First of all, one needs to understand the difference between Home Care and Home Health Care Services. “Home Health Care” usually refers to companies/agencies providing skilled nursing, therapy services, either in Retirement Centers and/or private residences. They offer a few payment options which usually include traditional Medicare, Medicaid and some “in network” large private insurance companies. Some will even provide private-duty (private-pay) RN or LPN care. “Home Care” companies offer “non-skilled” care such as home companions for personal grooming, mobility, using home health aides and Certified Nursing Assistants (ie, CNA’s).
100% of the Home Care Agencies, provide Home Companions and Home Health Aides for clients. These companies provide assistance with ADL’s (activities of daily living) for people in their private residences and/or retirement communities such as senior apartments, independent living, assisted living, and even skilled nursing communities. Some of the larger companies even provide care, when needed, in Hospitals. For example, the company can assist patients in a hospital setting - usually in cases involving walking dementia and/or combative issues. Larger home care agencies are often asked to be either a “Sole” or “Preferred” provider for many of the medium to large Retirement Communities within the area.
Another care service offered by Home Care Agencies is CNA’s or Certified Nursing Assistants. CNA’s are used, when a lot of “hands-on-care” is needed for a client. This is an important point to mention since many “Home Care Agencies” are not licensed by the DHHS (Dept. of Health & Human Services) to do hands-on personal care. Always check this by asking for a copy of the Home Care Agency’s state license for “In-Home” Care.
Home Care Agencies, are generally not able to accept Medicare or Private (in network) Insurance policies. Medicare only covers limited periods of skilled nursing and only under certain conditions. But all accept, of course, various forms of Private Pay settlements including check, cash, credit cards etc. Some Home Care Agencies) also accept Medicaid and CAP (Community Alternative Program). In addition, many will accept payment directly or indirectly from Long Term Care companies and the VA for “Home Companion” services. For more information on what Medicare covers, visit: http://www.medicare.gov/coverage/home-health-services.html
It is usually recommended to ask referral sources (social workers, discharge planners, doctors, etc.) on who they recommend for In-Home care agencies. Also, it is wise to go with a state licensed (DHHS) company even if you don’t need CNA care yet. By going with a licensed “in-home” care agency, you have the alternative of staying with that same Home Care agency if your loved ones move to that next level of care – often with the same caregiver; providing he/she is a CNA. Finally, you will want to consider going either with a nationally recognized home care agency or a more local smaller company.