Home Health Care in St. Louis – A Family Guide for Home Health Care

elderly woman being helped by nurse

Did you know that the percentage of senior citizens aged 65 and older in St. Louis is higher than the national percentage? While 15.6% of Americans are senior citizens, over 16% of St. Louis's population of 2.8 million are senior citizens. Home health care in St. Louis on the rise and for good reason. Seniors want to stay living at home.

The truth is, St. Louis doesn't have the best track record when it comes to assisted living. While the national average cost for assisted living clocks in around $3,395 per month, that number skyrockets to nearly $5,000 in St. Louis.  Unfortunately, Medicare won't help to cover a lot of these costs, to include basic residency costs. You may find that assisted living places too much of a financial burden on your family. But what about home health care in St. Louis?

Read on to learn more about your options for home health care in St. Louis and find out if that's the right option for your loved one!

What is Home Health Care In St. Louis?

Home health care in St. Louis by Envision Health Partners is a holistic and integrative system that allows for private care for the elderly in their St. Louis home. Home health care in St. Louis programs bring together a variety of specialists who can improve the health and well-being of homebound senior citizens.

When you decide that home health care is necessary for your loved one, you have the option to request in-home nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Some seniors may only need one or two of these services, while others may benefit from all of them.

elderly man being helped by nurse

Nursing

When senior citizens are faced with health problems or hospitalizations, it's important that they get the care they need. Nurses who provide in-home health care can provide treatment for injuries and illnesses. They can also teach seniors how to administer their own treatments.

Certified nurse assistants can provide help with crucial day-to-day tasks. These tasks include bathing, grooming, and dressing.

Nurses and nurse assistants can improve patients' emotional wellness by easing the strains of living at home while aging.

Physical Therapy

Rehabilitation is not accessible outside of the home for homebound senior citizens. Physical therapists that work with a home health care team can bring that rehabilitation to them.

Physical therapists provide things like strength and endurance training. They can also teach important skills like fall prevention and pain management.

Occupational Therapy

Many seniors find their daily routines disrupted. This may result from a health setback or the growing intensity of health issues and physical disorders.

Occupational therapists can work with seniors to develop strategies that will put them back in charge of their own lives. These strategies can help improve everything from hygiene-maintenance to memory lapses.

An occupational therapist's goal is to develop something of an "activities of daily living checklist" for their patient. They then teach their patient the skills to get through that checklist on their own.

Speech Therapy

Many neurological injuries can make it difficult for seniors to talk or swallow. Speech therapy is designed to retrain the muscles required for speech and other oral activities.

Speech requires planning and organization skills that help us remember what we need to communicate. For this reason, speech therapy as been shown to help with disorders that lead to memory loss.

Emotional and Spiritual Assistance

An estimated 20% of older adults suffer from mental health problems. Not all home health care providers cover emotional and spiritual assistance. Envision Health Partners, a St. Louis home health organization, does.

We understand the importance of emotional and spiritual health during the healing process. No amount of physical care can help a senior citizen who has forgotten how important and loved they are.

When is it Time for Home Health Care In St Louis?

One of the hardest parts of placing your loved one in home health care is identifying the signs that it's time and accepting that change. There are a few signs that indicate that more care may be necessary.

elder man struggling with health

Worsening Self-Maintenance

A messy appearance or poorly maintained hygiene may be the first sign you notice, simply because it's quickly identifiable. Your loved one may have lost interest in their self-maintenance or the ability to keep up with. Signs may include greasy hair, dirty clothing, or new odors.

Decline in Home-Maintenance

The same goes for the state of their living space. Maintaining a home requires lots of physical movement like bending and reaching. This may be hard on your loved one's body after an injury or illness.

Rising Health Issues

Lingering or worsening health issues in senior citizens may indicate that they are having trouble getting or providing themselves with the health care they need. That could mean anything from missed appointments due to limited mobility or a failure to take medication as directed due to memory loss.

Medical issues are certainly the most alarming of these signs. When medical issues aren't dealt with, the risk of hospitalization (and worse) increases.

You may be able to relieve some of the burdens that come with self- and home-maintenance on your own. However, it will require a professional to address medical issues.

Fading Mood or Mental Health

Finally, worsening mental health may indicate that your loved one requires more care than they are currently receiving. Oftentimes, you may notice their withdrawal from activities they previously enjoyed. You may also observe an increase or decrease in sleeping, eating, and other routine functions required for healthy lives.

If your loved one is exhibiting any or all of these signs, it may be a good time to start considering home health care.

Does Medicare Pay for Home Health Care?

long term care coverage

Home health care in St. Louis is covered by Medicare under certain circumstances. It can be a little tricky to make sense of when Medicare will cover home health care and what exactly it covers, so we'll break it down here.

Who Qualifies for Medicare-covered Home Health Care In St Louis?

Seniors who are homebound qualify for Medicare-covered home health care. "Homebound" entails that the patient has a great deal of trouble leaving their home and cannot do so without assistance.

