most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY! If you suspect that you might be sick are have been in contact with someone who is sick (or has symptoms), DON’T KEEP IT A SECRET!! The group of folks we care for are either elderly or possibly dealing with issues that do not allow their bodies to heal themselves and again, YOU ARE SO VALUABLE TO US AND TO THEM.

Thank you in advance for reading this, heeding the call and passing this forward.

The Value of a Health Navigator

Some time ago, we wrote a post about the value of having a nurse navigator when trying to decide about in home care here: (The Value of a Healthcare Navigator), and now we are revisiting this issue with a contribution from our friends at RegisteredNursing.org.

Most people’s first thoughts of a new year center around new beginnings and possible resolutions to be made. While these are important considerations to start the year out right, the most important consideration for a new year can revolve around your health and healthcare coverage. If you are like most people, you were barraged with notices about getting health care coverage. Navigating the landscape of “Part This” and “Part That” is confusing and, when added to potential health issues or surgeries, is down-right overwhelming. Enter the Health Navigator (queue the harps and harmonic singing).

The role of the health navigator has progressively expanded over the past decade as programs such as Medicare have become extremely complicated. More than just a person to help assist you with which options to choose for medical coverage, a qualified and skilled health navigator will also assist people with local resources they might qualify for, such as county or state programs. For example, low-income families in Idaho may qualify for additional support and assistance for medical issues through a medically indigent program; a savvy health navigator will know which services are available in certain areas and how to access them for the patient or family.

Health navigators play a different role than the nurse navigators you may have experienced in various healthcare settings. Nurse navigators assist patients or populations through either a healthcare system or a specialized department. One example of this role is when a patient is scheduled for surgery or perhaps is diagnosed with cancer, a nurse navigator is assigned to provide advice and guidance to patients through each step of the journey for these devastating experiences.

Some community health systems, such as Terry Reilly, employ health navigators to reach out to patients in their service area to offer support in enrolling patients and families into the myriad of choices for healthcare. As many programs are time-bound and have enrollment windows, having a process to proactively reach out to help people navigate the programs is very strategic. By offering services directly, not only are patients more likely to choose the health system that assisted them, the organization is more likely to receive better payment rates if patients are correctly enrolled. Either way, offering help to patients and families to traverse the timelines, coverage options, and associated costs with each plan is a valuable service to offer.

Healthcare and medical coverage can be confusing, especially if there are already numerous healthcare members coming into a home to provide services. However, if you find yourself needing additional resources or information related to healthcare coverage choices, ask your doctor to recommend a reliable health navigator for clarification and assistance. You don’t have to face these choices alone.

About the Author
Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN is a board-certified nurse executive and contributing writer for www.registerednursing.org.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Have Compassion For Yourself

How to Build Your Own Resilience & Create More Joy in Your Life
And Be More Present for Your Loved Ones
By Dr. Mara Karpel

“When we care for ourselves deeply and deliberately, we naturally begin to care for others — our families, our friends, and the world — in a healthier and more effective way.”
 ~ Cheryl Richardson, The Art of Extreme Self-Care

Being a caregiver can be extremely stressful and, in fact, caregivers have been found to have a statistically higher rate of chronic illnesses, severe emotional issues (such as depression and anxiety), and even earlier death. Self-compassion can build resilience in our health and our emotional well-being, even when immersed in stressful situations. Having such resilience is important for our ability to continue to do our best as a caregiver, as well as help us to create a life of passion, joy, and vitality…no matter our age.

Here are a few tips will help to get you started showing yourself more compassion:

  1. Treat yourself like you’re worthy right now, even if you don’t believe it.

This includes taking care of your body by eating a healthy diet and exercising. And begin to take action toward achieving your dreams. By following our dreams, we contribute to creating a beautiful world.

  1. Do things throughout the day, every day, that cheer you or inspire you.

Here are some examples of works for me: listening to music that I enjoy, reading something inspiring, taking a nap, walking in nature, exercising, breathing slowly, relaxing. Do what makes you feel more vital and alive. It doesn’t have to be something big. When you make this a daily priority, you are giving yourself the message that you deserve to be treated well.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people who love themselves and who treat you with love and respect.

