In response to the Chicago Tribune running an article about Illinois’ rampant home health care fraud, several readers responded, and some of those letters highlight various challenges the home care industry faces as a result of numerous unscrupulous agency owners. Publicity is a major concern for a growing sector within the health care industry. Presenting a truthful and positive message to the general public is a critical component of helping men and women who struggle with mobility or their overall health remain where they’re most comfortable. That comes through the support of home health care services.
Published in the Chicago Tribune, an editorial entitled, Letter: Why home health care isn’t for everyone, written by Mary Ann Smith:
“After trying home health care, my husband is now secure and well-cared for in a nursing home. He and I were determined to provide quality care at home. The search for quality was confusing, exhausting and depressing. He has little local family to help. We depended on neighbors and the Chicago Fire Department to help after his many falls, some quite dangerous. We didn’t understand the avalanche of changing medical needs and care-taking needs that quickly put him at risk.”
There are certainly situations that may be more prudent for an aging individual to move to a long-term care facility, but with the availability of home care aides, visiting nurses, and even physical therapists who can make ‘house calls,’ it is feasible for almost everyone to remain home, if they choose.
Ms. Smith noted that searching for ‘quality’ care was overwhelming and that is where many of the industry’s challenges may lie. While the federal government and some states or striving to find ways to offer more accurate information and, in some cases, ratings for caregivers and agencies, it is a slow moving process and difficult for the average individual to discern between reliable information and resources online focused almost exclusively on advertising and maximizing revenue.
In these recent articles, a common thread can be seen and that is in how the home care sector, though growing faster than any other industry in the country, still faces monumental challenges pertaining to perceptions and information.
When some people like the author of the editorial referred to here turns to neighbors, friends, and the fire department because trying to navigate home care options was too difficult, it offers some valuable insight into what some providers may be able to do to help the general public learn more about why these services are optimal for both short and long-term care.
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