Should you consider private-pay home health options?

In British Columbia there are many seniors who rely on home health services to help them remain independent, despite short-term or long-term health or cognitive challenges.

What is home health care?

Home health care is a term used to refer to the services which seniors, and other people needing support, receive to help them live well at home. Home health care refers to both 1) home care and 2) home support.

Home care is usually used to refer to professional services such as nursing care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy, nutrition, counseling, palliative care services and social services, while home support often speaks to unregulated services such as bathing, personal care, and meal preparation.

However, these terms are often used interchangeably.

Who pays for care?

Home health care can either be arranged through the government (publicly-subsidized care), or purchased privately (private pay care).

If a senior is looking to access publicly-subsidized care, how much they will pay depends on their “pay rate.” A person’s pay rate is determined by their income or a fee schedule, depending on the service they need. Depending on the rate, a senior may receive a service at no cost, or they may share the cost with government. More information about accessing government services can be found on Route 65’s FAQ page.

Why do some seniors pay privately?

Seniors who can afford it sometimes prefer to arrange for care privately, because it allows for more flexibility. For example, private pay care may include things like light housekeeping, companionship, or even dog walking, while publicly subsidized care does not include those services.

Sometimes, seniors who access private pay services also find it easier to ensure that they receive the same home health worker on a consistent basis.

Many seniors will choose private home support to subsidize publicly-subsidized care. This can be particularly helpful when a person’s health has begun to decline, when they are experiencing an illness or injury, or when extra help is needed with things not covered through the public pay system.

Depending on the pay rate which senior is assessed at, the cost difference between private pay and publicly subsidized care might not be significant.

Where can I find a reputable home health care provider?

Navigating the seniors care system can be challenging. That’s why EngAge BC launched Route 65, a free service that helps match seniors and their family members with B.C.’s leading operators of independent living, assisted living, long-term care and home support.

Search for home health providers in your community, here.

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