We all want the best care for our loved one, but choosing the right home care provider can be a daunting task. Given the multitude of care providers available in Singapore, how do you determine which is best for your loved one?
Read on to learn more about the different types of home care available and how you can decide on the most suitable home care provider as we simplify the process for you in this step-by-step guide.
What is home care?
Home care refers to any professional support services that allow a person to live safely in the comfort of their own home. People who require home care services may include seniors who need support to live independently, individuals with special needs or a disability, those recovering at home post-surgery, or people managing chronic conditions.
9 examples of home care services
There are various types of home care services available. Depending on an individual’s care needs, different people may require different types of care services, and sometimes a combination of several types.
Here are 9 types of home care services you can engage.
1. Home personal care
Home personal care refers to support provided by caregivers or health aides to help individuals perform daily activities and live independently. This includes assistance with any of the 6 basic activities of daily living (washing, toileting, dressing, feeding, mobility, and transferring), as well as more complex instrumental activities of daily living such as meal planning, medication management, and grocery shopping.
2. Home nursing care
Licensed nurses can perform simple and complex nursing procedures in the individual’s home. Nursing procedures that can be safely completed at home include, but are not limited to:
- Changing of feeding tubes
- Vital signs monitoring, including blood pressure and glucose levels
- Medication administration
- Female bladder catheterisation
- Urine and stoma bag drainage and change
- Wound care
Besides delivering nursing care, home nurses can also educate, train, and share tips with family members and caregivers on how to best care for their loved ones and manage caregiver stress and burnout.
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3. Home therapy
With home therapy, individuals who require physiotherapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy will no longer have to step out of home for rehabilitation.
Besides convenience, home therapy provides more one-on-one time with the therapist. Furthermore, feeling at ease in a familiar setting helps therapists and care recipients build better rapport, which can aid in the recovery process.
4. Medical escort and transport
Those who need support travelling to and fro medical appointments or other events can engage medical escorts. Medical escort services include transportation as well as a trained caregiver to accompany the individual to and fro home and the appointment location. This is especially useful for individuals who are unable to make it to the appointment independently, such as when the primary caregiver is unavailable.
Having a trained medical escort at medical appointments can also ensure that the doctor’s advice is accurately relayed to the family member and/or primary caregiver.
5. Home hospice care
Hospice care is a specialised form of care for people who are in the final stages of an incurable condition. Since the condition is no longer curable, hospice care focuses on improving an individual’s quality of life rather than treatment. Besides cancer, hospice care can also help those with late-stage conditions such as dementia, heart conditions, lung disease, or kidney disease. While a majority of hospice care recipients are seniors, adults and children can also benefit from it.
Home hospice care is often ideal since individuals can find comfort in an environment most familiar to them. Medical equipment such as ventilators can also be loaned if required.
6. Home palliative care
Palliative care is a holistic and specialised approach to caring for individuals battling life-threatening illnesses. This usually involves a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers and counsellors working together to mitigate the physical symptoms and address the psychological, social and spiritual issues that these individuals and their families may face.
Palliative care is a term that’s often used interchangeably with hospice care, since both aim to improve an individual’s quality of life. However, the main difference is that palliative care can continue alongside curative treatment, but hospice care only happens after the individual has stopped responding to curative treatment and has fewer than six months to live.
Since the goal is to maximise quality of life, receiving palliative care at home where it is most comfortable and familiar to the individual may be ideal.
7. Meals on Wheels
Meals-on-Wheels services deliver meals to those who are unable to buy or prepare their own meals, and have no caregiver to help them do so. This is an essential service that helps to meet the daily needs of those who are homebound or seniors who live alone.
8. Befriending service
It is a well known fact that older adults are at a higher risk of loneliness and social isolation. Befrienders are volunteers who reach out to seniors in their homes and communities. While it may seem like a simple task, befrienders can have a profound impact on a senior’s journey towards ageing in place. Even simply listening to what they have to say can make the seniors feel important and heard, improving their mental and emotional wellbeing. Emergency alarms may also be placed in senior’s homes to alert befrienders should there be an accident.
9. Home medical services
Home medical services allow you to access medical care in the comfort of your home. This is especially helpful for seniors with limited mobility, those who are homebound, or people who like the convenience.