Humans best learn by observation. If we observe people who love themselves and who love and respect the people around them, we learn how to do the same. Reduce or eliminate the amount of toxins you ingest and the amount of time you spend with toxic people. By being around positive loving people, we come to realize that we’re worthy of love and respect.

  1. Turn off the negative, derogatory, self-talk.

The voice in our head might come as the voices of our parents or other important people in our lives, or as our own voice, questioning our worthiness or telling us that we are “victims.” When author of the book, Self-Talk for a Calmer You: Learn How to Use Positive Self-Talk to Control Anxiety and Live a Happier, More Relaxed Life, Beverly Flaxington, was interviewed on my show, she pointed out, “It’s our own minds, so often, that defeat us. We say things to ourselves and tear ourselves down. The self-talk that we use on ourselves absolutely drains us. Lack of confidence and low self-esteem is very typically an outgrowth of too much negative self talk too often.” In order to truly love yourself, it’s important to become aware of this negative chatter and to know that this chatter is not the “truth.” Then, even if we can’t turn it off completely, it will lose its power over us and, perhaps, the volume will soften.

  1. Stop listening to negativity of others.

Remember, a person’s tendency to put another down is caused by his/her own lack of self-love.

  1. Forgive others and forgive yourself.

Use the ho’oponopono prayer to facilitate this practice. Simply imagine the person with whom you have difficulties and say:

I love you.
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank You.

Remember to repeat the process for everyone, including yourself.

  1. Make a list of your positive traits.

You might notice that you’re very good at finding things about yourself that you don’t like. Now, sit down and make a list of those qualities about yourself that you actually like. Spend some time every day expanding this list.

  1. Treat yourself like you would your own best friend.

Would you be so hard on your best friend about the same things that you’re so hard on yourself about? Try this: Sit down across from an empty chair. Visualize yourself sitting in that chair. Envision that the you in that chair is your BFF (Best Friend Forever), who is sharing with you all of his/her perceived weaknesses. How would you respond to your BFF? Make it a regular practice to talk to yourself with the same compassion you show to your BFF whenever you start to put yourself down.

  1. Have a sense of humor, even about your own mistakes.

If we can laugh at ourselves, then we can gain the more realistic perspective that we’re only human and that mistakes are events to learn from, rather than signs that we’re inept or that our character is severely flawed.

Keep this practice up for at least 30-days. Journal about the experience daily and then reflect upon the changes you’ve noticed.

About the Author
Dr. Mara Karpel is the author of the internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age.  A clinical psychologist, she has worked with adults of all ages for over 27 years and specializes in working with older adults and caregivers. For the past several years, Dr. Mara has also been evaluating veterans for service-connected mental health conditions. She is a speaker, the host of the Internet radio show, Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, and a regular contributor to Thrive Global and contributor to Huffington Post. Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Mara currently resides in the “Live Music Capital of the World” Austin, Texas, where she’s been enjoying the music and following her dreams.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Who Helps in Home Health Care

With the ever increasing complexity in the healthcare system in America, we though an outline of the types and titles of individuals would be in order when you finally need to have in home care. Below is an outline of the roles and responsibilities of individuals you may be dealing with then care is delivered in your home.

When a physician orders in-home care services to a home-bound patient with verified skilled clinical needs, there can be a variety of support personnel who come into the home to address each of the specific needs. Numerous caregivers can be wonderful, but also confusing. It is important for patients, families, and caregivers to know the role of each discipline and who to call for which services.

Ongoing changes to the allowances for in-home care by insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid have made it challenging for people to get the care they need at home when they are ill or injured. In fact, adult children are often considered the sandwich generation as they are caring for their aging parents, their own children, and even their own grandchildren at the same time. While some physician practices have a nurse liaison or care coordinator to assist patients with navigating the challenges of services, families need to strongly advocate to get their loved one the care that is needed to rehabilitate or to be safe in their home.

