Private Duty 101: Your Top Questions About Home Care Services Answered

Private Duty Home Care ServicesIt’s difficult to watch an elder loved one struggle with day-to-day living. You might have questions about what the future looks like for your loved one, whether or not he or she can continue to age in place at home. You may be worried about your or other family members’ ability to help. Your family may live far away or have work and other commitments with young children. If you’re wondering how to make it all work, private duty home care services may be the answer.

What Is Private Duty Home Care?

Private duty is typically “non-medical,” meaning care can be provided by a nursing assistant or home care aides, and supervised by a registered nurse. These nursing assistants or home care aides assist with ADLs (“Activities of Daily Living”) – such as bathing, dressing, grooming, using the bathroom, feeding and assistance in walking or moving. Private duty care can also include home management tasks, like housework and pet care.

One of the great features of private duty home care is how customizable it is. At the very basic level, it will provide your loved one with the care he/she needs in order to age safely at home. These basic needs may include:

  • Assistance with bathing, dressing and using the bathroom
  • Meal preparation
  • Shopping and errands
  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Vital signs measurement and reporting to a nurse
  • Exercise
  • Medication reminders
  • Making household arrangements, such as getting home repairs made
  • Caring for pets
  • Transportation to medical or other appointments
  • Accompaniment to recreational activities
  • Companionship

Some agencies, like Nightingale Homecare, employ registered nurses (RNs) to meet with the client and the family to customize the care plan that the home care aide will follow. The RN will also supervise the care and ensure that the client is matched with the most appropriate caregiver and that the care plan is followed and client needs are met.

What if Nursing Care Is Needed?

Most often, when families are looking into private duty home care services, it is often believed that private duty covers just custodial or non-medical care. Some agencies, however, like Nightingale Homecare, also offer skilled nursing or medical care. It is good to know that the agency you work with can evaluate and transition from non-medical to medical when or if your loved one requires that advanced level of care. Most often, elders can age in place with non-medical care, but occasionally, due to a surgery, illness or injury, it is necessary to support home care with skilled nurses. Often, the skilled care required is intermittent and may be paid for by Medicare or other insurance. It is called “home health services” when care is covered by Insurance or the Medicare benefit. When the skilled care required does not meet the criteria for insurance, or the care requires more than just a visit, skilled agencies, like Nightingale, can cover those skilled needs. Nightingale Homecare has a team of highly trained nurses that can accommodate even the most complicated medical situations. These are some examples of skilled care:

  • Intermittent medication cassette pre-fills and medication monitoring
  • Infusion services
  • Intravenous antibiotic therapy
  • Total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
  • Intravenous fluids for hydration
  • Pain management pumps and/or intravenous pain medications
  • Ventilator/respiratory services
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Tracheostomy care
  • BiPAP, CPAP management
  • Inhalation treatments
  • Wound care
  • Blood draws, including delivery of specimens to an accredited laboratory
  • Teaching to manage chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart failure
  • Stoma care
  • Tube feedings
  • Nursing evaluations

If you are in the beginning phase of exploring private duty home care services in Phoenix, please visit our “questions to ask” page when evaluating agencies.

Do We Need a Referral?

To begin service, you simply need to call the agency and schedule an evaluation visit. There is no age restriction on private duty care; however, some agencies specialize in pediatric care, while others are more adept at elder care. You will not need to get a doctor’s order for the care only if there are skilled medical needs required, in which case the nurse will contact your loved one’s physician to receive orders for care.

What Are My Payment Options?

In most cases, private duty care is paid out of pocket. In some situations, the care may be covered by long term care insurance. Low income clients covered by AHCCCS or Medicaid may be eligible for private duty; these benefits vary by state. Disabled veterans may also have private duty benefits based on need.

If you have further questions about Phoenix area home care services for your senior loved one, we’re happy to help! Simply call us at (602) 504-1555, or jot them down on our simple online contact form and we’ll get right back to you with the answers you need.