There is no shame in asking for help to provide quality, in-home care for yourself, or a loved one who needs extra support. In fact, utilizing the services of a personal care provider can significantly improve the quality of life for caregivers and individuals in need of daily assistance.
How can you find the best personal care providers in Arkansas? Your search should start with a deeper understanding of what a care provider can offer, and end with full awareness of available local resources.
What Is a Personal Care Provider?
There are many types of personal care and, therefore, many types of personal care providers (PCPs). Personal care in general involves assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs) and/or healthcare for an individual who is elderly or disabled and unable to completely care for themselves independently.
These caregivers provide care in someone’s home or a long-term care facility like assisted living or a nursing home. The duties of an in-home PCP are to assist their patients, prolonging independence by helping patients complete everyday activities and chores. Generally speaking, personal caregivers provide assistance with:
- Light housework
- Grocery shopping and other errands
- Medication reminders and management
- Grooming and personal hygiene
- Light lifting and moving
Depending on the type of personal care you need, you may hire a caregiver who is able to monitor your diet, take health vitals, or watch you overnight. Be as specific as possible about your needs when interviewing personal care providers.
Types Of Personal Care Providers in Arkansas
As nursing homes and other long-term, institutional care facilities have decreased in popularity over the past few decades, in-home personal care for senior citizens has seen a steady, concurrent rise. More than 2.3 million PCPs currently work in the United States alone. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports over 21,000 personal care providers in Arkansas.
Depending on circumstances and diagnosis, Medicaid or Medicare may provide a certain number of in-home care hours. Your Area Agency on Aging can provide a detailed consultation about which services are available to you or your loved one in your area.
There are several classifications of in-home PCPs. They can offer help with anything from household chores to skilled medical care based on the level of independence of the individual in need.
Personal Care Aides
Personal care aides (PCAs) have various levels of training and are just one form of trained caregivers. They most often serve as companions and in-home helpers. They may provide assistance with housework, dressing, bathing, going for walks, cooking meals, and other ADLs. Depending on the provider, level of need, and insurance coverage, anticipate paying out-of-pocket.
If you or your loved one need light, infrequent, or respite care services and do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, paying out-of-pocket for a PCA can be an excellent option. Your Area Agency on Aging (AAA) will pair you with a care coordinator at no cost to assess your needs and connect you with qualified personal care providers in Arkansas.
Home Health Aides
Home health aides (HHAs) provide the same daily living assistance as PCAs, but they are also qualified to monitor health conditions and check vital signs in addition to providing household help. HHAs undergo state-specific training, but they are all required to undergo 75 hours of federally approved training for certification.
Although Arkansas' AAAs don't offer HHAs, your information and assistance specialist can assist you in finding the home health provider that best fits your needs. HHAs are much more likely to be approved by personal insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. With a diagnosis of medical issues or diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s, an HHA ensures your loved one is safe and healthy if you are away. While HHAs are trained in CPR and other first-aid practices, they are not medical professionals. They cannot diagnose conditions, prescribe medications, administer catheters or intravenous medications, or perform other medical procedures.
Licensed nursing assistants (LNAs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are a better option for individuals who require more extensive medical care. Nursing assistants are qualified to take vital signs, observe and report on medical conditions or infections, set up medical equipment, clean catheters, replace dressings, and conduct range-of-motion exercises. These are all completed under the supervision of a registered nurse or nurse practitioner.
Licensed Practical Nurses
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are licensed by their state of residence and must meet federal standards of health and safety. They are able to provide direct medical care like administering IV medications. They can also complete tube feedings, give shots, change wound dressings, and help with diabetes treatments.
Registered Nurses (RNs) are fully licensed nurses who hold a diploma in nursing and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exams and met all other nursing licensure requirements. RNs can provide direct medical care, operate medical equipment, assist doctors in medical procedures, and administer any medications.
An RN’s duties rarely include any housework or other ADL assistance. They are generally present exclusively for medical care. Most Arkansas AAAs providing home care are supervised by an RN on staff.
Finding Personal Care Providers in Arkansas
To find and hire a personal care provider, you can research online, ask your community for recommendations, or just call your Area Agency on Aging. These agencies are a comprehensive and completely free resource of information on senior citizen care and programs available in your area.
When you contact your AAA, you will be paired with a care coordinator at no cost to assess your needs. Your care coordinator will assess your medical, physical, mental, and emotional needs. Based on this assessment, they will then recommend benefits and services to meet your needs. Care coordinators serve as a single point of contact to walk you through the sometimes extensive process of applying for programs and benefits.
For More Information
Costs for individual services and programs may vary, but care coordination is a free service that can drastically increase quality of life for you or your loved one. For more information on how to find and hire personal care providers in Arkansas, contact your Area Agency on Aging today!