Once services are ordered, it is imperative for patients, families and/or caregivers to know the focus and tasks of each role:

Registered Nurse: A Registered Nurse, or RN, is a person who will usually get the in-home care started by meeting with the patient, family and/or caregiver (usually a family member) to collect a lot of information in order to create a plan of care for your visits. Even though your doctor may have all of the same information, the RN must still ask these questions in order to correctly capture all of the information. Be sure to have all of the medications and supplements available for the nurse to record.

Licensed Practical (or Vocational) Nurse: Also a nurse, the role of the licensed practical nurse (LPN or LVN) is to provide skilled tasks such as wound care, administering medications and/or patient education. The LPN carries out the tasks related to the plan of care created by the RN.

Home Health Aide: The role of the Home Health Aide (HHA) is to provide direct-care services such as bathing, showering, transferring to a chair or bed, and basic grooming chores. As the HHA is not a licensed caregiver like the RN or LPN, they cannot give medications or advise patients on healthcare issues or concerns.

Social Worker: Many times, patients and families need additional community support and resources to care for someone at home. The role of the social worker (SW) is to connect patients with resources such as applications for financial assistance or respite care. Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) can assist patients with mental disorders such as depression or anxiety and can help patients and families deal with life-changing events such as a terminal illness. See Social Work

Physical Therapist: Patients who require physical rehabilitation will mostly likely have a physical therapist (PT) providing care in the home. The PT will conduct an extensive interview, similar to the RN interview, along with a physical evaluation to create a plan of care to restore physical function to the patient. The PT’s plan of care will include a list of exercises that the patient, family or caregiver can administer between visits.

Physical Therapy Assistant: The physical therapy assistant (PTA) is a trained individual who helps patients with the exercises that are ordered by the PT. Although the PTA is not licensed, most have received degrees from programs specializing in rehabilitation services and exercise physiology.

Occupational Therapist: Patients who have lost the ability to care for their personal needs such as dressing or eating will need the support of an occupational therapist (OT). The OT provides patients with rehabilitation skills to return to optimal functioning after illness or surgery. The OT can also teach families and/or caregivers how to reinforce these skills in between visits.

Speech and Language Therapist: The speech and language therapist (ST) provides pathology services to patients who need to improve or regain speech and language skills. This specialist also provides evaluation services for swallowing to ensure patients are able to eat and drink safely without the risk of choking.

Over the past decade, Medicare has changed many of the qualifications for home care services which are often reflected in the private insurance world. Now that the question of who is providing the care that is ordered has been answered, which additional services are available and covered may require a bit more digging by the patient’s family and/or caregivers.

About the Author
Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN is a board-certified nurse executive and contributing writer for www.registerednursing.org

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Common Problems with Private Duty In-Home Care Agencies

While the private duty industry has just released a report indicating that their turnover rate has reached an all-time high of 82% according to the 2018 Home Care Benchmarking Study by market research firm Home Care Pulse, a review of the common problems of the home health private duty care agencies is in order. Traditionally, hiring a private duty in-home care agency was seen as the only avenue for people looking to care for those with elderly parents who need assistance.  Through out the history of private-pay, private-duty care, working with caregiving agencies is often a daunting task that can be difficult for both elderly parents and their adult children. Part of the problem is that to date, getting a reliable, dependable, affordable caregiver is usually an exception rather than the rule and this situation is only getting worse.

For adult children looking to hire a caregiver or private duty agency to care for the elderly parents, there are many pitfalls that get covered up by private duty agencies. Most people believe that an agency is going to get a matched caregiver to you or your parent’s needs and pay them a decent wage, when in fact most agencies just field the next available caregiver in roster. They are more about making money than servicing the clients.  In case after case we hear about how caregivers at agencies often do not show up, are sleeping on the job, are not trained, or more seriously, sometimes abuse their charges.

In order to save individuals frustration and regrets, it is beneficial to review some of the most common problems with private duty in-home care agencies and how to avoid them. Below is a listing of the top client complaints concerning private duty home care agencies.

