Medical versus Non-medical Care

There are two different types of home care providers, medical and non-medical. A non-medical home care agency can provide bathing and dressing assistance, medication reminders, and assistance with transferring from the bed to a chair. Caregivers will do household chores such as light cleaning, laundry, errand running, grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, light meal preparation, and getting the mail. They will also provide services that help with socialization and transportation like accompanying the aging adult to a doctor’s appointment, sitting and watching TV together, playing card games or board games, taking the senior to special events or senior centers, going to the library, and other social activities.Non-medical caregivers cannot assist with medication administration but can remind someone to take medications that have been pre-poured.

Medical or “Skilled” home care providers are Medicare-certified home health agencies. Caregivers are licensed registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who can provide assistance with all aspects of personal care as well as nursing care that non-medical staff are unable to do. For example, nurses can assist with medication adjustments, provide tube feedings, insert catheters, care for patients with specialized equipment management and health monitoring needs such as tracheostomy care and ventilator support.

No one can take care of your parent or spouse exactly the way you would, but a good agency will provide caring and compassionate staff who do the best job they can. The squeaky wheel always gets the grease when it comes to service providers. Do your homework prior to hiring an agency, and be sure to check on your aging loved one regularly.Visit unexpectedly, and monitor what’s happening in the home. Speak up and communicate with the agency!

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