Adapting Our Health Care System for the Rising Population
Prevention & Treatment As spouses, children and siblings take on new roles as caregivers, home-based care professionals provide comfort, expertise and support.
The phone rings. It’s the nurse from the emergency department. Your parents are there. Again.
A few minutes later, you gather your things, explain to your boss and head to your car. You know what comes next. You have been there four times already this month.
Mom fell, Dad got upset. The ambulance brought them, and now they have to go home.
Everyone gives advice: put her in a nursing home, move in with her, move them in with you, hire someone, move them to senior living, put rails on her bed, sell their house, can’t you do something? Just do something.
The need for a change
As 10,000 baby boomers become Medicare-eligible every day, the need for home-based services grows exponentially. People want to live independently and in their own home, but natural aging and chronic illness make this difficult for many.
Spouses, children and siblings are increasingly taking on new roles as caregivers to support their loved ones. In many cases, caregiving requires everyone to help, but it can be confusing, exhausting and overwhelming. Despite desire and intention, it’s not always easy to find the time and resources needed to care for loved ones. This is where home-based care comes in.
How home-based care can help
Home-based care is an essential part of health care today, touching the lives of nearly all Americans. It includes a broad range of professional healthcare and support services provided in the home: assisting people who are recovering, disabled, chronically or terminally ill and are in need of medical, nursing, social or therapeutic treatment and/or assistance with the essential activities of daily living.
Nurses, aides, therapists and social workers help caregivers and their loved ones live a fuller, happier, safer life in the comfort and security of their home. As a team, these professionals work together to assist clients and caregivers in finding solutions to maximize independence and stay out of the emergency department. They bring expertise to help people walk, dress, bathe, manage medications, eat, reduce falls and find resources like transportation.
Often, home-based care professionals help caregivers make simple changes—like choosing the best type of light bulb, adding hand rails or initiating the use of medication boxes—which relieve stress points and make life easier for everyone. They also support caregivers as they care for loved ones in the last days of life, ensuring the caregivers have what they need physically and emotionally during this time.
Most importantly, home-based care professionals have the knowledge and skills to help caregivers and their loved ones balance the changes in their lives so that caregiving can be a part of life, not an obstacle to living it.