  • Lack of consistency of caregiver
  • Caregivers not showing up or consistently late
  • Communication Problems Between Client and the Agency
  • Insufficient Caregiver Training
  • Caregivers focused on technology not the client
  • Unwanted caregiver behavior
  • Cultural differences / not accounting for cultural needs

The most common problem with private duty home care is that either caregivers do not show up, or there is a new caregiver showing up ever other week.  These issues have been a chronic and persistent problem in private duty home care since its inception. While the industry has known about this situation for some time, the problem persists due in a large part to the inadequate pay afforded caregivers, and the fact that agencies tend to hire anyone who applies for the open job, instead of doing a real match to a client’s needs and the caregiver’s personality and skills. The bottom line is that agencies are more concerned with maximizing their profits rather than really taking care of a client’s needs.

Another common problem lies with poor communication from the private duty care agency and/or their caregivers. While you believe hiring a caregiving in-home care agency will give you some relief for people looking to take care of parents who are no longer able to adequately take care of themselves, it is amazing how even acknowledging that the basic activities of daily living (ADLs) are being performed do not get communicated to those who might be paying for those services. This is even more compounded if special needs are involved, or if the elderly client needs to be taken to the doctor or requires some form of clinical therapy.

On top of not paying caregivers adequately, another challenge for the industry is the fact that there is insufficient training for caregivers. In some instances, caregivers are not allowed to provide services in the home due in a large part to the Stare restricting what services a private duty agency can offer. On the other hand, it goes back to in home private pay care agencies just trying to get billings, knowing adult children are desperate to get care for their needy parents and are unable to personally attend to that need. Sadly, even basic skills such as cooking and cleaning, may go lacking with many of the caregivers private duty agencies hire, and should be questioned and evaluated before hiring a potential caregiver.

Technology can be a great tool for delivering care, but at the same time, many caregivers are distracted with their phones, social media and the internet in general, and this distracts them from performing their caregiving duties. While you may not like it, it is very difficult for home care agencies to police their caregivers on the use of their smart phones as a distraction to caregiving.

While the best-case scenario is when a caregiver feels like they are part of the family, it is vitally important to maintain some boundaries with the caregiver. This is especially true if they start to display some irresponsible behaviors. Occasionally, everybody is late, but with private duty home care agencies, this tends to be a chronic condition, and when you start to see a caregiver not show up for care, or have a substitute being called in frequently, it is time to reevaluate the use of this agency. The problem gets worse if the caregiver seems nice, but in actuality is just taking advantage of the situation. Remember, you are relying on a 3rd party to bring someone you do not know of have not vetted or chosen into your home. Too often people make the assumption that a private duty agency takes as much care as they would in choosing a caregiver, but most of the time, that is not the case.

Finally, there are the differences in cultures, likes and dislikes. Some of these are straightforward like language and ethnicity, but others deal with diets, foods, music, cleanliness, and religion. It is important that you address possible language and cultural barriers first. There are some cultural differences between hygiene and eating habits that may pose a surprise problem later on. Laying out expectations from the beginning can eliminate these problems. Working with private duty in-home can be difficult, but it does not have to be. There are new alternatives being offered, like Well Beyond Care, that allows people to how hire your own caregiver and steer clear of the frustrations of working with private duty and at the same time saving a substantial amount of money and letting you choose your own perfect caregiver.  Well Beyond Care teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover. The platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. This solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Well Beyond Care Launches Keep Safe Care

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Well Beyond Care, Inc.
(844) 4WB-CARE (844 492 2273)
press@wellbeyondcare.com

Well Beyond Care Launches Keep Safe Care
Launch of new entity to allow more people to own a private duty agency without paying the high cost of a franchise

Austin, TX, Apr 03, 2019 –Well Beyond Care, a company that is revolutionizing the private duty industry, has launched a new entity, Keep Safe Care, to address the growing cost and inefficiencies of the private duty agencies. In addition to Well Beyond Care nationwide care matching service saving saves families between $10,000 and $30,000 per year in caregiving costs in comparison to private duty agencies, its software has the potential to reduce the cost of operating a private duty agency by 50% to 60%.

