How Do You Get Home Care for a Dementia Patient?

Author: Andrea Miller

Reviewed by: Brindusa Vanta

You get home care for a dementia patient by applying for these services through Medicare. Available home health care services for people who have dementia include skilled nursing care and physical, speech and occupational therapies. Medicare members who qualify for home health care also qualify for personal care and housekeeping assistance. While Medicare covers some of these services, other options, such as Medicaid or private insurance, should also be considered.

How Do Members Apply for Home Care Through Medicare?

Medicare members apply for home care by receiving a referral for these services from their physician. Members must meet specific criteria to qualify. You must also select a Medicare-certified home care agency to provide these services. 

Your loved one’s health care provider will work with the agency to develop a care plan. This document covers your family member’s home health needs, including the following:

  • Types of required care services
  • The professionals who provide this care
  • Schedule of visits, including duration and frequency
  • Necessary medical equipment
  • Desired treatment goals and outcomes

What Home Care Services Fall Outside of Medicare Coverage?

Home care services that fall outside of Medicare coverage include housekeeping services, meal delivery and 24-hour care. In addition, Medicare doesn’t cover help with the activities of daily living unless your loved one also needs rehabilitation or skilled nursing care.

Medicare pays for 30 days of home care with each approval. Your family member’s physician must recertify the medical need for home care every 30 days.

How Do You Find a Home Care Provider?

Find a home care provider by searching for agencies in your area with Medicare certification. Ask your loved one’s health care provider for recommendations or referrals to high-quality home health options in your area, and talk to friends who have faced this situation with their family members.

When you have a list of possible providers, call each agency to discuss your loved one’s care and learn more about the services they provide. Explore policies such as caregiver reference checks and request an in-home interview to make sure the provider meets your family member’s needs.