Care need indicators and where to find assistance

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:


  • Acute, chronic or terminal health condition
  • Frequent hospitalizations or ER/urgent care visits
  • Home safety concerns
  • Pain control management
  • Changes in mobility


  • Isolation
  • Depression


  • Limited social network
  • Lack of family support

Activities of Daily Living

  • Personal care needs
  • Financial/benefits assistance
  • Medication assistance


  • Cognitive changes
  • Range of motion changes


  • Lack of food preparation
  • Change in appetite


  • Worry/concern about loved ones
  • Sense of abandonment
  • Spiritual distress

For a more extensive checklist, please visit our website at and click Resources.

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. Schedule informational visits with 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. We offer informational visits to anyone interested in learning about how our services can help today or in the future. Please visit or call 800-924-2273 to schedule an informational visit today.