Home is where the heart is. It’s where we feel safe and it can also give us a sense of belonging in the community we enjoy being a part of. As we get older, many of us find we could do with a little help to ensure we can keep our independence and carry on living at home. This can be particularly true after an illness or hospital visit. You are not alone and there is help out there when you need it. Read on to find out how you can access a home care package that are going to suit you and your situation.
The HSE Home Support Service Explained
The Health Service Executive (HSE) offers a home care package at a local level. This includes its Home Support Service. You may have heard of this under its previous name, the Home Care Package Scheme.
The idea behind the Home Support Service is to enable the elderly to carry on living at home for as long as possible. It can provide help with lots of everyday tasks like:
- Getting in and out of bed
- Personal care including shaving and showering
- Putting clothes on and getting undressed
The HSE will make an assessment of an individual’s circumstances and make a decision about which supports it believes they need. Either the HSE or an approved external provider like Comfort Keepers will provide these.
You can express a preference for an external provider when you apply for the Home Support Service.
One of the advantages of using an external provider is that you have the option to bolt on extra hours. These would be at your own expense but from the same provider and for any additional support you feel you need.
Cost and Application
The HSE does not charge for the hours of Home Support Service it deems sufficient under its assessment process. There is no means-testing and you do not need a medical card to access the services.
You do not have to provide any documents with your application form. Anyone over the age of 65 can apply for help through the Home Support Service. They may need extra support to carry on living at home or be heading back home after a hospital stay.
There are circumstances when a home care package is available to those under 65. For example, if a person has early-onset dementia or a disability, they can apply for help at home too.
Hospital Stays and the Home Support Service
If you are in hospital, you or your family may wish to request a Home Support Service application form from the person in charge of your Discharge Plan. This could be a social worker, nurse, or discharge coordinator.
They can help you to fill in the form and send it to the relevant HSE Home Support Office. The sooner you send off your application whilst you are in hospital, the less likely there is to be a delay to any agreed support once you get home.
Planning ahead is a very good idea so that you understand all the ins and outs of the Home Support Service whilst you’re in good health. When the time’s right, you’ll then be able to take full advantage of all available options to make things work best for you and your home care package.
Using Comfort Keepers as Your Service Provider
You may well have the option of dealing with an approved provider of your choice. For example, sometimes when the HSE has agreed to help through the Home Support Service, it lacks the staff to fulfil its obligations.
In this case, an approved external provider like Comfort Keepers will step in. The HSE will let you know the weekly amount of funding you can use for home support with your preferred provider.
You can then deal directly with your chosen provider to fix up the days or hours you’d like for your support.
Consumer Directed Home Support (CDHS) is the name of this system. The number of hours of home support that the funding can offer will vary depending on the rates charged by the provider.
You may find that there is a disparity between the hours of support the HSE has agreed to pay and the number of hours you feel you need.
Let’s say you use Comfort Keepers as your provider through the CDHS system. You can request additional hours from them at your own expense. There are several advantages in doing this:
- You get the level of support you feel you need
- It’s convenient as it’s possible to arrange for the same carer to stay on longer
- There’s greater consistency as you will not have to change your provider
If you’ve ever had support at home, you’ll know how much easier it is to have the same person caring for you. It saves time and it can give you a sense of security because you know that they understand your needs.
Using your preferred external provider rather than the HSE for your support needs could be very beneficial. It puts you in control of how much support you need, the times you need it, and who will deliver it.
For example, you might find that the HSE will only pay for help with getting in and out of bed. You might feel you also need the services of a home help who can sort out some of your domestic chores or give you some nutritional care.
If you use the same external provider like Comfort Keepers, it will do its best to arrange for the same carer to perform all these tasks during the same visit. This reduces stress on you and will help you continue enjoying the lifestyle you’ve become used to at home.
Stay Independent for Longer with the Right Home Care Package
As we grow older the need to stay safe and happy at home can become even more important. Getting the right home care is essential to ensure our independence and place in the community.
Comfort Keepers is there for all your home support requirements. Get in touch with us now so that we can help you keep your independence for as long as possible.