Florida Home Companion | Elder and Senior Companion Services


Medicaid Expansion is still not approved yet by everyone

Currently Medicaid Expansion has a bit of a question mark on it. Because so many states are now taking government funds for Medicaid seriously, even Florida’s Governor Rick Scott is taking Medicaid assistance from Federal funds seriously. Scott endorsed the move, but the Florida House Panel wants to reject that move. The article posted below written by CNN’s Kevin Liptak goes over just that.

So what will the future of Medicaid be for Florida, especially Central Florida? Perhaps no one knows, but as time goes on medical expenses seem to be more expensive by the year. At the same time national household incomes don’t seem to be going up along with the costs. In the Orlando area Senior Care may become more dependent on Medicare to care for seniors.

Florida Home Companion based out of the Maitland area in Orlando now works with Medicaid. We also do private pay and handle hands-on skilled care. For more information check out our website at www.floridahomecompanion.com or phone us at 407-478-5469.


4 days ago
After Scott’s endorsement, Medicaid expansion rejected by Florida House panel
Posted by
CNN’s Kevin Liptak

(CNN) – Republicans sitting on a Florida House committee bucked their state’s GOP governor Monday by rejecting an expansion of Medicaid included in President Barack Obama’s health care law.

By a party-line vote, the members of Florida’s Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act decided against writing a bill expanding Medicaid in the Sunshine State, despite Gov. Rick Scott’s pledge last month that Florida would accept the provision.

Under Obamacare, the federal government will pick up the total cost of the expensive expansion for the first three years, after which the federal funding will phase down to 90%. The program covers all adults with annual incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, which is currently $14,404 for an individual.

Republicans on the panel questioned whether the funding from the federal government would actually last for three years, given current wrangling in Washington over federal spending and the national debt. They also worried about expanding a program in Florida they characterized as broken.

Medicaid expansion in Florida isn’t totally dead, however. A Florida Senate panel postponed a vote Monday on whether or not to accept the Obamacare provision, saying it needed more time to digest information that was presented by the state’s economist. If the Senate panel votes it through, followed by the full Florida Senate, then it would go to the full Florida House for consideration. Republicans hold significant majorities in both chambers of the Florida legislature, making an expansion Medicaid far from certain in the state.

In his acceptance of the Medicaid expansion, Scott faced blowback from conservative Republicans who oppose Obama’s health law as an overreach of the federal government. Scott was once a leading voice against the law, and campaigned heavily against it during his 2010 bid for governor.

However, in accepting the provision last month, Scott said he could not “in good conscience deny the uninsured access to care.”

“We will support a three-year expansion of our Medicaid program under the new healthcare law, as long as the federal government meets their commitment to pay 100 percent of the cost during this time,” he said.

Scott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the House panel’s decision Monday.

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Overnight Caregivers in Orlando

Do you have an elderly loved one that may need assistance at night?  Are you a family caregiver that watches over a loved one 24/7, but you need a break at night just so you get a full nights rest?  We can help.  At Florida Home Companion one of our specialties is providing caregivers for the overnight shifts.  Our caregivers do great overnight.  They will stay awake with your loved one, so you don’t have to.  You can rest at ease knowing that our caregivers will be able to attend to your loved one’s every need.

All of the caregivers at Florida Home Companion are licensed CNA’s (Certified Nurses Aid).  For caregivers overnight, call Florida Home Companion at 407-478-5469  or check out our website at www.floridahomecompanion.com

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Dementia Care in Orlando area

According to WebMD, “Dementia is considered a late-life disease because it tends to develop mostly in elderly people. About 5% to 8% of all people over the age of 65 have some form of dementia, and this number doubles every five years above that age. It is estimated that as many as half of people in their 80s suffer from dementia.”

The Orlando and Central Florida area more and more is becoming home to a larger elderly population.  The mathematics almost infer that we as a community will see more cases of dementia within the 5 to 20 years.

What do we do we do about it?  Well there are lots of treatments that have been developed and may be developed over time that will be called upon for use.  At Florida Home Companion, we’ve determined one of the ways the situation can be helped is by families managing Dementia Care effectively.  A big part of that is being there to help the loved one when they are in need.  Quite frankly most families aren’t equipped to commit to that kind of time because they have their own commitments.  Their own families to support, professional obligations, as well as obligations to their communities and their home.

This is where agencies like Florida Home Companion come into play.  We are a full service Nurse Registry where we provide hands-on companion care.  Whether your loved one needs a little assistance or a lot or your family simply needs some watch relief while they take care of their other obligations……….we can help.  When it comes to Dementia Care, Florida Home Companion is there for you.  Find out more about our services on our website www.floridahomecompanion.com or phone us at 407-478-5469.



