Frequent Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We have assembled a short list of the most frequently asked questions to help you navigate through the sometimes, challenging task of choosing an in home care agency. Please feel free to contact us if your question is not answered here.
  • What is Home Care or `In Home’ Care?
  • How is home care set up and who supervises the care?
  • What steps should I take if I or my loved one needs help to age in place at home?
  • What questions should I ask when calling home care agencies and other care providers?
  • How does Home Care differ from Home Health and Hospice Care?
What is Home Care or `In Home’ Care?

In home care refers to care related to activities of daily living provided in a person’s home. Home can be a private residence, independent or assisted living facility, condo etc. Activities of daily living relate to personal care such as: bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, nutrition, etc. They can also include activities such as: walking, exercising, reading, writing, games, hobbies or other interests.

A person receiving in home care has a trained companion or caregiver who can assist or perform activities of daily living. This allows the person to remain safely at home. In Home care can be classified as either medical or non medical.

  • Non Medical home care is also called companion care or custodial care. If you need someone to stay with you or your loved one to make sure they are safe, take them on outings or errands, or fix meals for them, you need non medical home care. Non- medical home care does not include medication management though it may include reminders. However, the person must be able to identify what their medication is, at what times they take it, and why it has been prescribed. Non medical home care does not have nurse supervision and is not coordinated with your physician. IF you choose to go with a non-medical homecare agency keep in mind that once you or your loved one get to a point where more complex care is needed, you will need to find a new company to provide that care. All medical home care companies provide non medical care as well to avoid needing to make this difficult change.
  • Medical home care involves the supervision and management of care by a nurse. Activities of daily living are provided such as: bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, nutrition and assistance with ambulation. A nurse will usually set this care up by completing an in home assessment and setting up a plan of care with the help of family and your physician. In addition to assistance with the activities of daily living, the caregivers can perform more complex care such as: catheter care, bowel programs, diabetic care including insulin, medication set up and management, and hospice care, all under the direction and supervision of a nurse.
How is home care set up and who supervises the care?
  • Before beginning services, a nurse will visit the person needing care in their home, hospital or rehabilitation facility and performs an evaluation and assessment.
  • A plan of care is then written that describes the care needs and goals of the individual.
  • The nurse will coordinate with doctors, therapists, discharge planners and hospice to ensure that care is consistent with goals and orders.

For more complex care

  • Caregivers may be trained in facilities before the person returns home.
  • The nurse will assist with the set up and frequency of care.
  • On the first day of service the nurse will introduce and orient the caregiver to the client and their home.
  • The nurse will then continue to supervise the caregiver, coordinate with medical personnel and continue monitoring medications if applicable.
What steps should I take if I or my loved one needs help to age in place at home?
  • What are my or my loved one’s needs? Do they need simple bathing assistance? Do they need help with household tasks and meal preparation? Do they need medication assistance? Do they need round the clock supervision?
  • If I or my loved one is going to stay at home, what assistive devices do I/they need? Grab bars? Fall prevention alarms? Raised toilet seat? Shower bench and hand held shower?
  • Who pays for the care? Does Medicare or Medicaid cover the costs of care? What will my long term care insurance pay for? Do I need to pay privately for care?

Once these questions have been answered, you will have a clearer picture of what you need and what may be the most appropriate setting for the care you or your loved one requires.

What questions should I ask when calling home care agencies and other care providers?
  • In addition to rates of services, ask about medication set up fees, supervisory/nursing visit fees and/or mileage charges.
  • Does the company provide coordination with doctors, home health or hospice?
  • Are caregivers employees of the company or the individual receiving care? Do I or my loved one pay taxes, workers compensation or a referral fee for the caregiver?
  • Do you have liability insurance?
  • Do your caregivers undergo a pre-employment background check or drug screening?
  • Are you licensed, bonded and insured?
  • Will someone be there if my caregiver gets sick?
  • What do I do if I don’t feel comfortable or do not like my caregiver?
  • Are supervisors available after office hours?
  • What if I or my loved one’s care needs to be changed?
  • Do you document care or medication provided? Is this record available to me?
How does Home Care differ from Home Health and Hospice Care?

Home Health Care refers to health care ordered by a physician and provided in the home by skilled medical personnel. This may include insertion of catheters, dressings and wound care, I.V. therapies, physical, occupational and speech therapy. These procedures and therapies are provided by skilled and licensed individuals including nurses and physical, occupational and speech therapists. Many home health companies have home health aides who are certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who can provide bath aids as long as the individual is also receiving skilled nursing care or other therapies. This care is task oriented. The nurses and therapists that come will be there to complete a specific task that will usually last no more than one hour. Home Health does not provide ongoing care in the home.

Hospice is a philosophy of care as well as an organization that provides care. The hospice philosophy or viewpoint accepts death as the final stage of life. The goal of hospice is to enable patients to continue an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so that their last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. This service is ordered by your physician and is usually covered by Medicare/Medicaid and your health insurance. Hospice is similar to Home Health in that they come in for “visits” and do not have care providers that will stay with you throughout the day. If you are on Hospice and need a caregiver to remain with you throughout the day and night you will need to hire an In Home Care agency to provide caregivers for you. Hospice does have respite care or volunteers that may be able to provide some of that care.

In Home Care is not ordered by your physician.  However, depending on the level of care, it should be coordinated with your physician. Unlike Home health and Hospice where you just have “visits” being made, home care provides caregivers that remain in your home for “shift’ work. The caregivers that come are not there to just complete a task; they will provide all of the care needed as well as complete all household tasks to keep you at home. This care is usually 3-4 hours all the way to 24 hours a day depending on your needs. Agencies with nurse supervision can work with home health agencies when skilled nursing or medical care are needed. Medical in home care agencies also coordinate with all of your other health care providers to ensure that you are getting the very best care possible.