Accessing Community Resources

Accessing Community Resources

When faced with a medical emergency, 911 is the number that consumers can dial. But when faced with a situation that is not a medical "emergency", what community resources are available and how can you access them? Many services are available for older adults, their families, and caregivers. The services can range from in home support to alternate living arrangements.
Basic services include additional adaptive equipment in the home environment to promote independence. Examples include Lifeline, handicap ramps, wheelchairs, and other medical supplies. More personal services can be accessed such as housekeeping, home repair, and grocery shopping.
Other services that are available include legal services and financial assistance with heating, medication support and applications for low income residents.
Caregivers assume many responsibilities when they care for their loved ones. The demands are very high, but there are programs available to ease some of the stress associated with care giving. Respite care is offered through several agencies. Funding is available through the Department of Social Services for those in need of financial aid to support Respite services in the home. Respite is also available at some day programs, Assisted Living facilities as well as Nursing centers.
If you or your loved one has a stay in a hospital and discharges back home with a medical need (such as an intravenous medication, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy), Home Health care is a service that could be utilized. Arrangements for Home Health care are generally arranged prior to being released from the hospital and are ordered by your physician.
Another opportunity to receive in home support is with the use of Hospice of Washington County. Hospice of Washington County offers multidisciplinary support (RN case manager, licensed social worker, pastoral care, volunteer services) to the patient and family of someone who has a life limiting illness. There are many health conditions that would qualify a person to receive Hospice services. Both Home Health and Hospice services are generally reimbursed for under Medicare or private insurance.
Adult Day services are available to individuals who would benefit from structured social stimulation and programming. Individuals can attend the program one to five days per week. Transportation is generally provided to and from the program. Adult Day services are also ideal to allow caregivers to continue to work if they need to or give them a break from the day to day stressors of care giving.
When community support in a home environment is not enough, or medical conditions require additional monitoring, Assisted Living and Nursing Home services may be the answer. Assisted Livings are designed to include a home like environment with oversight by a medical staff that includes an RN on staff at least eight hours per day and trained caregivers. Some facilities include a licensed nurse on staff around the clock, although that is not mandated by the state of Maryland. Residents can enjoy scheduled activity programming and other amenities to promote independence with guided medical oversight. Payment for Assisted Living is generally a private pay arrangement or can be supplemented by a long term care policy. In some cases, Maryland Medicaid assists with payment for this type of living.
Nursing homes are generally most ideal when the person requires medical management by a licensed nurse twenty-four hours per day. Nursing homes are heavily regulated and managed with an interdisciplinary approach. In addition to the licensed nurses, a licensed social worker, geriatric trained and certified nursing assistants, a therapeutic recreation director, and dietician assist in the care of each resident. Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapists are also common disciplines involved in the care of many residents. In addition, Nursing homes have physicians who visit the facility regularly. Depending on the circumstances prior to admission to a nursing home, payment can be provided by Medicare, Maryland Medicaid, private insurance, or private funds. To compare nursing homes in Washington County, go to www.medicare.gov and choose to compare nursing homes in your county.
To access a complete list of community resources in Washington County, go to www.wccoaging.org and select resource directory.