While 69% of pre-retirees have considered their ability to age in place, only 14% expect to actually need assistance with activities of daily living or ongoing in-home healthcare. Whether you’re a senior who needs a helping hand or are living with a disability, finding the right personal care provider for your needs is very important.
Choosing the best personal care attendant for you starts with knowing all of your options. In this blog, we’ll review types of home care services, who can benefit from in-home care, and the most important questions to ask an in-home care provider.
Table of Contents
What is In-Home Personal Care?
In-home care allows seniors and people with disabilities to enjoy the comfort and security of their own houses for as long as possible. Personal care attendants are trained to help you live a more fulfilling and independent life, while also fully participating in your community.
This type of home care service is typically provided by trained aides and certified nursing assistants. Your caregiver will visit your home on a regular basis (daily or weekly) and assist you with a variety of tasks, like activities of daily living. In some cases, personal care attendants also provide services for people in assisted living facilities, retirement communities, and skilled nursing facilities.
What Services Does In-Home Personal Care Include?
In-home care agencies provide a wide variety of services for individuals of all ability levels. These include:
- Assistance with bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Escort to medical appointments
- Laundry and light housekeeping
- Meal planning and preparation
- Medication reminders and prescription pickup
- Overnight monitoring
- Respite for family caregivers
- Shopping and errands
- Transportation assistance
Who Can Benefit from In-Home Personal Care?
A wide range of individuals can benefit from in-home non-medical personal care and living assistance. Here are just a few examples:
- People with disabilities
- People who need assistance with activities of daily living
- People who have just left the hospital
Questions to Ask a Caregiver Agency Before Making a Decision
The following questions to ask an in-home care provider will help you hire the right personal care attendant (and agency) for your needs. Keep in mind that while this list is comprehensive, you should pick and choose the questions that are most relevant to your situation. And if you’ve already identified a topic you want to discuss, you can use the jump links below to access that information.
- Background & Qualifications
- Compliance & Licensing
- References & Referrals
- Billing & Expenses
- Forms of Payment
- Financial Assistance
- Initiating Care
- Care Details
- Safety & Security
- Solving Problems
- Personal Care Attendant Training
- Personal Care Attendant Evaluation
- Care & Services Provided
- Personalized Care Plans
Background & Qualifications
- How long have you been in business?
- Have you won any awards for quality of service and/or personal care attendants?
- Have there been any recent changes in management?
- What is your mission and vision?
- Do you specialize in any particular disabilities, illnesses, or chronic conditions?
Compliance & Licensing
- Are you licensed to provide in-home care by the state?
- When was your last state review?
- Do you have general and professional liability insurances?
- Are you willing to share copies of your insurance certificates?
- Do you have policies and procedures in place to ensure my personal health information (PHI) is protected and private?
References & Referrals
- Where do you receive most of your client referrals from?
- Can you provide references from doctors, hospital discharge planners, or other professionals who you’ve worked with in the past?
- Can I speak with any of your current clients?
Billing & Expenses
- How often will I receive a bill?
- Can you provide a detailed explanation of all of the costs associated with your services?
- Do you offer a free in-home consultation?
- Do you charge a fee for any initial assessments?
- Do you charge higher rates for nights, weekends, and holidays?
- Do you require a minimum purchase of a certain number of hours per day?
- Do I have to sign a contract that locks me into services for a certain period of time?
- Do you require a deposit for services?
Forms of Payment
- Do you accept private insurance plans?
- Do you accept long-term care insurance?
- Will you submit claims directly to my insurance company, or will I need to?
- If you handle claims, will I receive copies of all billing statements?
- Do you provide any resources for financial assistance?
- Are payment plans available for your services?
- How do I access my home care benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)?
- At what days and times will home care be provided to me?
- How soon can you place a personal care attendant?
- How often and by what means will you communicate with me?
- Do you accept any special requests for personal care attendants (e.g. caregivers who share my interests and passions)?
- Do you offer round-the-clock care?
- Do personal care attendants rotate shifts if I need round-the-clock care?
- What do I need to do if I need a live-in personal care attendant?
- What happens if the personal care attendant is injured in my home?
- Can I meet potential personal care attendants before they’re placed in my home?
- Can I reasonably expect to have the same caregiver on a regular basis?
- How do you monitor and supervise your personal care attendants?
- Do your attendants keep a detailed communication log for family caregivers and loved ones?
- Will you work directly with me or my loved one, family members, and health care providers?
Safety & Security
- Are your personal care attendants employed, trained, and managed by your agency?
- Are your personal care attendants insured and bonded against theft?
- Can I see a copy of your insurance declaration page as proof of coverage?
- Are your personal care attendants covered by workers’ compensation insurance in the event that they are injured on the job?
- Do you handle payroll for your personal care attendants, including any required deductions?
- Do you offer health insurance benefits to your full-time personal care attendants?
- Do your personal care attendants undergo state background checks?
- Do you conduct initial and routine drug screening of your personal care attendants?
- Do you require your personal care attendants to carry photo identification?
- What procedures are in place for handling emergencies, like power outages or natural disasters?
- How are any problems with caregivers or your agency addressed and resolved?
- Who should I contact at your agency with requests, questions, or complaints?
- What happens if I decide to terminate your services for any reason?
- Is a staff member available outside of normal business hours for emergency situations?
- What happens if I want a new caregiver?
- What should I do if my personal care attendant doesn’t show up on time (or at all)?
- Are substitute attendants trained and able to perform the same duties as my regular caregiver?
- Have you ever experienced personal care attendant shortages around the holidays?
Personal Care Attendant Training
- Do you provide ongoing education and/or training for your personal care attendants?
- Are your personal care attendants trained to handle difficult or stressful situations?
- Do you have ongoing and paid training for your personal care attendants?
Personal Care Attendant Evaluation
- How do you evaluate your personal care attendants?
- How often do you evaluate your personal care attendants?
- How will I be matched with a personal care attendant?
- Do you require your personal care attendants to work a minimum number of hours or shifts per week?
- How do you find and recruit new personal care attendants?
- How do you assess new personal care attendant applicants?
- Do you have any aides that are CNAs?
Care & Services Provided
- Which specific homecare services do you provide?
- What steps must I take to expand my level of care/add additional services?
- Do I need to identify a primary family caregiver and what is required of that person?
- Are you able to care for me if I develop increasing physical limitations due to a disability?
- Are you able to provide related services for my comprehensive needs, such as durable medical equipment or accessible home modifications?
Personalized Care Plans
- Do you create a personalized care plan for each client?
- What will my personalized care plan include?
- Will my doctor have input into my personalized care plan?
- How often will you update my personalized care plan?
- Will I receive a patient’s bill of rights that explains the responsibilities of everyone involved?