A group of researchers from Johns Hopkins University recently conducted a study to investigate the effects of home care on patients with dementia. The study included 300 participants over the age of 70 with dementia and lasted for 18 months. Participants were broken up into two groups. One group received home based care while the other group did not receive home based care. The study found that after 18 months, 70% of the individuals in the group receiving home care services were still living safely at home while 50% of those who did not receive home care were moved into a nursing home, hospital or assisted living facility, or had passed away. Additionally, participants in the group receiving home care services reported a higher quality of life than those receiving standard services.
What does this mean for you? Well, it depends…
If you’re caring for an aging loved one with a cognitive impairment consider all of your options before making a decision. Also, if your loved one is able to communicate their wishes ask them what they prefer. They may want to move into an assisted living facility for the social aspects but they may also prefer to stay at home. Make sure you have conducted thorough research before making a decision. A professional social worker or care manager can help to identify the best care setting for your loved one. If possible, allow yourself a month to gather all the necessary information about different care options and then mull it over with your loved one. Enlisting the help of a private duty home care agency before you make a decision to move your loved one into another care setting can help ease your burden while you’re trying to make the best decision for your loved one and yourself. It may be that for now the extra care and support provided by a private duty home care agency is enough to take the burden off you while ensuring your loved one is safe.
If you’re a healthcare professional perhaps the findings of this study prove that it is time to re-think your gut reaction when it comes to planning additional services for seniors with mild to moderate cognitive impairment or physical limitations. Recommending private duty home care services for patients you see with gaps in their care can be a literal life saver. It may be that these seniors are only in need of minimal care in order to stay safely in their own home. Although some seniors are reluctant to agree to home care most prefer it to the alternative of moving from their home into a facility. The same change in thinking can be applied when seniors are preparing to leave the hospital. Through changes in healthcare, hospitals have become very focused on reducing hospital readmissions. As a result, many discharge planners see assisted living as the only option for seniors who cannot live safely at home alone. Hopefully now, with knowledge of this study, healthcare professionals will consider private duty in home care companies as partners in their goal of reducing hospital readmissions.
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