Although most home health care is generally provided by family, friends or volunteers, personal assistance service — also known as PAS agencies — can provide your loved one with an option which helps them maintain their independence while providing family with needed relief. Since average life expectancy is continually on the rise, there is a growing need for traditional family caregivers to hire non-medical, home health care. Often the need to hire outside help stems from traditional caregivers being employed full-time, or perhaps living too far away to care for their family members on their own.
When considering outside help, the first step is to consider whether medical help is needed, or if simply in home health care assistance can fulfill the job at hand. PAS agencies differ from traditional home health care agencies in several ways. The most significant difference is obviously that PAS agencies do not provide medical services and therefore, are not covered by Medicare. Examples of medical assistance include injections, intravenous therapy, and administration of medication. PAS agencies can provide a variety of services including, but not limited to, light housekeeping, bathing, walking assistance, meal planning and preparation, as well as companionship. The second major difference is cost. A respite or relief nurse can cost between $32 and $52 per hour. Conversely, PAS services ranges from $14 to $28 per hour depending on the services provided. The challenge is not only knowing what you need, but knowing how to ask for it.