Finding Home Health Services After Brain Injury
Home healthcare for a loved one after TBI usually ends up being a creative "hodge-podge" of services.
In an ideal world, you would be able to find a home health aide or a home health care worker, depending on the complexity of the medical needs of your loved one, to be able to come in and spend some time in the house, making sure everything is in order. Since we don't live in an ideal world, sometimes those services are difficult to find. I would look with the social service agencies and find out what your area does offer in terms of home health care. I would also look towards what any of your providers may recommend in terms of people who can spend some time and have some training in doing some of the rehabilitative services. If he's eligible for any outpatient rehab or any ongoing rehab, sometimes you can get some sessions in the home to help accommodate and set up the home in the way that is wanted. Insurance is a challenge. You have to work with your insurance company because every insurance policy is different in terms of what they will and will not cover, and very often if it's not directly medically related, they won't cover it. The other difficulty to look for in terms of looking for home health care and home health aides is that traditionally, the turnover rate is fairly high in those kinds of positions, so taking the time to really look and explore and kind of figure out who would work well with your loved one and who would work well in the home is very important. As he continues to improve, you're going to want to look for more structured activities in the community that he can participate in, whether it's some kind of adult day care or something like that so that he then starts spending some structured, supervised time but is outside of the home. The other thing is you want to talk with your social service agencies about any other kind of resources like Meals on Wheels that can bring food in, people who can come in and clean the home so that that's not an extra task that you or he has to worry about. You kind of have to look and explore and put together a hodgepodge of what's out there because there is no standard, unfortunately, discharged from hospital, you get these services. It's really very individualized, and a lot of it depends on who your loved one can get along with and tolerate having in their personal space for a significant period of time. And be willing to push a little bit with the insurance companies in terms of what they will and will not cover. Very often they don't cover a whole lot outside of medical attention.
Posted on BrainLine February 7, 2011.
Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Brian King, BrainLine
Dr. Celeste Campbell is a neuropsychologist in the Polytrauma Program at the Washington, DC Veterans Administration Medical Center. She has a long history of providing cognitive psychotherapy and developing residential behavioral management programs for children and adults.