You can request for a qualified house call doctor to visit your home and provide a range of medical services, from a consultation or simple surgical procedure to a comprehensive health screening. There are also doctors with different specialisations and experiences to support those with acute or chronic conditions.
For common ailments, teleconsultations are available too, where you can have a licensed doctor attend to your medical needs through a video call 24/7, wherever you are.
Our Care Professionals are equipped with the right skills to handle complex medical conditions, and are trained to manage and regulate different emotions faced by your loved one.
6 steps to take when engaging home care services
Now that you are aware of the different types of home care services available, here are some steps you should take when engaging home care services.
Care needs and preferences differ greatly depending on the individual. Begin with a list of considerations and preferences you have in mind. This list should include non-negotiable requirements as well as preferences that are open to discussion.
Examples of considerations to include in the list:
- Affordability and cost
- Convenience and flexibility, in terms of location and time
- Credibility and reputation
- Medical professionals with specific specialisations
- Services available
Once you have a list of considerations, identify the non-negotiable factors and order the rest based on priority.
2. Do in-depth research
With your list of considerations in hand, you are now ready to evaluate the numerous home care service providers available. Conduct in-depth research on the different home care companies in Singapore. This means learning about the services offered, reading reviews, and finding out if there are any niches and specialisations. Be sure to compare the information you gathered against your list of considerations and preferences.
3. Ask for personal recommendations from family, friends and/or nursing homes or associations
Home care is a topic that seldom comes up in conversations, but with over 210,000 family caregivers in Singapore, many have first-hand experience in caregiving and will likely have considered or engaged care services before. Since many may find that personal recommendations from people around them are the most authentic and credible, asking family and friends for reviews on the care providers they have engaged before can be incredibly helpful. Alternatively, you can also approach care homes or associations for advice and reviews.
4. Shortlist your top 3 providers and speak to them
By this time, you should already have a rough idea of the care providers you prefer. Taking into account your considerations and the information and reviews you have gathered, shortlist the top 3 care providers. Next, reach out to each of the care providers and speak to them.
Here is a list of important questions to ask each care provider:
- Are there different prices for different types of care?
- Do you offer specialised care for my loved one’s condition?
- Does the cost differ if I request a caregiver with a specific specialisation?
- What are the qualifications and credentials of your caregivers?
- If there are any issues, concerns, or changes in my care arrangement, how will it be communicated to me?
- How can I reach out to you if I have an issue or concern?
- How do you match a caregiver to a care recipient?
- What happens if an assigned caregiver is late or does not turn up?
- Is there a minimum number of hours of care or shifts I have to engage per week?
- Is there a way to contact your team if an emergency occurs outside of normal business hours?
Do note that this list is not exhaustive. Feel free to add, modify, or remove any questions that may not be relevant or if you have already found answers through your previous research.
5. Set a schedule
Now that you have chosen your care provider, the next step is to set a schedule. Decide on the number of hours of care you need each day, the number of days per week, and the type of care services you need. Communicate this with your chosen care provider and let them do the job of matching your loved one with the most suitable caregiver.
6. You’re all set!
With a set schedule, care sessions can now begin!
During the care sessions, you may discover things you like or dislike that you have not considered before. Do keep a note of these and flag them out to your care provider so that they are able to personalise and tailor the plan according to your needs.
One thing to take note: Remember to include the care recipient in the discussion throughout this six-step process. Oftentimes, family caregivers are so caught up in making care arrangements and doing what we think is best for our loved ones, that we forget to ask for the opinion of the one receiving care. While our intentions are pure, we should always remember to discuss with the care recipient and take into consideration their concerns and preferences as well. After all, they are the ones who are receiving care and should be comfortable with the chosen care provider and caregivers.
If you are not entirely sure about the type of care your loved one needs, you will be glad to find out that Homage provides in-person care assessments. A Care Specialist with over 30 years of nursing experience will interact with you and your loved one in-person to get a realistic and holistic understanding of the care needs and living environment, before formulating a personalised care plan that works for you.
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- Awang, N. (2021). The Big Read: As S’pore society ages, who will care for the caregivers?. Retrieved 12 February 2022, from https://www.todayonline.com/big-read/big-read-spore-society-ages-who-will-care-caregivers