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Article on Medicare’s Home Health Care Prevention Strategy

The article below talks about Medicare’s Home Health Care Rules which should focus more on prevention.  Even though this article was published by the Tampa Bay Times, it definitely applies to Health for Seniors in the Orlando and Central Florida area.  Medicare is becoming a bigger and bigger government expense and it is one of the reasons why companies like ours, Florida Home Companion, exist.  We are there to help fill in the gaps where Medicare doesn’t cover.

The article touches on a very important subject which is that taking care of one’s self as they get older is the best defense against upcoming health issues.  If Medicare can be successful in promoting these tactics successfully, it would be a long-term benefit to the Florida community.

Contrary to popular belief, Medicare doesn’t cover everything.  Even though it’s not overall coverage, Medicare can be a huge lifesaver to a lot of seniors in need of medical assistance and even offers assistance to those who aren’t necessarily in financial need.  However, the overall expense to provide everyone the care that they would ideally want and sometimes need just isn’t there with the government funding.  This is why companies like Florida Home Companion work with Seniors and their families to help care for all the miscellaneous tasks that people require for their daily living.

Medicare’s home health care rules to focus more on prevention

By Stephen Nohlgren, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, November 4, 2012

Medicare provides sporadic home health care for Larry Tilson of Tarpon Springs, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease. To get the therapy he says helps with his chronic illness, he must first suffer a medical crisis, such as falling or breaking a bone.
Medicare provides sporadic home health care for Larry Tilson of Tarpon Springs, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease. To get the therapy he says helps with his chronic illness, he must first suffer a medical crisis, such as falling or breaking a bone.

— Larry Tilson, 52, figures he’s doing pretty well for a guy with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Three-quarters of people with the incurable neuromuscular condition die within 3 to 5 years of diagnosis. Tilson recently passed that five-year mark and can still walk, talk and dress himself. He credits an innovative therapy that has helped his brain and muscles stay in synch.

But he gets the therapy only sporadically. Medicare provides a home health therapist off and on, but Tilson has to suffer a medical crisis, such as a fall, first.

“I just got therapy again three months ago. I had 18 stitches in my head after I slipped and fell,” Tilson said recently. “I called and said, ‘I’m falling down again,’ so there was criteria enough for them to come back in.”

Over the last 18 months, the former steel fabricator says, he has started and stopped therapy four times.

That’s about to change. A system that has usually waited for a crisis before helping older and disabled Americans is now creeping toward preventive care and increased efficiency.

In the home health care arena, Medicare has focused mainly on short-term rehabilitation, sending in skilled professionals after accidents, acute illness or other serious flareups.

Break a hip or suffer a stroke? A therapist will work to get you walking again. Diabetic trauma? A nurse can stabilize your blood sugar with tests, diet and insulin shots, then teach you to do it yourself. Once their task is complete, though, they leave.

This is an “acute care” model — fine for curable illnesses and fixable injuries. But it doesn’t work well for chronically ill people like Tilson, whose problems never improve, and may not even stabilize for long.

Tilson’s weekly therapy, when he can get it, has him hitting a trigger with his fingers or foot when a sound goes off. It somehow helps his brain and muscles stay connected, he says. He feels better, gets around more securely and — for a while — staves off the inevitable decline.

But once he reaches goals set by his doctor — like being able to straighten out his fingers again — the home health therapy ends. He goes it alone for a few months, regresses, falls and the cycle begins anew.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tentatively settled a nationwide class action lawsuit designed to give people with chronic illnesses more access to home health care.

The settlement would eliminate a widely practiced rule of thumb that home health care is restricted to people whose conditions can improve. If a federal judge approves the deal, the government will soon instruct doctors, home health agencies and the private contractors who review Medicare’s bills that this informal “improvement standard” no longer prevails.

Instead, people like Tilson will qualify if home care can maintain their current condition or slow their decline.

Over the last decade, home health care has risen from about 3 percent of Medicare’s overall budget to about 4 percent, as baby boomers enter the system and financial incentives push people out of hospitals and nursing homes.

It may take months to sort out how this new “maintenance standard” will affect Medicare rolls, says Bobby Lolley, executive director of Home Care Association of Florida. It depends on how much care the government will approve.

“We hope this will allow a long-term relationship, perhaps checking in less frequently,” Lolley says. “We hope to give seniors the appropriate level of care instead of arbitrarily discharging them and then having them come back with an acute problem.”

HHS spokeswoman Erin Shields said Medicare does not expect costs to rise “beyond what is projected,” but she declined to elaborate on why.

But Benjamin Gilbert, owner of Hygeia Home Health, in Largo, thinks ongoing nursing supervision will compensate for its cost by heading off expensive hospitalizations.