Jeffrey Fry, Well Beyond Care’s CEO and President states, “The private duty model is dominated by franchisors who charge $100,000 to $250,000 to open a franchise. We know that our software can impact the efficiencies of a private duty agency severely. As such, we have launched a new endeavor that copies the Starbuck’s model of growth by offering licenses through our new entity, Keep Safe Care.”

The Keep Safe Care model will sell licenses for a fixed fee, right now targeted at $7,500, and charge a small monthly licensing fee, as opposed to a percentage of sales. Presently, most franchisors charge 5% to 6% of sales to its franchisees.

Mr. Fry adds, “We know that the largest cost in running a private duty agency has to do with recruiting, retaining, curating, and managing caregivers, and our software can reduce those costs by 80%. In addition, we have been able to reduce truancy and turnover to under 1%, where the industry standard is 25% truancy and 53% turnover. We are hopeful to have this program fully launched by the end of the summer (2019).”

Well Beyond Care has been approached by investors to accelerate the release of what the Company calls its non-franchise license and is presently collecting information of individuals interested in starting a Keep Safe Care private duty agency at keepsafecare.com.

About Keep Safe Care
Keep Safe Care is about revolutionizing the way that private duty agencies deliver care. The company wants to change the old mold of big companies controlling franchises, and eliminating franchises’ problems of caregiver truancy and turnover. Keep Safe Care’s goal is to reduce caregiver truancy and turnover by empowering caregivers and those who are receiving care. The company holds the promise of increasing Caregivers standard wage, while at the same time, reducing caregiving costs by 10% to 15% over other traditional private duty franchises. For more information go to keepsafecare.com.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Well Beyond Care Helps Veterans

From our founding, Well Beyond Care has had a focus in helping veterans. Two of our original investors, are both veterans, and the Company was designed with a special place for our vets.

We know that many veterans would like to work as a caregiver, but have not due in part to the difficulty in finding a position that pays more than $9 per hour. Part of what makes our service veteran focused is that we can offer well paying caregiving positions for those veterans who would like to continue their “service” to America. Most notably, these positions pay 25% to 40% more than what a veteran can make at a private-duty agency and Well Beyond Care gives our caregiving Veterans the flexibility to chose the individuals they want to give care to and the hours they want to work.

The Well Beyond Care curation system matches veterans who want to work as caregivers with veterans seeking care. Veterans have asked the Company to give them veteran caregivers, and that is what we do. It is nice to have another vet dress your wound and hear “war stories” as opposed to having a 20-year-old-someone who does not understand the sacrifice a veteran made for his country in getting that wound.

In addition, our nationwide network of nurses also inform vets about their “Aid & Attendance Benefits” afforded them as part of their VA pension and will help them with getting reimbursement for caregiving costs. These nurses also serve as a resource to medical resources in the areas were a veteran is receiving care. Because we are able to save individuals money and pair them with better caregivers, we keep vets out of the hospital, and aging in place more affordably (the get more care with less money). In addition, we have teamed with a palliative care / hospice organization that can offer doulas for those veterans facing end-of-life situations.

Below is a graphic on the benefits Well Beyond Care affords veterans. To get a larger view or download, just click on the image.

In summary, Well Beyond Care offers an online caregiving curation, matching and management system for those veterans looking for in home care. While most private duty care is administered by agencies, Well Beyond Care teaches and guides a Careseeker (most likely an adult child looking for care for a parent or veteran) on hiring their own caregiver. Compared to traditional private-duty agencies, veterans can save $10,000 to $30,000 per year, and caregivers who might be veterans, make $3 to $6 per hour extra using our service. It combines the best in caregiver hiring (matching, screening, ratings & background checks) with all the back office functions (verified time worked, payroll, scheduling, and documentation) to insure safe, reliable, dependable, affordable care is obtained for our deserving veterans.

Private Duty Services for All!

Reprinted by permission from Elisabeth Hogue, Esq.; (877) 871-4062; ElizabethHogue@ElizabethHogue.net

In order to be appropriate for home care services of all types, patients must be able to care for themselves or have primary caregivers who can meet patients’ needs in between visits from professional staff from home care providers. This requirement is necessary in order to meet the eligibility of many payors, to avoid risk of legal liability and to help ensure quality of care.

