Choosing the right disability care provider is a big decision, but it all comes down to two questions. First, do they provide the home care services you need? Second, will they care for you like family?
Disability care makes a huge difference to your quality of life, so you need to ensure the agency you choose is the right fit – not just for your requirements but also for your personality and values.
In this blog, we’ll run through the key things you should know before making a decision.
Interested in WellSpring Home Health? Contact our team.
What Disability Care Services Does the Agency Provide?
Disability care is unique for every individual. It depends on your specific medical and non-medical requirements, the level of support you get from family and friends, and what you actually want.
Generally speaking, disability care services fall into two categories: skilled and unskilled.
Skilled care refers to all the things that require a health professional, such as speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medication management, and skilled nursing. These services typically require a referral from your primary care physician and go through insurance. The idea is to provide seamless medical care that will help your condition stabilize or improve.
Unskilled care, on the other hand, includes all the things that just make your life a little bit better. This could include assistance with errands, transportation, meal preparation, housekeeping, and more. These can go through your insurance provider, or you can arrange them directly. These services are designed to make your life safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable.
However, you may also be able to access care through different programs. For example, here at WellSpring Home Health, we work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide disability care services for veterans and surviving spouses living a long way from their nearest VA facility. It’s worth keeping this in mind because it may be a better fit for your circumstances.
The same principle applies for young people. Pediatric disability care is different than adult disability care and requires specialist services, whether for complex medical issues or developmental issues. It’s important to thoroughly research the agency you plan to engage to ensure the team members are experienced in working with families to minimize interventions and disruptions.
Often, this information is readily available on the agency’s website. However, if you have questions, don’t be shy about picking up the phone and getting the information you need.
What’s the Process for Hiring Disability Care Professionals?
When you hire a disability care agency, you’re essentially inviting a group of strangers to become part of your family. They’ll get to know you extremely well while they’re working with you – and vice versa – so trust is very important. Some questions you might want to ask include:
- What are your qualifications and professional experience?
- Do you check staff applicant’s references and conduct background checks?
- Are staff members subject to health screenings (including drug screenings)?
- Do employees receive ongoing training and assessments?
- What’s your complaints process, just in case I need to use it?
Again, this should all be very transparent. The disability care professionals you work with should be well trained, devoted, caring, and trustworthy. It all boils down to the question we asked right at the very start: will they care for you like family? That’s a good indication that they’re the right fit.
Other Practical Issues Regarding Disability Care
Not all disability care service providers are the same. They may specialize in a particular type of care, such as stroke recovery, or only work with a handful of insurance companies. It can get a little complicated, especially if you’re engaging disability care services for the first time.
Here are answers to some common questions related to disability care.
What Is Considered a Disability in the United States?
The Americans with Disabilities Act, which has been in effect since 1990, provides a legal definition of the word “disability” in the United States. It’s very broad – put simply, it means a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.”
According to the CDC, this could include functionalities such as vision, hearing, movement, thinking, learning, communicating, and more. Disabilities can present in many different ways. For example, in some cases they may be diagnosed at birth, or they may develop later in life. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to disability care, which is why it’s important to do your research.
Most insurance companies have their own definitions of key terms such as disability, so if you think this might apply to you, it’s important to check your policy. This will help you figure out exactly what kind of coverage you have for disability care, which is a good place to start.
Different disability care agencies will accept different insurances. Here at WellSpring Home Health, for example, we provide services to Medicare, Medicaid, Tri-Care, and VA/TriWest. We also work with Workers’ Compensation, private pay clients, and private insurance companies.
What Are Examples of Disabilities that May Qualify?
Many Americans living with a disability receive benefits from the Social Security Administration. This is particularly important for people who are unable to work because of their medical condition. Disability care can be arranged on a short-term or long-term basis, depending on your personal circumstances. However, there are a certain number of criteria that need to be met.
The government provides a list of impairments that make qualify for social security benefits. It’s helpful because it gives you an idea of the types of disabilities that may qualify for disability care assistance. They’re broken down into functions such as musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disorders, respiratory disorders, hematological disorders, neurological disorders, and so on.
Generally speaking, however, disability care may cover:
- People who have been born with disabilities such as blindness.
- People who live with learning or developmental difficulties.
- People who have been injured at work.
- People who have developed chronic illnesses.
- People who have been involved in auto accidents.
- People who are recovering from medical events such as a stroke.
- People who have been hurt while on active duty with the military.
- And more. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
How Can I Apply for Disability Benefits?
If you’re planning to apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, the first step toward applying for disability benefits is to file a claim through the SSA Disability Online portal.
There is an Adult Disability Checklist available which may help you determine whether or not you’re eligible. You’ll also need to meet some basic requirements and provide some documentary evidence, such as your birth certificate, proof of citizenship, military discharge papers, W-2 forms, medical evidence, and proof of any other compensation-type benefits you’ve already received.
If you’re not able to apply online, you can also apply with your local office (using this office locator tool). Alternatively, you can call the toll-free number: 1-800-772-1213.
Disability Care Services in Alaska and Washington
If you’ve reached the point where you’re ready to start working with a disability care agency, and you’re based in Alaska or Pearce County, Washington, the friendly and professional team at WellSpring Home Health can help. We provide skilled and unskilled services and we carefully select our team members based on our commitment to maintaining the highest possible standards.
If you want an agency that will provide the services you need while treating you like family, we would consider it a privilege to listen to your story and make your life more comfortable.
Ready to get started? Call our office to arrange an assessment.