How to Use Home Health Care Transportation Services

driving pictureWe get a lot of calls about our home health care transportation services.  Why are senior transportation services from a home health company so popular?  Driving becomes a concern as certain physical issues such as eyesight or motor skills are affected with age or disease.  Unfortunately, senior transportation options are limited, especially in certain areas of the country.  And, many seniors and families find that public senior transportation options don’t fully meet their needs.

So, how does a home health company fit in to the senior transportation puzzle?  Most private-duty home care companies provide services that include errands and driving to appointments, or even taking clients on outings or trips.  Some have senior concierge services like EasyLiving offers which are tailored to providing a comfortable experience for an elder to attend an event or even travel long-distance to see family members.

Here is an example of how some of our clients use a variety of resources for transportation:

A client in Pinellas County, Florida might sign up for DART, which is a service for disabled individuals available via the public transportation system.  The client might use this occasionally for scheduled appointments.  This is not “assisted” transportation so it only works if the client can manage getting to and from the car on his/her own, get in to the appointment, make the call/schedule, and handle the errand or appointment on his/her own.  The client would also have to wait on the transportation for pick up afterward.  The same client might also take advantage of volunteer drivers from the local hospital system for occasional appointments on that campus as well as get rides from neighbors when available.

This client might hire home health transportation services for a number of reasons: to be available each week at a regularly scheduled day to run several errands or just be available for a variety of needs; for assisted transportation (help loading a walker, transferring in and out of the care, escort in to appointments and physical help); in combination with other services such as companionship and help around the home–to be available/flexible as needed to drive but do other things when driving is not needed; to coordinate and plan an outing or long-distance travel.

How can you determine if home health transportation services might be a fit for you or your elder loved one?  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do we need a driver who can also assist physically or provide additional services beyond just driving (or might we need that in the near future)?
  • Do we need flexible transportation services that can handle a variety of transportation needs and perhaps work outside specific parameters that public transit does not provide?
  • Do we want a comfortable, personalized service with a trained senior caregiver?
  • Does the potential client want to be less reliant on family and friends to help?

How to go about using a home health company for transportation services:

  1. Brainstorm about your needs and make a list of what is needed and what type of schedule might be desired.  The home health company can also give you ideas such as how you might group activities or other tasks they can accomplish to get the “best bang for your buck”.
  2. Contact licensed home health care agencies to discuss your needs (you can give EasyLiving a call at 727-447-5845).  Home health agencies often have minimum hours in order to be able to get a caregiver to assist, but can talk with you about how to best use that time or determine how they might fulfill your needs.  For example, EasyLiving generally has a 3 hour minimum visit, but can sometimes find a caregiver to assist for shorter periods.
  3. Give it a “test drive”, starting out with a trial period or using the service for certain appointments and then determining if you wish to use additional services.
  4. If your aging parent has stopped driving, do not forget the importance of social and leisure activities.  Doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and errands are all “musts” but going to a weekly bridge game or lunch with friends can be equally important to your loved one’s well-being.
  5. A word of warning: if you are looking at different types of transportation options/drivers, make sure you understand their liability and insurance coverage and licensing/oversight.

For some more information about senior driving concerns, check out:

Florida Grand Driver, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and its partners’ site with information about senior driving safety, resources, how to take action when concerned about an older driver and transportation options.

Aging Wisely’s Senior Driving Safety Information: signs to look for, what to do when concerned, and resources to assist.

EasyLiving’s “Drive to Thrive” flier describes our senior transportation services along with how costs compare to maintaing and operating your own car.