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Elder care and California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program
by Anna Gorman | Kaiser Health News January 05 2015
What is In-Home Supportive Services?
It’s a California program that pays caregivers to help low-income elderly and disabled people stay in their homes rather than be placed in institutions such as nursing homes. It is the largest program of its kind in the nation. Nearly all clients are responsible for hiring, training and supervising their own caregivers but the workers are paid by the state – an average of $10 per hour.
Who qualifies for IHSS?
The program is for people who are low-income, over 65, blind or disabled and demonstrate they need help in the home. For more information about who can become a client or caregiver in the In-Home Supportive Services program, contact the state Department of Social Services.
Who are the caregivers and what can they do?
Most IHSS caregivers are family members, though they also may be neighbors, friends or strangers. Caregivers, most of them union members, are supposed to do household chores and help with personal care such as bathing and dressing. Doctors or other medical providers also can authorize them to provide certain “paramedical” services, including administering medication. People convicted of elder or child abuse or welfare fraud cannot be IHSS caregivers.
Are you an IHSS caregiver who wants training?
The state Department of Social Services does not mandate overall training for IHSS caregivers but offers voluntary instruction online. The California Long-Term Education Center offers classes for caregivers and clients. More information about the classes can be found here. The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute also offers training and resources for caregivers.
Are you looking for an in-home caregiver for yourself or a relative?
Selecting a caregiver to work in the home can be difficult. AARP has created a guide for choosing a home care worker. There are also registries of available IHSS providers in your area.
What are the warning signs of elder abuse?
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, warning signs of elder abuse may include bruises, pressure marks, unexplained withdrawal from normal activities or strained or tense relationships. More information about identifying elder abuse can be found on their website.
What should you do if you suspect an elderly or disabled person is being abused or neglected in the home?
If you suspect abuse or neglect, contact the police department or Adult Protective Services office in your area. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911. The National Center on Elder Abuse also provides resources on reporting abuse.
IHSS BY THE NUMBERS *
490,000 Number of recipients statewide.
102 Percentage rise in recipients since 2001.
402,680 Number of caregivers.
73 Percentage of clients related to their caregivers.
87 Average number of hours of service a client receives monthly.
0 Hours of training caregivers must receive from state.
7.3 Program’s budget in billions.
833 Number of people convicted of serious crimes who have waivers to be IHSS providers.
278 Average number of IHSS recipients a county worker oversees in the nation’s largest county, Los Angeles.
1 Number of times a county caseworker is generally expected to visit a client per year.