Patients’ family members or others may be willing to serve as primary caregivers on a voluntary basis. If not, providers should offer patients and/or their family members the option to pay privately for primary caregivers. These services may be referred to as private duty or non-medical services.

The option to pay for private duty home care services should be offered to all patients who cannot care for themselves and who have no voluntary primary caregivers. Patients who can care for themselves or have voluntary primary caregivers may also wish to contract for additional assistance, so providers should offer this option to all patients who may benefit from these services.

Specifically, this means that:

  • Hospital discharge planners/case managers should offer private duty services to all patients who may benefit from them and assist patients to arrange for such services post-discharge as part of the discharge planning process.
  • Other types of institutional providers; such as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), Long Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACHs), and independent rehabilitation facilities (IRFs); should also offer patients who are being discharged the option to arrange for assistance from private duty agencies and should arrange for such services post-discharge.
  • Assisted living facilities (ALFs) should offer private duty services to all of their patients who may benefit from such services.
  • Home health agencies should offer patients the option to private pay for services if primary caregivers are no longer available to provide assistance and if patients no longer meet the eligibility requirements of payor sources.
  • Home health agencies, hospices and home medical equipment (HME) companies should educate patients about private duty services even though patients may have voluntary caregivers and help patients and their families arrange for these services.

Providers may be reluctant to offer these services to patients and their families because of their cost. They may also erroneously conclude that patients and their families cannot afford them. Providers should not jump to conclusions about who can afford these services. Instead, private duty home care services should be offered to all patients and their family members who may benefit from them.

A home health agency, for example, decided that a patient no longer met the eligibility requirements of the Medicare Program. The staff of the agency was reluctant to offer the patient the option to private pay for additional services prior to discharge because the patient lived in a “shack” and drove an old, beat-up truck. They did so anyway. To the staff’s surprise, upon receipt of the offer, the patient got out of bed, extracted a wad of cash from under the mattress and told the staff that there was plenty more money to pay for private duty services!

Private duty care has a very important role to play in the provision of home care services. This type of care should be offered to all patients whenever it seems that patients may benefit from it.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, Well Beyond Care. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

 

Sandwich Generation Woes

A funny thing has happened in the United State over the past 50 years, which on the surface is good, but for a growing segment of the population is adding an additional stress in their life. Due in a large part to vast improvements in medicines and treatment, the median life expectancy has been steadily increasing, adding about one half year of life expectancy to the population ever two years. So, in 1959 the median life expectancy was under 70, now, it is 83.  At the same time, Americans on average have been holding offer getting married and starting a family well into the late twenties or early thirties.  As a result, the generational gap between grandparents and grandkids has grown from 20 years to now 30.

Elder care services are becoming an ever-increasing need as baby boomers continue to retire at an alarming rate. Combining the fact that the elderly are living longer, and individuals are holding off having children until they are older, a new dilemma has developed for individuals between 38 and 55. Many of these adults are becoming part of the what is referred to the “sandwich” generation. This is where an adult has to not only take care of their children, but one, two, three or even four parents dispersed across the country which they are also taking care of.

Accounting to a 2013 Pew Research report, nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). And about one-in-seven middle-aged adults (15%) are providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.  Combine the fact that most adults in America do not live within 100 miles of their aging parents, it becomes obvious that this trend is adding stress to when elderly parents get ill or need care.

As a fallout of this growing trend, when the parents of a working adult become ill or need assistance, presently that working adult child will need to leave and take extended time away from work to deal with the situation.  The average time away is one week, and sometimes stretches into three weeks! In most cases, these individuals will likely have to continue to visit their aging parents for extended periods of time for the next 5 to 15 years.

The reason why individuals have to take time off, is that up until now, there was no “on-line” way to get reliable geriatric care. As stated earlier, most adult children do not reside close to their aging parents, and as such, have to schedule time to travel in order to arraign for care from a private duty agency, which includes interviewing the agencies, developing a care plan, and signing contracts.