Medicare will cover home health care if the patient needs skilled, professional nursing and/or certain skilled, professional therapy care intermittently. "Intermittently" can mean two things: 1) At least once every 60 days or 2) every day for up to a maximum of three weeks.

The patient will also be required to have a face-to-face appointment with their doctor. This can occur either within 90 days before the home health care is to start or within 30 days after it has already started. This typically entails a visit to a doctor's office or hospital. There are some situations in which technology can be used to facilitate the appointment.

The patient's doctor must sign a home health certification that states that the patient is both homebound and in need of intermittent professional care. This certification will also detail a plan for the patient's care. It will also need to be renewed by the doctor every 60 days, although a face-to-face appointment is not necessary for this step.

Finally, the home health care agency chosen must be Medicare-approved.

What Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare may cover all or part of your loved one's home health care expenses, depending on your needs.

Because Medicare is designed to cover medical health programs, certain therapeutic programs may not qualify unless additional services are required. In other words, if your loved one only needs occupational therapy, this will have to be paid for by means other than Medicare. However, if your loved one also requires professional nursing assistance, occupational therapy will be covered.

Unfortunately, your family cannot decide what your loved one requires. Even if you firmly believe that an additional service is necessary, it will not be covered by Medicare unless a doctor deems it necessary. You may want to talk with your loved one's doctor personally if you feel that your loved one will fail to express all of their needs accurately.

Does Medicare Cover Long-term Care?

Long-term care, or home care, is not the same thing as home health care.

Agencies that offer long-term care are strictly offering non-skilled assistance. This assistance is primarily custodial and is designed for senior citizens who are likely to be homebound for the rest of their duration. Candidates who qualify for home health care are more likely to be on the path to recovery and independence, rather than seeking permanent in-home assistance.

Because long-term care is not performed by skilled professionals in the nursing or therapy fields, it is not covered by Medicare.

If your loved one is in need of permanent or long-term assistance, home health care may not be quite what you're looking for.

elderly woman being helped by nurse

When Should My Family Choose Home Health Care In St. Louis Rather than Assisted Living?

Assisted living can be highly beneficial for some senior citizens, but for others, it might not be a necessary transition or even a good idea.

Because assisted living tends to offer constant in-house staffing, it can be more expensive than home health care. If your loved one doesn't need constant care and can, for the most part, take care of themselves, home health care should be enough. You may be paying more money than necessary if you opt for assisted care.

Your loved one may also prefer to stay in an environment that is familiar and comfortable to them. As long as they don't pose any risk to themselves by staying in their home, this shouldn't be an issue.

In fact, relocating them to a new environment when they're already going through recovery may add unnecessary strain. This could worsen their mental health.

Ultimately, if your loved one is only temporarily homebound, home health care is a better option. If you trust that they are still in a position to make good decisions, include them in this conversation. After all, their lives are going to be the most impacted by this change!

wellness center for seniors

What Help Can I Get for My Loved One When They Are No Longer Homebound?

Home health care is designed to help senior citizens return to an independent way of living. Many of the skills required for self-care and a higher quality of life will be instilled in your loved one in the weeks or months they receive home health care.

However, it can be just as jarring to adjust to independence once the home health care is completed as it was to adjust to assistance when the home health care began. How do you help your loved one ease back into their life without home visits from skilled professionals?

For starters, help your loved one combat loneliness. If they live alone, they will likely miss the human interaction they were receiving during their visits from the home health care staff.

Finding social events that are accessible to seniors and constructed for their enjoyment can work wonders. Your loved one's mood and emotional wellness will benefit from increased activity!

Once home health care is done, your loved one's physical activity will no longer be monitored by a professional. It is also important to make sure that your loved one is still actively taking care of themselves physically! However, not all gyms or workout programs are appropriate for senior citizens, especially those who have limited mobility or have to be mindful of previous injuries.

Fortunately, St. Louis offers wellness classes that focus on things like balance and low-impact workouts. These classes are perfect for senior citizens and can be covered by Medicare or insurance!

elderly man being helped by nurse

Where Can I Find Home Health Care In St. Louis?

When you're bringing strangers into your loved one's home, especially strangers who are tasked with the important job of encouraging and maintaining wellness, you need to find someone you can trust.

At Envision Health Partners, we offer topnotch home health care in St. Louis. Our team is made up of highly trained and experienced specialists. That includes registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists, and more!

We also partner with medical providers, assisted living centers, and independent communities in St. Louis. Our goal is to ensure that the senior citizens of St. Louis are well taken care of in every way.

If you want to know more about our services or schedule a free home health assessment for your loved one!

Need Some Help Navigating Through Senior Health?

Aging in place comes with its own benefits and challenges.

From tips on having “the talk” with Mom or Dad to choosing treatment plans for a loved one, this free ebook helps to make care decisions easier for everyone.

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