5 Key Terms Every Elderly Services Worker Should Know

There are obviously more than five key terms every elderly services worker should know, but some terms are more important than others. In a world where aging parents consistently need home care workers and elderly services workers, it’s important to know what the acronyms and terms used by professionals mean. Here are five key terms to start with.

1. Adult Protective Services

Elderly services workers should be familiar with APS, or adult protective services. It is a county or state department that investigates reported allegations of elder abuse and intervenes when necessary. It is also the department that any elderly services worker with their own business reports to in order to receive licensing, policy recommendations, and mandatory training on reporting laws and other elderly services legal issues. It is the single most important call, next to emergency services, for any worker to know when working with elderly patients.

2. Assisted Living Facility

Assisted Living Facilities is a term that every elderly services worker should know. These are long-term housing facilities that are licensed by the state to care for elderly patients. Assisted living facilities, known as AL facilities, are often large and resemble hotels, with many different common areas and suites of rooms. AL facilities provide a base monthly rate for room and board as well as additional tiers of care; these tiers can consist of everything from bathing and light housekeeping to continence care medication management.

3. Skilled Nursing Facility

Also known as an “SNF” or skiff,” a skilled nursing facility that provides both short-term and long-term care for patients. In the public arena, SNFs are known as nursing homes or rehab centers. SNFs can be paid for by Medicare, so long as it meets the criteria for a stay; this includes a three-day hospitalization and other criteria for rehabilitation. Medicare-funded stays generally do not exceed 40 days and once Medicare is no longer being reimbursed, patients are discharged. These facilities can also be paid for privately, providing patients with a long-term stay that is not dictated by the regulations of Medicare.

4. Discharge Planners

Discharge planners are the professionals responsible for discharging a patient from the hospital and into an SNF or their own home; no discharge can be completed without first consulting a discharge planner. These professionals are generally registered nurses or licensed social workers who work in conjunction with both a patient’s medical team and the hospital to coordinate any health care needs a patient may need once they return home. Examples of this coordination can be found in home health care services, hospice, and palliative care, although much more could be listed.

5. Private Duty

One of the key terms an elderly services worker should know is private duty. This term refers to privately paid services, such as home care nurses; however, the term can also refer to skilled providers that are not part of the private duty non-medical home care industry. Private duty professionals and services are paid out-of-pocket and are not covered by health insurance, making it a profitable industry for non-medical providers. While it is unusual to see a medical professional working in a private duty workplace, it is by no means rare.

Elderly services workers are in demand, with that demand growing every year as the American population ages. For workers who help the elderly every day, it can be a struggle to keep all the terms straight. With these five key terms that every elderly services worker should know, any professional will be well on their way to understanding how the industry works, and how they can use it to their patient’s advantage.

Related Resource: Best Top 10 Online Sociology Degree Programs