Why You May Need to Hire an Extra Caregiver

Traditionally individuals who could not live alone or meet their own care needs could choose to live in a nursing home (licensed healthcare residences for individuals who require a higher level of medical care) which provided 24/7 staff to oversee the residents. It was the only game in town. Now there are more options including assisted living and independent living communities as well as a multitude of services geared towards aging-in-place for seniors. With more options, comes more confusion as to what you actually get for your money.

Too often people opt for assisted living or a nursing home not realizing that the services for care are limited. In the case of assisted living, the community may offer a staff that oversees needs, but that doesn’t automatically mean that the staff attends to the needs in a full-service capacity. Typically a menu of services will be offered at extra cost and may only cover a one-time-daily visit to the individual in their unit/room or something small like medication management.

Nursing homes offer more skilled care but there are increasing limitations.

Which is why, more and more, individuals find themselves living in assisted living or nursing homes while also having to hire a private caregiver to attend to their daily needs.

Hire a caregiver for your loved one who is in a nursing home for which you already pay $5000-15,000 a month?  It sounds crazy. Unfortunately, it’s not that crazy.

According to an article in the New York Times, nursing homes are suffering a shortage of residents; “nursing homes get only 43 percent of Medicaid’s long‐term care expenditures.”

This, of course, drives the cost of the facility upwards and the clientele down. Thus, “The 31 largest metropolitan markets have 13,586 fewer nursing home beds now than in late 2005.”

“To avert the crisis nursing homes say they will accept sicker patients, including those on ventilators, at higher reimbursement rates. They’re experimenting with 12hour staff shifts, allowing them to hire fewer employees but offer more flexible schedules. But what about those who already live in nursing homes, or will move in over the coming years, because they need the roundtheclock supervision no other kind of facility offers? ‘From what I’ve observed, as occupancy goes down, so will staff levels,’ Ms. Grant said. With most nursing home staffs already stretched too thin, that could hurt. Despite extensive federal regulations, including new rules adopted in the waning months of the Obama administration, nursing homes have no federal minimum staffing requirements (though some states have requirements). ‘You can cut with impunity,’ Ms. Grant said, and with financial pressures mounting, she worries that facilities will.”

The article ends with a warning; “…families with relatives in nursing homes might want to pay particular attention. If occupancy falls, maybe your loved one gets a private room. Or maybe the call button takes even longer to answer.”

So just because an individual is in a skilled setting like a nursing home, doesn’t mean they will be getting the hourly or constant care that they need. The individual may be part of a rotation, with a limited number of staff members, where care isn’t immediate. And this is why more and more, individuals find themselves living in a nursing home or assisted living while also having to hire a private caregiver to attend to their daily needs.

The purpose of many facilities is to provide oversight and supervision in the larger sense. It’s certainly less isolating to live in a community where you know help is in close proximity. However, for individuals who really need frequent attention to their activities of daily living, private care companionship and caregiving might make all the difference.

Broad Street can help. We provide Personal Assistants who can assist with the activities of daily living, help manage medication, doctor visits and overall health care and awareness. Through our Professional Network, we can help you find the right resources like advocates and care managers. We provide home care in Wilmette, Illinois, the North Shore area of Chicago. For more information, please call 847.728.0134.