Home care for elderly patients is big business. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the industry, and CNBC informs us that home care workers in the US are approaching their tipping point. Despite this, home care is a necessary part in much older adult’s lives. One of the consistent problems that families have when choosing a home care provider is the hidden costs of the service. While home care service providers have, in the past, been very transparent with their clientele, that visibility seems to be changing.
Paying Extra is the Norm
There have been several clear cases where clients of home care providers have experienced a shock at the final bill they received. In some cases, it came from poor communication of the difference between hourly and half-hourly fees. Visitations not rounded off to a complete hour forced clients t pay a premium for the part of the hour they used. Providers employing these practices fall back on the notion that the client never asked about the half-hourly rates despite being an obscure bit of information.
Other providers have taken to charging for visiting during “unsocial” hours. The practice is ludicrous since not all professionals have the same visitation hours as everyone else, and a home care outfit should be more understanding about their available time. Finally, and perhaps most egregiously, home care agencies have taken to charging for a change of plans. Canceling a scheduled visit, for example, carries with it a stiff penalty. You can’t plan for every eventuality, and it seems harsh to charge people for something they can’t foresee happening.
Avoiding the Hidden Costs
When looking at home care for seniors, you should ask pointed questions to ensure that you and your provider are on the same page. Among the items you need to ask are:
· What’s included in the care? Find out what you’re paying for and will it increase as the needs of your loved one do. You should also follow up to see if it covers home care and companionship.
· What does the standard rate really mean? Examine the rates they give you carefully. Clarify if the prices will increase for “non-social” hours or on holidays and weekends.
· What happens if I reschedule a visit? Find out if there are any attached fees for canceling or moving appointments. Follow up on what happens when you miss visits (because of unforeseen circumstances)
· Will these costs increase? Home care providers sometimes send up their prices each year to cater for living increases. Knowing about these early can help you plan accordingly.
Navigating the Cost of Home Care
Home care is one of the most difficult costs to estimate accurately. Between increases in the cost of living and medicine to other complications that may arise, home care providers tend to raise their rates to respond. You need to find out what you’re getting yourself into before you sign up for home care. Starting with a provider doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with them, luckily. Aging Care mentions that it may take a bit of trial and error to find the right home care agency for your loved one. Don’t think you’re stuck with a single choice. Shop around and ask the right questions. You will be surprised at what you uncover.