A Q&A section can run dozens of pages long. We present below just a few questions we frequently hear from clients or healthcare facilities we work with. For any other questions, please call (215) 882 8234 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is your fee to do an in-home assessment?
Zero. And you have no obligation to hire our services after your assessment has been completed.
An in-home assessment can be short, merely answering questions of potential clients, or take several hours in complex cases.
If the assessment is performed at the client’s home or at the service site, a safety assessment is usually carried out during the same visit.
How detailed are your plans of care?
All nurses and other qualified staff members conducting in-home assessments follow the same protocol, regardless of a case’s complexity.
A plan can be just a couple of pages long, in simple cases of companionship services or light housekeeping needs, or nearly ten pages, in complex cases involving severe mobility limitations or advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
My dad needs to be driven to medical appointments regularly. Can his assigned caregiver drive him?
We no longer authorize our caregivers to to drive clients. We have thought long and hard about this, and we concluded that it is a client’s best interest to use professional transportation services. Which, by the way, cost roughly the same as if the client paid us for mileage and transportation time.
After all, we train our caregivers to excel in the provision of professional in-home support. But we are not in the transportation business, and therefore we cannot properly train our employees in safe-driving techniques, nor can we ensure that their vehicles are in proper conditions to transport clients.
Caregivers may run errands for clients, as long as they are not transporting a client or other passengers with them.
Please see our transportation policy for more information.
Our healthcare insurance provider offers some coverage for home-care services. But their forms are complicated. Can you help me fill those out?
We definitely can. We always go a little farther to make your life easier. Once you authorize it, we will contact your insurance provider and arrange the proper paperwork to process your benefits claims.
What insurances do you accept?
Most of our current clients pay privately and later submit reimbursement claims to their insurance providers. In such cases, if requested, we can also help with the paperwork. We may bill a client’s insurance provider directly if the client requires our support. If the client’s insurance provider authorizes it, we may also bill them directly. Eligibility for direct billing is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Some clients are eligible to supplemental VA support for home care services. Our staff can help clients both process VA forms and bill directly when possible.
My neighbor, who is 93, is healthy but frail. He is helped by a caregiver five afternoons per week. Every time I pass in front of his house, I see them watching TV together. Is that an acceptable procedure?
Not for us. Our caregivers are trained to encourage healthy client behaviors and, within their physical and mental possibilities, to remain active.
Even if a client’s mobility is restricted, the caregiver must observe a routine of physical and mental stimulation.
During our supervisory visits, those routines may be revised and adjusted to the client’s evolving needs.
Our plans of care may include lists of nearby activity and entertainment options the caregiver may accompany the client to, such as community or religious centers, and gyms with adequate programs and equipment.
You definitely won’t pay us to sit and watch TV.
My grandmother takes several pills each day, and she tends to forget them frequently or to modify her routine. Can a caregiver administer her medication and ensure she is taking the right dosage?
The caregiver(s) assigned to a case must rigorously follow all protocols established in the plan of care, which takes into account the guidance from physicians and other healthcare professionals involved in his or her medical treatment.
Medications can only be administered by a nurse or doctor. In the home-case industry, this category is called “skilled services”; we currently only provide non-skilled services, and our caregivers’ role is limited to reminding the client of his or her medication schedule and assisting the client with self-administration.
A huge snowstorm will reach Philadelphia this week, I am stuck in California, and my dad risks being stranded. How can you help us?
Every plan of care includes emergency provisions for extreme weather. We start managing crisis scenarios long before they happen.
Our first step is to check if one of the family members designated in the plan of care can stay with the client.
Next, we try to assign one or more caregivers to reside with the client until transportation is restored after a severe weather event. That may lead to significant overtime costs if roads are blocked for several days. But all fees are transparently stated in our contracts. The weather may be unpredictable; our pricing policies are not.
It is possible that the caregiver himself needs to attend to his family during the storm. If neither family members nor caregivers are available, our last resource is to evacuate the client to a suitable facility, as previously agreed in the plan of care.
My aunt has slipped several times on rugs in the past months. We know the rugs are dangerous for someone her age, but she refuses to put them away.
Over time, we accumulate objects that pose risks to us as we age. An innocent rug brought from a trip decades ago turns into a major fall hazard for an individual with growing difficulties to walk.
Our intake assessment will indicate that your aunt’s rugs and possibly other potentially hazardous objects should be put away or stored in order to minimize risks.
Between 24 and 48 hours before services start, a nurse or another staff member visits the site to inspect whether our risk-mitigation recommendations have been implemented, as well as adjust the plan of care if necessary.
Sometimes, clients resist to changing decoration elements as suggested during the intake process. Our nurses and other staff members will work patiently with them and family members to ensure that safety always comes first.
Additionally, our caregivers are trained to educate clients about safety risks. If, for instance, a client using a walker after surgery decides to stop using the walker too prematurely, as it frequently happens, the caregiver will work to persuade the client to keep using that device as a necessary measure to ensure his/her safety and to minimize fall risks.
I previously used another home care agency, and I was surprised to receive one day a bill for a nurse visit that neither I nor my mom had required. Are there any “surprises” like that in your services?
No. All our fees are transparently detailed in your service agreement.
As to supervisory nurse visits, we go beyond state legal requirements and provide at least one free visit per month – the State of Pennsylvania requires a minimum of one per quarter.
If the complexity of your plan of care so requires, you will be entitled to up to four free visits per month. The recommended visit frequency is determined during a client’s initial nurse assessment, and further adjusted if necessary as the client’s health or behavioral situation evolves.
If there is any issue in the client-caregiver relationship, or if you have any complaint, an immediate staff visit will be scheduled. Again, we don’t charge any fees for complaint-related or remediation visits.
The only situation in which we charge for nurse or other supervisory visits is if, for peace-of-mind purposes, you require more frequent visits than what is recommended in your plan of care. For instance, if the nurse assessment indicates that two monthly visits are recommended in your case, but you prefer that it be done weekly, you’ll be charged a low fee for each additional visit.
How did you end up helping mom organize her birthday party?
We strive to provide concierge-level services, but without concierge prices.
For several simple needs, we help clients as a courtesy to make their lives easier, without charging any service fees for those little gestures.
It can be booking an Uber, recommending a geriatric-certified yoga instructor, ordering groceries or supplies online, scheduling an in-home hairdresser. We have ever-growing lists of professionals and companies that our clients have approved or whose reputation suggests they are reliable providers.
For larger projects, which may occupy an office employee for several hours or days, such as the party you mentioned, we first discuss with the client whether we can carry the request out. If we can, depending on the project’s complexity and size, the client authorizes us in writing to perform a limited-scope project and we charge a service fee between 3% and 10% of the total costs involved. And if we cannot do it, we will gladly help you find someone who can.
You recently recommended a physiotherapist to my father. How reliable is she?
As a courtesy to clients, we may recommend companies or professionals to provide services that they need.
We base our vendor suggestions on past client satisfaction or on a vendor’s reputation.
Our service agreements indicate we have a company policy that bars us or our employees from accepting any kind of compensation or rewards for referrals. If we recommend vendors, it is because other clients have been satisfied with them or they enjoy good reputations in the market. That is our ethical commitment to customers.
We do not, however, guarantee third parties’ quality or reliability. Our role is limited to finding candidates to provide a client with services or products that he or she may need.
If requested, a representative can help interview alternative vendors, but the final decision is always the client’s.