A home care assessment is an evaluation done by a senior care professional or a home care agency to assess the needs of your loved one. It is an essential first step in determining personal care needs. Aside from identifying the primary needs of the older adult, a home care assessment also helps determine what additional services would be beneficial for maintaining independence.
When taking care of a loved one, it is crucial that you have a good understanding of their physical, emotional, and social needs. This allows you to provide more support that covers their specific health and personal care concerns. One of the first steps is to set up a home care assessment.
This important evaluation will help determine the best course of care for your loved one.
What Is a Home Care Assessment?
How Is a Home Care Assessment Performed?
Home care assessments are typically performed by licensed home care agencies. When you or your loved one’s physician contacts a home care agency, a qualified care coordinator or a licensed nurse will be scheduled to visit the home of your loved one.
This initial consultation doesn’t cost anything and you are also not obligated to commit to any services. The person conducting the initial assessment will meet with any involved family caregivers, assess the abilities of the client, and may ask to walk through the home where they live.
Some of the other things that will be assessed include:
- Skills and abilities of the older adult to perform daily tasks
- Emotional health and social life
- Support systems available
- Personal care needs
- Medical issues and concerns
- Risk and safety hazards inside the home
Importance of a Home Care Assessment
Looking for the best home care options for your elderly loved one can be overwhelming. The purpose of a home care assessment is to make sure all your loved one’s needs are addressed by identifying areas of concern. Knowing the specific needs will allow senior care professionals to create a custom care plan and make recommendations.
What a Home Care Assessment Looks For
There are several areas that will be covered during the assessment. The home care assessment is meant to gather as much information about your loved one in order to provide the most appropriate level of support. The assessment is also used to match potential caregivers to the client based on care needs, personality, and availability.
Background and History
It is normal for a home care assessment to begin with diving into the client’s background. Recent hospitalizations, falls, and other necessary details may be brought up to understand the history of your loved one.
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
The care recipient’s ability to perform ADLs such as walking, bathing, dressing, eating, and housekeeping will be asked about or observed. It is important to determine how much independence your loved one can still manage and which areas they need assistance with.
Medical Diagnosis and History
Medical conditions (chronic and acute), allergies, and other health-related issues will be assessed. The care coordinator may also request to contact your loved one’s physician if they need more information about their medical status.
It is also necessary to understand any unusual or aggressive behaviors of the care recipient, as well as their mental health. There will be questions about long and short-term memory, mental status, and any signs of anxiety, aggression, or paranoia.
The home environment will be checked for safety and risk hazards. It is important that the home is a safe living environment for the care recipient and caregiver alike. If not, a discussion or plan can be made to make the home safer and more accommodating.
What To Expect From a Home Care Assessment
The goal of a home care assessment is to have a deeper understanding of the care needs of your loved one. The evaluation is done with your loved one’s safety and care needs in mind. You can expect to be asked many questions designed to help a home care provider understand your loved one’s status.
- The number of home care hours necessary
- The specific type of care needed
- The duration of care needed
- The estimated cost of caregiving services
It is important to be honest and open during the initial and follow-up discussions. Have a list of your own questions you want to ask the senior care professional. Feel free to also clear up any personal concerns that you might have.
List of Home Care Assessment Questions
Here are some examples of questions you or your loved one may be asked during a home care assessment:
- Can your loved one bathe or dress independently?
- Have there been any falls or slipping incidents?
- Does your loved one need help in feeding and/or meal preparation?
- How are they in social situations? Are they lonely?
- How is their mental health? Are they depressed or anxious?
- What are the medications that they are taking?
- What are some of your caregiving expectations?
- What are your long-term care goals for your loved one? Do you want them to remain at home for as long as possible?
Is a Home Care Assessment Required?
No, a home care assessment is not legally required to receive home care service. However, it is often the first step performed by most home care agencies.
This is essential to creating a custom care plan that best fits your loved one’s personal care and health needs. An assessment is also the first step in determining a good fit for a potential caregiver match.
Home Care Assessment vs Home Safety Evaluation
A home care assessment is different from a home safety evaluation. Home care assessments look into the overall condition and care needs of the care recipient, while home safety evaluations focus on identifying risk hazards in the environment. Home safety evaluations are performed by Home Health companies and the service is paid for by Medicare Part B.
If you are planning to hire a private caregiver, they may or may not offer to provide any type of assessment. It’s important to communicate the needs of your loved one clearly, regardless of who will be caregiving.
The goal of a home care assessment is to have a greater understanding of the care recipient, family support, personal care needs, and the environment they are living in. This is done to identify the specific personal, emotional, and health needs of the patient. Once a home care assessment has been performed, a recommendation will be made in terms of the type and frequency of personal care needed by a loved one.
Home Care Assessment Frequently Asked Questions
Home care assessments are an essential part of providing the best kind of care for your older loved one. It identifies areas of concern, health status, and care needs so that a personalized care service plan can be created to address specific issues.
Some of the home care assessment questions you can expect include: What are your care expectations? Have there been any recent slips or falls? What is the support system like? How is your elderly loved one’s current health/mental state?
In-home care is a personal medical or non-medical care service provided to older adults in the comfort of their own home. Home care is an alternative to nursing homes and other senior care facilities, although home care may be provided in these settings as well. A professional care provider or private caregiver will be working in the home to assist your loved one with daily activities, errands, and activities of daily living.
You can expect to learn important information about home care and what kinds of support will be provided. This includes the cost of service, hours needed for care, type of care needed, suggested home modifications, and a course of action or care plan for your loved one.
Amie Clark, BSW
Aging Advocate and Senior Care Expert
Amie has worked with older adults and their families for the past twenty-plus years of her career. Her senior care knowledge is based on her experience as a social worker, family caregiver, and senior care consultant. Learn more about Amie here.