People with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease who cannot easily get to the doctor will benefit from intermittent monitoring within their home, he says. Do they need a dietary change? Is their medication still working? Should they start using a walker?

Often, frequent adjustments can keep people from falling or contracting pneumonia after food lodges in their lungs, he says.

“Let’s say it costs $20,000 a year,” Gilbert says, “but they don’t break their hip,” which could cost Medicare $70,000 for hospitalization and expensive rehab.

Arnie Cisneros is president of HHSM, a Michigan company that trains home health agencies to navigate Medicare rules. Maintenance services also could cut costs in a more subtle way, he says: They could force bureaucrats, doctors, agencies and patients to target care more efficiently.

Right now, Medicare tends to pay for home health care in 60 day blocks, often with another 60 day extension. Because rehab is the only stated goal, doctors and agencies tend to fill up those 60 days with frequent visits from a licensed therapist or skilled nurse, Cisneros says — even when long-term, infrequent care might be more appropriate.

Consider a stroke victim’s progress:

Rehab: A therapist comes in with daily exercises and gets the patient walking again. This could happen within weeks, Cisneros says.

Maintenance: The same patient has a paralyzed arm that tends to tighten against the chest, which complicates bathing and leads to skin breakdown and ulcers. A nurse could come once a month to evaluate the arm and make adjustments when necessary.

By explicitly allowing maintenance care — with its own billing code — Cisneros says, Medicare can start pushing doctors and agencies to shift patients from the costly rehab phase to the cheaper maintenance phase as soon as clinically possible, even if the current 60 day rehab window has not expired.

“If a patient with a knee replacement can get better in eight days,” Cisneros says, “we need to get them better in eight days.”

This article was written by: Stephen Nohlgren and he can be reached at nohlgren@tampabay.com.

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Home Care Post Surgery Orlando

Florida Home Companion has been getting more and more requests for post surgical in-home care.  If this is a service that you would require, the staff at Florida Home Companion can come right out to the hospital and visit you to see how we can meet your needs after your surgery and after you exit the hospital.  If you still have a lot of healing to do, we can help arrange special transportion from the hospital to your home and we can have organize staff in place to help you at your home and/ or facility after your surgery.  We have found after years of doing this that our service is exactly what the doctor ordered when it comes to post surgical care.  In many cases patients need assistance with everything from cooking, to bathing, to laundry, and assistance with travel.  Our caregivers can handle all of these necessities and much more more.

For more information please call Florida Home Company 407-478-5469.

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Article on a potential way to fight off Alzheimers

Below is a link to an article that has what is called a brain type pacemaker which supposively might help fight off alzheimers.  Alzheimers is consistently one of the biggest issues that we at Florida Home Companion see in the Central Florida area.  It is one of the bigger illnesses that doctors will work on trying to find a cure for in the upcoming decades.  While we are not sure of the validity of the information or possibilites mentioned in the article but it does show that people are in fact looking into and studying to see what the possibilities are.




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Successful Bathroom Transfers for Seniors

At Florida Home Companion we understand that care in the home entails a lot of moving parts.  This article talks about successfully transferring seniors around the bathroom which is definitely a necessary subject, but probably a subject most family members want to avoid if they can.  As the population in the Orlando and Central Florida area gets older, more people will need to be aware of these tips.  This article includes tips on helping seniors on and off of a toilet, helping them in and out of a shower, and moving them around a bathroom.  It was put together from Jennifer Bradley at caregiver.com

Successful Bathroom Transfers

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

Statistics show that many preventable accidents occur in bathrooms. Falls are the top culprit in this category. Wet floors and small spaces are only some of the causes for concern in a bathroom setting. Caregivers must recognize these obstacles before assisting someone they love in the restroom. Ignoring them can be a disaster for both caregiver and the one being cared for.

As an answer to the bathroom-transfer dilemma, many devices and maneuver methods are available to ensure a caregiver’s and their loved one’s safety. It is also important for a caregiver to recognize that nothing is more personal than assisting another with intimate cares. Respect and concern for their loved one’s emotional comfort are as important as their physical care.

At Home Base

Caregivers can establish a large amount of control over bathroom safety while in their own or a loved one’s home. There are two categories a caregiver should consider as preventive safety measures. The first is procedures and the second, products. Many potential problems can be addressed simply by home modification, approach tactics or the use of assistive devices.

Here are some general procedural tips to aid in the completion of a transfer:

  • Do not pull on a person’s arms or under their shoulders.
  • Use a gait belt secured around their waist for assistance.
  • Explain each step of the transfer, then give physical assistance and verbal cues during the movement.
  • Allow a loved one time to comprehend what’s expected and to follow through on their own time.