Not only is there an impact on work, there is also a financial impact on these adults. According to a recent AARP study, 30 percent of family caregivers dip into their personal savings to cover long-term care costs, 16 percent reduce contributions to their retirement accounts, and about half cut back on leisure spending in order to help take care of their parents.

The tough reality is that many families are not rich enough to afford the staggering cost of private duty long-term care. Yet at the same time, they do not qualify for Medicaid, a health care program for low-income and disabled adults. So, it is nice to have a lower cost alternative to the high priced private duty agencies, that also delivers a superior service like Well Beyond Care.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

 

Think you will never be a Caregiver? Ask your parents

Our aging parents sometimes have unmet expectations of their children, like wanting them to become doctors, or visiting and corresponding more, and in an ever growing situations, taking care of them in old age.

But when the need for our aging parents to get care and their adult children are not around, this can be disastrous for all parties, both emotionally and financially.  Many times, adult children are still taking care of their own kids, and their parents are left with no one to help them around the house or bring them to doctors. This “sandwich generation” is when adult children are taking care of both their children and their parents. In more and more cases, adult children are saving less for their futures as they help pay for their parents’ care and, in a few scenarios, may cut back on work hours or leave a job altogether.  In the worse case scenario,  discussions about what to do with mom or dad when they need care now or in the future go  undiscussed until it is too late.  Way too often, aging parents just assume that their adult children will take care of them and their needs, often thinking that one will move in with then in their twilight years.

According to a survey conducted by Bay Alarm Medical, more than 55% of parents anticipate their children will be the ones caring for them, either physically or financially, as they age. Unfortunately, most adult children do not agreed with that notion, or know that this is what their parents are thinking. In some areas, like the Midwest, only 36% of people felt children were obligated to care for their aging parents. Participants in other regions of the U.S. were much more likely to say they felt an obligation to caring for their parents in their old age. Parents are three and a half times more likely to lean on their daughters (and expect that of them) than their sons.  According to a 2006 study on mothers’ expectations of caregiving by their children,  and usually rely on the children they feel are closest emotionally.  To counter that finding, at Well Beyond Care, we have found that 80% of the adult children using our service as the care administrator and paying for the service, are male.

Unfortunately, most families do not discuss caregiving needs, nor most money topics in genreal, because they are so uncomfortable, personal or private. Not only do our aging parents keep their finances hidden, but they sometimes forget or avoid, or just don’t know how, to tell their children what they expect in their old age. The consequences could be a disappointed parent, or one without the proper plan to fund their care, or even worse, a parent who needs care and can not get it.

To the consternation of  adult children, they end up bearing the brunt financially if they become their parents’ caregiver without planning. The children may not pursue the careers they want because they have to move back home, or they forego putting more money into a retirement account because they think they willl need liquidity for when their parents fall ill.

Communication is vital between the generations in terms of caregiving, estate planning and myriad other reasons and goes a long way to help both generations plan and live without regrets.  Begin by getting the entire family together (or at least those most important to planning) and come up with a list of questions or concerns, such as who will provide physical care, do household chores or pay bills. Because this is such an emotionally charged subject (people don’t normally like talking about their declining physical or mental state), children have to be especially patient and empathetic toward their parents, and give them room to get angry when they bring up difficult observations, such as impaired driving abilities. If parents keep resisting the conversation, be persistent and bring it up as many times as necessary.

The good news is this that most adult children tend to step up to the plate, even if it is a stressful situation. Of all the 2,000 adult children surveyed in a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave report, 100% said they support their loved ones emotionally and socially, followed by 92% said they provide household support, 84% who said medical support and 64% who said physical care. Another 92% said they provide financial assistance, such as paying the bills, handling insurance claims and cutting back on their own expenses or dipping into their own savings accounts. What is beneficial, is that if a family is unable to move back home, Well Beyond Care can supply a service that saves on average $10,000 to $30,000 over private duty care, and allows management of the care plan from anywhere in the world.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com.  The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.