Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Paving the Road to Recovery


Submitted by Golden Dreams Home Care

An all-too-common occurrence
As the population of the United States ages and healthcare continues to evolve, more patients are finding themselves in need of in-home assistance following a hospital visit. While the home-care industry is rapidly expanding to meet the growing population of people facing the challenges of aging at home or post-hospitalization care needs, how these services are arranged and delivered is often a source of confusion for many who find themselves with a sudden need for in-home care.

Donna Albert, owner of Golden Dreams homecare in the Quad Cities, cites a very common occurrence for her agency. Often, her staff will receive an urgent call on a Friday afternoon: a parent has been discharged unexpectedly early from the hospital and the family, receiving such short notice, is scrambling to fill the need for in-home care or monitoring for their recovering relative immediately upon discharge. Donna states, “The family is scrambling to arrange immediate services for their relative, but unfortunately, most home-care agencies are not an emergency service.”

Although home-care agencies specialize in providing customized care to their clients, conducting intake interviews, creating personalized care plans, and scheduling the best caretaker to deliver those services is a process of careful planning—as much as they want to see to your loved one’s wellbeing, they are bound by the precautions and processes all licensed agencies are. The gap between the hospital and when the appropriate services can be delivered, often leaves working families making sacrifices in their professional and personal lives to make sure their relative is safe at home.

How to avoid a homecare emergency
Donna stresses the need for in-home care planning this way: “If your car breaks down today, and you need to be at work tomorrow, how do you bridge that gap?” Plan for care ahead of time, and you can avoid a costly and stressful gap. When the time comes for the patient to transition back to home, there are a few precautions Donna suggests to keep the homecoming from becoming a family emergency.

Know what to expec —When your relative schedules a medical procedure, immediately ask questions about post-hospital care from your provider. Everyone’s personal road to recovery is different, but a skilled physician will be able to tell your family what limitations and needs your relative will likely have following their stay. They should also be able to tell you how long it will take for your loved one to return to normal activity and independence. Asking these vital questions can help you plan for release before the procedure even happens. Nursing homes are a viable alternative to home care, but they often have wait lists, so having a bed ready the day of your relative’s discharge is not always likely.

Do your research—Hospitals can assist but are not fully responsible for arranging at-home care for discharged patients. If you ask the right questions, you will know what sort of care your relative will need at home. It is now time to seek out agencies in your area that can provide those services. Sometimes, hospitals have preferred partners they can recommend to you, but that agency isn’t guaranteed to provide the services your loved one needs or even have the openings to take them on as a client. Once the news comes in, start doing research immediately on the agencies that provide the right services to that area, and those which come recommended by user reviews.

Make the call, now—Getting to know the care team and letting them get to know you will help you avoid a desperate decision, and it will make sure that they have the staff and schedule to support your loved one’s needs. An early call relieves stress on both ends: clients can plan for gaps in schedules and avoid last-minute reschedulings, and the agency may be able to conduct their initial interview before the hospitalization to ensure care can start the day it is needed. Possibly, your relative could even use some in-home assistance prior to the hospitalization—this would be a great way to easy the days leading to the surgery and help your relative and ensure that they will have a familiar team ready and waiting for their return home.

Secure payment—Having to discuss financing and money matters can be a stressful and drawn-out process, especially when someone in the family is recovering from hospitalization. Consulting with your insurance provider before the procedure even occurs can ensure you understand the type of care the insurer will cover, and it will help you plan supplemental care and financing before an unexpected or expensive gap occurs. Most are surprised to learn that Blue Cross/Blue Shield does not cover non-medical in-home care, and your long-term care insurance may have certain exceptions for your in-home care needs. Veterans and spouses of veterans are entitled to some varieties of in-home care, but it is best to know what the VA is willing to provide ahead of time, and there is a time-consuming process of enrolling and securing these financial benefits. Knowing your coverage gaps can save you a great deal of frustration and even money if you take steps to secure financing early. An experienced home-care agency will also be able to advise you in securing finances ahead of time.

Golden Dreams Home Care LLC provides non-medical, licensed home-care services to Illinois and Iowa, servicing the Quad Cities metro area—including the cities of Aledo and Sherrard and Clinton and Muscatine counties. Golden Dreams Homecare is also a proud partner ofGenesis Health System, working closely in conjunction with Genesis and its partners and resources to ensure families’ healthcare needs are met on all levels. Golden Dreams Homecare LLC is a Medicaid provider, VA provider, and works very closely with most long-term care insurers. Donna Albert has been the owner and operator of Golden Dreams Homecare LLC for its full 16 years of service; Golden Dreams Homecare LLC is not a franchise.

Please visit them on the web at http://www.goldendreamshomecare.com, email at donna@goldendreamshomecare.com, or call 309-764-4653 in Illinois or 563-386-6246 in Iowa.