If you want to read more click on this link for the rest of the article:

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Private Elder Care and “A Life Worth Ending” by Michael Wolff

There is an interesting article in New York Magazine this week called “A Life Worth Ending” http://nymag.com/news/features/parent-health-care-2012-5/.  It is one of those articles which really makes you stop and think about private elder care or private in home care in the United States.  Private in home health care is not new…what is new, is how many people use it.   The baby boomers are our largest population and therefore our largest aging population.  Will the ones who live in Central Florida all need private senior care in Orlando and surrounding areas?  Will they need private elder care for short-term or for long-term?  Will they need the private elder care in addition to an assisted living facility or elder care in the home?  Private senior care in Orlando is often covered by long-term care insurance.  However, most people don’t have long-term care insurance and if they do, they don’t have enough coverage.

We always want to convey to people of all ages not just our Orlando Seniors with in-home care to have a plan of action, a budget and an idea of how they want to live out their Golden Years with private elder care.


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8 Senior Savvy Tips

Keeping your Parents in their home and out of the Nursing home

  1. Senior Finances: If they will allow you to take this over for them, it eliminates them from double paying bills, not paying bills, or falling for senior scams.  It is wise to consult an elder care law specialist in regards to Medicaid.  There are ways to make the system work for you and your loved ones.
  2. Senior Social life:  Keeping your parents social and surrounded by friends, family and activities, keeps them active.  Adult Day Care a couple times a week, or senior center activities, or providing a caregiver in the home will keep them sharp, and their minds and bodies moving.  In addition, visits from you and your family and taking them out of the house for a change of scenery.
  3. Senior Security:  Make sure your parents have all the right alarms.  Smoke Alarms, Security Alarms, and a Life Alert type device available to them.  There are all sorts options but make sure they have something in place for that one time they fall…and can’t get up.
  4. Senior Simplicity: Sometimes it’s the little things in life which make things easier.  This is our little list: reacher/grabber, extra long shoe horn, slip on shoes or Velcro shoes, bracelet assists, clothing that is zipped or buttoned from the front, large buttons, and large labels of where things are in cabinets.
  5. Senior Outsourcing:  Outsourcing tasks isn’t just done overseas, it is done right here in peoples’ homes everyday.  Housecleaning, yard work, computer help, home maintenance, it can all be done by you or you can outsource so that when you spend time with your parents at their home, you aren’t running yourself ragged.
  6. Senior Food Supply:  Always have some back up food that is easy to make for your parents.  Better yet, when you cook, make a little extra and put it in their freezer.  Meals on Wheels isn’t available to everyone and some have intensive dietary restrictions.  Having a family or outside caregiver prepare simple meals will also cut costs, cut out extra salt, and keep them healthy.  If you have dried foods for your seniors, you may need to have them drink even more water which seniors are notorious for skipping.
  7. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate:  We can’t stress this enough how much seniors in Florida need to drink.  Get rid of the soda, the coffee, the diet drinks and just drink water and herbal tea.  They will fight you on this but it is an important one to win.
  8. Senior Wardrobe:  Make sure your seniors are wearing appropriate clothing.  If they have lost a lot of weight and their pants are dragging, they could trip and fall.  Conversely, if they have gained a lot of weight, their clothes may be uncomfortable and restrict movement.  Better to have a few great outfits, then a closet full of ill-fitting clothing (that goes for everyone…not just seniors).

As always, Florida Home Companion can assist families with elder care to make their lives easier, better, and provide care in the home or facility.

Florida Home Companion 407-478-5469 www.floridahomecompanion.com


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Respite Care in Orlando

Respite care services in Orlando is always a topic of conversation at our Florida Home Companion Maitland office.  We have husbands, wives, children etc. call in for their loved ones needed just a little time off for themselves or to go on vacation but who know they can’t leave their loved ones unattended for even a few days.

Respite care for the elderly can be challenging.  You may want to put your loved one in a rehab-facility or a nursing-home or assisted-living someone nearby your home or nearby where they live.  However, they may not be up for the move…even though it would just be a temporary respite care in Florida.  You may find that your loved one is too fragile for even a temporary relocation.

When you think of respite care in Florida…are you thinking of care in your home or in the home of your loved one?  This can be an ideal easy situation for respite care for the elderly.  Orlando is one of those places also where you have family and friends who come and visit.  However, can you get away for a couple days or even one whole day?

Florida Home Companion services is happy to provide respite care Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Dr. Philips, Altamonte Springs, Windermere, Lake Nona and the rest of Central Florida.

Please let us know at Florida Home Companion how we can help with your respite care needs.

Florida Home Companion 407-478-5469.


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