April 7, 2023
Reading Time 5 min.

What is Home Care and What You Need To Know as a Caregiver

What is home care, and why must you know about it?

Caregivers often have a huge challenge when choosing the type of care their senior loved ones receive. 

At times, families are not fully aware of the solutions that are available to them. 

Because of this, caregivers often suffer from caregiver burnout. 

In this second part blog post, I'll share my conversation with Amanda Jackson-Swinburne OTR/L, CAPS. 

As a Home Care Liaison at TheKey, she helps families find better-fitting solutions for caring for their senior loved ones. 

She will also share valuable tips on why you need to find respite as a caregiver. 

So let's get started. 

What's the difference between home care and home health?

home care vs home health

Amanda: Home care and home health are both forms of care provided in a person's home, but they differ in the type of care provided and the qualifications of the caregivers.

Home care typically involves non-medical assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation, and light housekeeping. 

Home care aides may also provide companionship and help with transportation. Home care is often provided by certified nursing assistants (CNAs), personal care aides, or home health aides. 

Home care focuses on helping people with basic daily tasks and maintaining their quality of life.

On the other hand, home health involves medical care provided by licensed healthcare professionals, such as nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists. 

A doctor usually prescribes home health services and may include wound care, medication management, IV therapy, pain management, and disease management. 

Home health is typically used for people recovering from an illness or injury or with a chronic medical condition requiring ongoing care.

Unfortunately, home care is not considered medically necessary, especially for cases with complex conditions like dementia or Parkinson's disease. So most of the time, home care is private pay. 

What are common challenges you encounter with home care?

home care options

Amanda: Most of the time, people don't think it's necessary unless they're already in a situation where they need one. 

People would often go home after surgery or a medical procedure and have someone from Home Health check on them. 

But after a while, they're surprised when the Home Health assistant leaves after a few hours. 

That's when they realize they need help because it's much more dangerous to be left alone.

It's tricky if you think about it. And part of my job as a liaison is to educate people, even health professionals and doctors, about the need for home care. 

This is also especially true for elders discharged from hospitals and nursing homes. 

Most of the time, they expect home health to be there when they go home. But then they quickly realize they need a different type of home assistance. 

Home care personnel can decrease hospital readmission rates even if it's just for a short time. It also lessens the risk of falls and other conditions the patient encounters while healing at home. 

Another challenge is helping families decide when to get home care assistance. 

It's often a difficult topic to discuss. As much as possible, we need to have everyone onboard.

For example, we handled a case in the past where the elder didn't want to get a caregiver. 

So we needed to handle the matter delicately. That meant we had to introduce the home care personnel as a personal assistant. 

It started light, but eventually, we established trust between the patient and the home care personnel. 

These are examples of the things we can do. Cases like these usually require in-person assessments so that we can recommend the best approach. 

We consider having rapport during an assessment essential. And these conversations are always difficult but vital.

People can dance around it, but the consequence of not having this conversation may be detrimental. 

That's why we also encourage families to be honest and to approach the conversation better. 

That way, it's not forced and becomes a much easier process for everyone. 

Sometimes conversations can be so emotional. But we have people who can read the room well. That's where we develop plans and options that the client wants. 

How can people get your services? 

home care for seniors

Amanda: The best way is to visit our website at TheKey. 

Typically, we need at least 24 to 48 hours to send someone. But in special cases, there are times when we do a quick assessment over the phone or virtual meeting. 

We want the client to have a seamless experience. Each client gets assigned a representative that assists them during their care. And I check on them weekly to see their progress. 

Assessment is necessary to ensure we pinpoint the needs of our clients. 

For me, it's great to hear the family's voice go from draining to joy and peace. That happens when they know their loved ones are cared for, even if they are miles away. 

What's your best tip for caregivers? 

home care made easier

Amanda: Caregiving is hard, and that's all the more reason for caregivers to have some respite. 

We must achieve that balance and keep our mental health and sanity in check. 

Just like in airplanes, when things get rough, you need to put on your oxygen mask on yourself first before putting it on another person.

Caring for the other person won't be easy if you don't care for yourself. 

It's not easy, especially if you have a life to live. You've got your job and your family to take care of. 

No one prepares you to be a caregiver. It's a hard job. But remember, there's no shame in asking for help. 

Read more about respite care providers here. 

About Amanda Jackson-Swinburne

Amanda Jackson-Swinburne brings an extensive clinical background and healthcare experience into her role of home care liaison for TheKey (formerly Home Care Assistance), a longtime national provider of quality in-home care. 

She is also a certified aging-in-place specialist and was previously a program manager of multiple assisted living facilities before transitioning into her role as home care liaison. 

With extensive experience in skilled nursing, outpatient care, and independent/assisted living, she is highly skilled in providing seniors with the highest level of care.

As an occupational therapist, she is passionate about helping people of all ages participate in activities they need and want to do. 

By utilizing everyday activities as therapeutic tools, she aims to increase clients' quality of life and enable them to become more independent with daily living. 

Amanda has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Georgia College and a Master's in Health Science/Occupational Therapy from the Medical College of Georgia. 

She is also a certified Aging Place Specialist with expertise in Physical Agent Modalities and LSVT BIG for Parkinson's. 

Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn here. 

That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe at home and have a great day!


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