Home Health Care in California
California is one of the most populated states in North America. With a population of over 30 million, and major cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Beach, San Diego and Fresno, it is no wonder people keep moving in. There are vast opportunities to be had in California in terms of business, education, trade, and your overall future.
Unfortunately, California is also one of the most polluted states in America. Examples include the cities of Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Visalia, Fresno, Sacramento, Hanford, San Diego, San Luis, Merced, El Centro, Modesto and Stockton, which rank among the top most air-polluted cities in the US due to the growing number vehicles taking on the roads. Crime rates are also skyrocketing due to a growing population.
With such an environment, it is no wonder that the health conditions of Californians are being affected. Stress, pollution, and the rapid aging of the ‘baby boomer’ generation—our parents and grandparents—all add to the deteriorating health of Californians, thus, making the clamor for quality health care even louder.
Different physical conditions merit its individual solution. Unfortunately, when it comes to illness, disease, injury or disability, we often instantly think of the costly alternatives of hospitalization or being confined to a care facility or an institution. These solutions however are not always necessary in other cases, wherein you can recuperate or be at the pink of health simply from receiving superior medical attention or health care right in your home. This is home health care.
Home health care is a supportive service in which medical or health care professionals (Registered nurses, therapists, social workers, and home health aides) go to the homes of patients to deliver much-needed care. Services usually include, but are not limited to skilled nursing services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medical social services, and home health aide assistance. There is also home care, wherein daily living assistance and care are provided for by non-licensed personnel such as caregivers.
Though the two have their differences in terms of personnel, both home health care and home care are beneficial in that they are both:
- Less expensive as compared to hospitals
- Proven to prevent further hospitalization due to constant care and monitoring provided to the patient
- Conducive to the patient’s emotional health since they are allowed to maintain their independence, dignity, and peace of mind from staying in their own home
There is not much issue with home health care in California. As mentioned previously, home health care is provided by licensed healthcare personnel, and so patients and their families can rest assured that the medical and healthcare experts going in and out of their homes have experience, credentials, and have been subject to criminal, background, and reference checks.
Unfortunately, this is not the case of home care, which is provided to the patient by caregivers. Unlike other states, California is NOT a licensure state for non-medical or custodial care services such as those provided through home care. This means:
- There are no barriers to entry. Meaning, just about anyone can be a caregiver.
- There are no consumer protection laws. Patients and their families have to acquire caregiver services at their own risk.
- So far, there are no minimum standards when it comes to the quality of caregiver services provided.
- There is currently no official entity supervising the caregivers in California.
Despite California’s lax laws on caregivers, however, Californians can still do their part in insuring they or their loved ones get the most out of their money as well as peace of mind that their caregivers are trustworthy. Here are a few tips to do just that:
- Take caution in selecting a caregiver. Having your own reference checks or getting testimonials of others can be a good thing.
- If possible, make sure your caregiver is bonded and insured.
- You can save yourself the trouble of selecting simply by getting a caregiver from a full service home care agency.
Considering these tips, your best option would be to set an appointment with a home care agency. Though California does not require licenses for practicing caregivers, there is however a certification available for home care companies in this state. This is administered by the California Association for Health Services at Home (http://www.cahsah.org).
With a certified home care agency, you can be assured of an entity supervising the work of your caregivers. Caregivers become official employees in such agencies and therefore, have been subject to in-depth interviews and thorough background, criminal, and reference checks prior to hiring. More likely than not, they are also bonded and insured, and also receive constant training and quality checks from their respective agencies.
To every problem, there is a solution. Regardless of whether or not you need home health care or home care, or if you’re going to acquire the services of an independent caregiver or one contracted by a home care agency, California is a state that is plagued by deteriorating health, but fortunately, one that provides thousands of health care companies to cater to those who need them.