Many elderly adults use home care services so that they can remain in their homes for longer. While these services can offer vital benefits to elderly adults, people need to be careful when they are choosing care providers to provide services to their elderly loved ones. Elder Care Direction can offer guidance on reputable home care service providers so that you can make a better-informed decision.
In 2013 in the United States Senate, the Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act was introduced in order to address concerns about the protection and safety of people who rely on various types of home care services. While the act has not passed Congress and is not currently law, it would require states to guarantee the rights of people who receive home care services.
Why do home care recipients need protections?
Elderly and disabled adults may receive home care services that can help them with their health care or daily living needs while they continue to live in their homes as independently as they can. There are many different home care options that are available to people. They can include basic help with transportation, cleaning, and cooking. Home care services may also offer more assistance with health care needs. When the services are offered, the caregivers are normally licensed professionals such as home health aides, therapists, or nurses.
Home care is frequently a more attractive choice to seniors and others who require more help than going into a nursing home or other long-term care facility. The rising costs of long-term care in facilities and the fact that Medicare does not pay for long-term care leads many people to choose home care services as an alternative. People also prefer receiving care in their homes so that they can remain in their homes without having to undergo a significant change in their lives.
It is estimated that up to 70% of senior citizens will require some type of long-term care in their lives. This means that home care services will continue to be a preferred option. However, the increased use of home care services also brings more concerns for the protection and safety of elderly adults. Home care providers have personal and direct access to elderly people who are vulnerable in their homes.
Protections for adults who receive home care services is important. Elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation are all serious problems that continue to plague older adults. Many people are concerned that there is little oversight for the providers of home care services. Some providers are not licensed professionals. Laws do exist to protect the rights of residents who live in long-term care facilities. The Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act would extend those rights to people who receive home care services as well.
What would the Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act do?
If the Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act was passed as it was written in 2013, it would do several things. Each state would be required to enact and enforce its own bill of rights for home care patients. The Act would require the states to provide basic protections for patient safety, access to their information, freedom to choose, and the right to file grievances.
The federal Administration on Aging or AOA would be required to establish best practices for the states’ enforcement of the rights of home care patients. The AOA would also be directed to establish a national resource center to improve programs for adult protective services.
The Act would provide money to fund state home care service ombudsman programs. These programs receive complaints and resolve them. Finally, the AOA would be directed to develop standards of care and measures of quality for home care services providers and to send them to the states.
What is the current status of the Act?
While the Home Care Consumer Bill of Rights Act was introduced in 2013 in the Senate, it was not voted on in Congress. Before it could be passed, it would need to be reintroduced. The Act would then need to pass both of the houses of Congress and to be signed into law by the President.
What are the resources that are available?
To learn about home care service providers in the area in which you live, you can check the Administration on Aging’s service locator. You can also talk to the professionals at Elder Care Direction to learn about the home care service providers in your area.
If you believe that your elderly loved one is receiving inadequate care from a home care service provider or is the victim of exploitation or abuse, you should report your concerns. You can contact the adult protective services agency in your area to report your suspicions. If you see signs of financial or physical abuse, you can also file a police report with your local law enforcement agency. Elder Care Direction can provide referrals to one of our partner elder law attorneys for help with abuse or neglect of the elderly. To learn more, contact Elder Care Direction today to schedule a consultation.