Care Need Indicators

Could you or a loved one benefit from additional care or supportive services? There are underlying issues that may indicate the need for more care. Some things to look for include:


□    Medication management

□    Acute, chronic or terminal health condition

□    Chronic Health Condition

□    Functional or cognitive decline

□    Frequent Hospitalizations or ER/urgent            care visits

□    Pain control management

□    Frequent falls or fear of falling

□    Home safety concerns

□    Adaptive equipment needs

□    Incontinence concerns/odors

□    Changes in mobility

□    Weakness and endurance concerns

□    Shortness of breath

□    Swelling

□    Weight loss/gain


□    Isolation

□    Sleep pattern changes

□    Incontinence

□    Depression

□    Doesn’t participate in activities


□    Depression

□    Fear

□    Loneliness

□    Overall loss

□    Anxiety

□    Limited social network

□    Lack of family support

□    Recent deaths and grief

Physical/Mental Activity

□    Exercise

□    Range of motion

□    Cognitive changes


□    Change in appetite

□    Lack of food preparation

□    Diarrhea

□    Fatigue

□    Need for dental care

□    Weight loss/gain

Activities of Daily Living

□    Safety concerns

□    Home chore needs

□    Companion care needs

□    Financial/benefits assistance

□    Errands/shopping assistance

□    Transportation needs

□    Personal emergency needs

□    Medication assistance

□    Meal preparation assistance

□    Bathing assistance


□    Need for closure

□    Fear of dying

□    Need for forgiveness

□    Worry/concerns about loved ones

□    Sense of abandonment

□    Suicidal ideation

□    Spiritual distress

Once you have identified a need, the next step is to determine the level of care that can best meet your needs. While the goal of each type of home health care is the same – to help keep people at home – the level of care provided depends on the unique needs of each individual.

Non-medical home care provides assistance with personal care like dressing, grooming, bathing and other activities of daily living. This type of care can also assist clients with meal preparation, transportation or medication management. Non-medical home care can benefit people who do not qualify for skilled home care services, but who require increased day-to-day support due to their physical or cognitive needs.

Coverage for non-medical home care services depends on each individual’s specific circumstances and coverage. You can contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) for assistance and additional information.

Skilled home care provides patients with medical care in their home. It is provided by a licensed home health agency and must be “prescribed” by a physician. Most skilled services are covered by Medicare. There are a number of types of skilled care available and which type of care a patient receives is dependent on their individual condition(s) and needs.

Skilled home health care helps patients remain at home by providing medical care such as nursing, physical, occupational or other therapies, and medical social work. This type of care can benefit those who are recovering from an illness or injury, people who have recently had surgery, or those who are dealing with a chronic health condition. The goal of skilled home health care is to help the patient recover or manage their chronic condition(s) at home.

Palliative care is available for people who are having difficulty dealing with the symptoms of their chronic and/or terminal condition(s). Patients receiving this type of care are still able to receive curative treatment and do not have to have a limited life expectancy. The goal of palliative care is to manage symptoms in order for patient’s to live the best quality of life possible, all while remaining at home.

Hospice is a special type of care for those dealing with a terminal illness and whose physician estimates they have a life expectancy of six months or less. Care is focused on managing symptoms, keeping the patient comfortable, and providing emotional and spiritual support to both the patient and their family. Hospice is a type of care, not a place. In fact, the vast majority of hospice patients remain at home.

Many people know they need help but don’t know where to start. Navigating the maze of care options available can be stressful. While many people know that they or a loved one needs additional help, they may not know where to find it.

Your local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) is a great place to start. You can find the ADRC nearest you at or by doing an online search for ADRC Wisconsin. You can also visit Medicare’s website at to search for services from doctors, to home health care, to nursing homes. Talk to your doctor and ask for recommendations from people you trust. Learn more about agencies that provide additional care and support. Medical social workers are a great resource. Contact area care providers to see what is available.

SSM Health at Home is a nonprofit organization providing a variety of comprehensive home care services, including home health, hospice, medical equipment, infusion pharmacy, and community health. If you are interested in learning how our programs and services can help you or a loved one, please call 800-924-2273 or click here to request more information.