Having trouble understanding your long-term care - QIN

APRIL | MAY | JUNE • 2011
Important Information for People on Medicare from the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care
Hiring a caregiver:
What you
should know
Having trouble understanding
your long-term care options?
Colorectal cancer
Everyone over 50
needs to have them
“Ask Me 3” campaign
encourages patients
to get informed
can help!
The Medicare Quality Improvement
Organization for Arkansas
Continued from the front page
“We know that navigating the maze of long-term care programs and services is not easy.
Our counselors will help you learn about your options and provide the information you
need to make the best decisions.” — Choices in Living website, www.choicesinliving.ar.gov
Choices in Living can help you
understand long-term care options
n Arkansas, there
are different publicly
funded programs that
provide assistance and
support to seniors and
people with disabilities.
But it can be tough to
gather all the details
about these programs,
compare them and choose one
that will work best for your specific needs. The Choices in Living
Resource Center can help. The
center is a free, reliable source of
information and guidance that can
help you understand the different
long-term care options available
to you. Trained counselors can
help you make an informed deciChoices in Living home page
sion when it’s time to choose long- at www.choicesinliving.ar.gov.
term services.
Some of the services that
information about support in caregiving, energy
Choices in Living offers include long-term care
assistance, assistive technology and many other
options counseling, benefits counseling and access
publicly funded programs, such as the Supplemental
to publicly funded long-term care programs such as
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid.
ElderChoices, Alternatives, Independent Choices
Choices in Living does not charge for its services,
and Living Choices. ElderChoices, for example, is
and the center is open to anyone who is interested.
a program to help older people get the support they
Seniors, individuals with disabilities, families,
need to stay healthy and live independently at
caregivers and service providers are especially likely to
home. This is just one of the many programs that
find the center’s resources helpful.
Choices in Living can inform you about. There are
You can call the Choices in Living Resource Center
usually eligibility requirements and other details
toll-free at 1-866-801-3435, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.
about programs that Choices in Living can help
to 4:30 p.m. You can also find more information on the
you understand. The center can also give you more
center’s website at www.choicesinliving.ar.gov.
Hiring a caregiver:
you should know
n years past, generations of family members lived
together and usually
cared for any sick
or elderly loved
ones. But today,
most adults do not
live with their aging relatives, so it’s becoming
more and more common to
hire a home-based caregiver
for your aging loved one.
Read on for helpful information from the Schmieding
Center for Senior Health
and Education on how to
best do this.
Where to start
Get started by making a list of
needs and categorizing them into personal care, household chores, health
care and emotional care. Be sure to
consider the values and preferences of
the person who will be receiving care,
such as background, culture, value
systems and language. Keep in mind
some tasks require minimal skill and
others may need special training or licensure. Generally, the person requiring assistance in the home will benefit
most from a caregiver who offers both
physical skills and behavioral training that match the needs of the care
Types of caregivers
Home care workers may use many
different titles. Here are some com-
Home care assistant:
This term is used by the
Schmieding Center to
designate graduates who
have completed 100 hours
of formal training in home
caregiving, similar to the
previous designation.
Certified nursing aid: In
Arkansas, this term is used for
people who have successfully
completed at least 90 hours
of training as a nursing assistant in an approved training
program, and who have successfully passed a state certification exam. CNAs must
also have a minimum of 15
hours of training in the care
of a person with dementia.
Hiring process
monly used titles and what they usually mean:
Companion: No formal training
required. Services usually include supportive care such as escorting, safety
supervision or assistance with common household duties.
Elder pal: This is a trademark
designation used by the Schmieding Center which requires 25 hours
of formal training in elder caregiving. This individual has received
both classroom and clinical training
from a licensed nurse and can provide
companionship, safety and support for
individuals requiring minimal assistance with activities of daily living in
the home. Personal care aide: Requires
a minimum of 40 hours training
from a licensed nurse in providing
personal care skills (usually bathing
and hygiene). This person generally
works for the state Medicaid program
providing personal care, but may
also work for a private home care
agency. There is no state certification
or registry for personal care aides in
the state of Arkansas.
Personal care assistant: This
term is used in many settings, but the
Schmieding Center uses it for graduates who have completed 50 hours
of formal training in home caregiving. This training includes classroom
and clinical training provided by a
registered nurse. A personal care assistant is qualified to provide care for
someone requiring minimal to moderate assistance with activities of daily
living and personal care in the home.
There are two options when hiring
home care workers: hiring the person
yourself or working with a company.
If you choose to hire a home care
worker on your own, the individual
works directly for you and you are
the employer of record. If you work
though a private company, the company is the employer of record.
Hiring your own home care worker
enables you to interview and hire
the person you think is best suited
to care for your family member.
