All states allow eligible individuals to manage their own care through Medicaid programs. In some states, including Nevada, it’s also possible for a family member or friend to get paid as a full-time caregiver. This article will help you gain a better understanding of the Nevada Personal Care Services (PCS) program and caregiver responsibilities.
What is a PCS caregiver?
Nevada Medicaid offers two home care programs for beneficiaries who, due to a chronic health issue or disability, need assistance to continue to live at home:
- Community Based Waiver Program (HCB) and
- Personal Care Services (PCS) program.
The HCB program enables eligible individuals to choose an approved service provider for personal home care services. However, this program doesn’t allow an individual to hire a family member as a caregiver. On the other hand, under PCS, family members and friends can act as caregivers of their loved ones.
Who can become a PCS caregiver?
Medicaid recipients in Nevada can choose as their PCS caregiver or personal care aide (PCA) anyone, including:
- A parent, as long as the child is over the age of 21 and actively chooses the parent to act as a paid caregiver.
- A child
- A sibling
- Any other family member
- A friend.
Under the PCS program, spouses are not allowed to act as personal care aides for each other. However, this doesn’t apply to domestic partners who are not legally married.
Family members and friends who serve as caregivers are not required to be licensed or certified under the PCS program. They are authorized to provide the same type of care offered by registered nurses, such as administering medication and providing skilled nursing services like wound care, taking vital signs, monitoring of health conditions, and suctioning tracheostomies.
What services are provided?
The PCS program allows beneficiaries to choose a caregiver who will provide assistance with activities of daily living, personal hygiene, eating, mobility, and more.
To be able to benefit from the Personal Care Services program, the applicant must be a resident of the state of Nevada and have full Nevada Medicaid or be eligible to receive it.
In addition, the person must be either disabled or have a health issue that requires assistance with activities of daily living (ADL), more specifically:
- Three ADLs with limited hands-on assistance
- Two ADLs, one of which requires extensive or full assistance.
Furthermore, the beneficiary must be self-directing and able to manage a caregiver or have a designated representative who will direct care on their behalf.
Why Would Someone Need a Caregiver?
Living alone is usually not a safe alternative for the elderly and people with disabilities and chronic health conditions. By receiving assistance with everyday activities, individuals who would otherwise need to be placed in an assisted living facility can continue living in their own homes. In addition, they are able to receive personalized care and physical, medical, and emotional support from someone they know and trust.
Here are some of the reasons why your loved one may need a caregiver:
- They are no longer able to take care of themselves
- They are at risk of falling at home and hurting themselves
- They need assistance to get up and move around
- They are recovering from a surgery or illness
- They are bedridden and have limited mobility
- They are in need of incontinence care
- They need a person to follow them to doctor’s appointments
- Their spouse or another caregiver needs a break.
Continue reading to find out more about the tasks of a PCS caregiver.
What Are the Basic Tasks of a PCS Caregiver?
As a PCS caregiver, you will be expected to perform a range of tasks depending on your loved one’s needs. These tasks are typically grouped into two categories:
- Assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) that are necessary for independent living at home, such as:
- Personal hygiene
- Incontinence care
- Transfer and mobility
- Assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). These activities are important for being able to live independently, but are not necessarily required on a daily basis, for example:
- Meal preparation
- Managing medications
Elderly or disabled individuals often need daily assistance with personal hygiene, such as bathing, grooming, and using the toilet. In addition, people with reduced mobility may require a caregiver’s assistance to use the bathroom and clean up after themselves.
People who have impaired mobility may be dependent on a caregiver for feeding. As a caregiver, you will be responsible for ensuring feeding safety and creating a positive experience around feeding.
Transfer and mobility
If your loved one has mobility issues, you will need to help them to get in and out of a wheelchair or bed.
A patient who is no longer able to drive or take public transportation may need you to drive them to and from medical and other appointments.
Housework and errands
PCS caregivers are usually required to perform housekeeping tasks such as washing dishes, doing laundry, ironing, dusting, and vacuuming.
As a caregiver, you will often be responsible for meal planning and preparation, in addition to doing grocery shopping and cleaning up after meals.
Common caregiving tasks include administering medications, reminding the patient to take medications, and picking up prescriptions. It is also necessary to regularly check medication supply and take note of any side effects.
Monitor vital signs
People with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, and heart failure may need regular health monitoring. This means that you will need to take and record their body temperature, pulse, respiration rate, and blood pressure.
One of the essential tasks of a PCS caregiver is providing companionship and emotional support. Activities like playing games, reading books, participating in events, or simply taking a walk together will make your loved one’s day engaged and fulfilling and help them feel less lonely.