When a family or patient decides to enroll in hospice or palliative services, they may not receive the full care that is needed for the activities of daily living. A hospice agency might only provide services for an hour or so at a time. However, as a client’s needs increase with age, a private-duty home care agency should be considered. These agencies can work in conjunction with the family, the patient, and the hospice in order to understand all of a client’s needs. Caregivers can provide services that are necessary in everyday life and provide assistance beyond the availability of hospice care.

Private duty caregivers provide respite care, which can be provided for as little as four- hour visits, to 24- hour assistance. Their services are available during the day and night, to ensure a patient’s safety and to provide a family with ease and rest. Caregivers are prepared to assist with bathing, eating, and managing toileting or incontinence. Agency administrators work closely with the family and the hospice organization to adjust services as the patient’s needs change. Many clients decide to introduce private duty services into their lifestyle with only short-term, weekly support. Over time, many clients increase these services as their needs expand, or as their relationship with the

caregiver develops.
The cost of a private duty agency ranges from

$18 to $22 per hour, and is usually paid privately or through long-term, care insurance. There is no need for a long-term contract to be signed, so services can be discontinued if a client is admitted to a care center or if the hospice provides end-stage, around-the-

clock care. In this way, clients and families need not feel tied down by binding contracts. This is important for many patients, as the services they require may change over time.

With private duty services, families and clients can feel secure that they are in good hands. Caregivers are certified nursing assistants or home health aides, and many of them have attained additional training on the issues that affect a hospice client. Through the use of a licensed agency, clients can be sure that caregivers have a level two (FBI) background check, CPR certification and reference checks, and are supervised by the private duty agency.

When hospice care is not enough, private duty care through an agency can provide full services to ensure that a client’s needs are entirely met. With the assurance that a caregiver is available on a complete, daily basis, patients can feel relieved of stress, have their wishes followed, and have their needs met.

Sally Dahlem is the co-owner of Home by Choice, which is a licensed home-health agency that specializes in private duty care. She has more than 25 years of experience in Gainesville healthcare services including home care, skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

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