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Carol Emmerich explains how VNA’s private duty care can help patients

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

VNA provides private duty services to patients to help maintain their independence and live safety at home as part of our mission to provide a continuum of care throughout a patient’s life span.

Nearly 18 million people care for a relative who is 65 years or older in the U.S., according to a study from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine in Sept. 2016. People who help elderly family members with three or more personal tasks a day devote 253 hours a month to caregiving — almost the equivalent of two full-time jobs--according to the report. So, with a large population of families caring for an elderly relative presents the need for private duty services in the home to provide nursing skills and help with daily tasks.

Carol Emmerich, Director of VNA’s private duty services, explains that private duty is a service that patients can get in either hospice care or the advanced illness management program. A nurse or aide helps with tasks such as housework, grocery shopping or personal patient care. It can be helpful for families with an older parent with dementia or a chronic illness to help perform daily tasks that the family might not have time to do because of work or other obligations.

“It’s not always for older people,” explained Emmerich. People of all ages call VNA for private duty services for short-term or long-term care. Sometimes younger people recovering from a surgery call for private duty if they don’t have a significant other or friends to help them with daily tasks around the house.

Private duty may end up saving a significant amount of money for families with a loved one in need of care in the long run when compared to the cost of living in a nursing home, said Emmerich. It’s cheaper than a nursing home with monthly fees that can run between $6,000-$8,000 versus an hourly fee for a nurse or an aide, explains Emmerich.

The difference with VNA’s private duty services compared to other providers in the area are that they’ve been around for over 100 years working for the community for continuum of care.

“It’s a trusted service,” said Emmerich.

Emmerich said she’s seen strong bonds develop between private duty workers and patients, which can be comforting to the family who may not have time or the availability to care for the loved one themselves. It lets them know that someone else cares for the patient in the same way a family member would.

While private duty can be a helpful in many situations, it’s not always the best option for every family and patient.

“It is always good to have a conversation with a professional before pursuing private duty care,” said Emmerich.

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