It is usually less expensive than
going through an agency; however,
hiring your own worker means you
assume responsibility for screening,
scheduling, supervising and paying
taxes. Also, if the person you hire
calls in sick, you are responsible
for having a backup plan and
finding a replacement. The state
of Utah publishes a helpful, easy to
understand booklet that explains
the steps of hiring, training and
managing personal care assistants
and is available at: www.ucare.
gov/caregiver_guide. Click on
Module 11, “Hiring, Training and
Managing Personal Assistants.”
Additional information on paying taxes is available from the
Family Caregiver Alliance and
the Internal Revenue Service at:
The advantage of using an agency
is that they usually take care of all the
details and paperwork of hiring a home
care worker. They will also work with
you to find someone who is compatible,
but keep in mind, they will generally
charge more per hour and they may
also have a minimum number of hours
a person will work per day or visit.
Whether you go through an agency
or not, you should always have a job
description and a detailed list of what
you expect the person to do, and not
do, while they are working for you or
your family member, and a contract
that formalizes the agreement. A care
plan that details the needs, strengths
and limitations of the care recipient is
also helpful.
Helpful resources
The internet offers a wealth of information about hiring help in your home. Just be sure it is published by reputable sources
such as the state or federal government, nonprofit agency or university. Some reputable sites include:
nAARP: www.aarp.org
nAdministration on Aging: www.aoa.dhhs.gov
nAmerican Geriatrics Society: www.americangeriatrics.org
nArkansas Direct Service Workers Registry:
nFamily Caregiving Alliance: www.caregiver.org
nNational Family Caregivers Association: www.nfcacares.org
nNational Caregivers Library: www.caregiverslibrary.org
nNational Institute on Aging: www.nia.nih.gov
nNational Quality Caregiving Network: www.nqcn.org
nThe Well Spouse Foundation: www.wellspouse.org
Colorectal cancer screenings:
Everyone over 50 needs to have them
lthough colorectal
(colon) cancer is one of
the most preventable
cancers, it’s also the
second leading cause of
cancer-related deaths in
the U.S. Because it often starts with
no symptoms, regular screening is
very important — treatment is most
successful if it begins in the early
stages of the disease. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) recommends that every man
and woman aged 50 years and older
be screened regularly. It’s estimated
that at least 60 percent of deaths from
colorectal cancer could be prevented
if everyone aged 50 years or older had
regular screening tests.
Some people who are at high
risk for colorectal cancer should
begin receiving regular screenings
earlier than age 50. People who
may be at high risk include those
with a family history of colorectal
cancer and people who have
inflammatory bowel disease. Check
with your doctor to find out if you
are at high risk for this disease.
To learn more about how to
reduce your risk for colorectal
cancer, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/
colorectal. You can see personal
screening stories (where real
patients describe their screening
experiences), send a health e-card
to remind a loved one to get
screened and access a variety of
helpful resources. Also, Arkansans
on Medicare may always contact
AFMC at 1-888-354-9100 or www.
afmc.org with questions about
which tests Medicare covers.
“Ask Me 3” campaign encourages
patients to get informed
id you know that health literacy has
nothing to do with education, income, gender or race? Health literacy
is a person’s ability to understand the basic
health information and services needed to
make appropriate health decisions.
The “Ask Me 3” campaign encourages
patients to ask their doctors a few simple
questions and make sure that they understand the answers. The questions are:
n What is my main problem?
n What do I need to do?
n Why is it important for me to do this?
People who understand the answers
to these questions tend to have fewer
health problems, because they know
how to take medication as prescribed
or how to prepare for a medical
procedure. They may also get well
sooner or be able to better manage
a chronic health condition.
1000 Fianna Way
P.O. Box 180001
Fort Smith, AR 72918-0001
Inside this issue of
Your Medicare information source from the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care
Having trouble understanding your long-term care options?
Choices in Living can help!
Hiring a caregiver: What you should know
These days, it’s becoming more and more common to hire a home-based caregiver for your aging loved one.
Colorectal cancer screenings
Everyone over 50 needs to have them — treatment is most successful if it begins in the early stages of the disease.
This material was prepared by the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care Inc. (AFMC), the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Arkansas, under
contracts with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Arkansas
Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS and Arkansas DHS policies. The Arkansas
Department of Human Services is in compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act. QB1-MT.NEWS,2-4/11
Learn more
about AFMC
and find answers to
Medicare questions
on our website:
Call AFMC on our Medicare
helpline at 1-888-354-9100.
You can call AFMC if you have:
■Concerns about the quality
of care you receive.
■Received a notice of discharge
or Medicare noncoverage from a
hospital, skilled nursing facility,
hospice, home health agency or
comprehensive outpatient rehab
facility, and you disagree.
■ Questions about your
Medicare rights.