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  • Personal Home Care Assistance Frequently Asked Questions

    If you or a loved one could use a hand at home with activities of daily living such as personal hygiene assistance, meal preparation, and transportation, consider utilizing a professional caregiver. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about personal home care assistance.

     

    What is personal home care assistance?

    Personal home care assistance can best be described as assistance with activities of daily living, the common things that a healthy person would do for him/herself on a daily basis. This would include personal care (bathing, dressing, help with the bathroom), light housekeeping, laundry, linen changes, meal preparation, transportation, running errands and medication reminders. It also consists of things like supervision and companionship.

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    Who can receive personal home care assistance?

    Individuals of all ages and with a variety of personal care needs can receive personal home care assistance services. If you feel that you or a loved one may benefit from home care, we are only a phone call away. A member of our experienced staff can meet for a complimentary in-home assessment to determine if personal home care assistance is right for you.

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    What should I watch for that might indicate that someone needs personal home care assistance?

    Everyone ages at a different rate and many people can remain independent well into their 80s. Some things to look for when visiting an elderly loved one include: Is the house tidy? Do they have adequate groceries (not just frozen dinners)? Have you noticed any weight loss? Has personal hygiene declined? Are there any concerns with memory? These are just a few things to consider when you're thinking about personal home care assistance. A great resource is the person’s primary care physician. Often PCPs will be the ones to initiate the idea that some help might be needed in the home.

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    Can we arrange for occasional transportation to doctors' appointments?

    Transportation, especially to medical appointments and procedures is a popular home care service. It can often be arranged in a few hours, but the more notice given is always better. It is best, if possible, to give us 24 hours notice. This allows us to meet with the person ahead of time so that he or she knows what to expect and feels comfortable with the whole process. A regular planned schedule can be set up, or the caregiver can be used on an "as needed" basis.

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    What are caregivers not allowed to do?

    Personal home caregivers cannot do anything that would be described as clinical or invasive. Most importantly, they cannot administer any medications. If the client requires insulin, or other injections, they would have to be administered by the client or a trusted member of the family. Also, a caregiver should not be monitoring vitals such as blood sugar, blood pressure, etc.

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    Do you provide personal home care assistance for someone in an assisted living facility?

    Yes, we do. We first arrange a meeting with the family to conduct a thorough assessment and develop a plan of care. This is not only to fully understand what activities you would like to have completed for your loved one, but also to get a sense of what kind of personality might best suit him or her. After this is completed, we will match the person with a caregiver. If at any time you would like to change your caregiver, this can easily be arranged.

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    Does Medicare pay for personal home care assistance when it’s clearly needed?

    It depends on the type of help that you need. If your doctor has prescribed clinical help that would be administered by a registered nurse, physical therapist, or occupational therapist, Medicare will pay. Also, while under the care of an in-home clinician, a home health aide or other caregiver can be assigned under Medicare coverage for bathing and certain other types of personal care. Medicare will not pay if you need help with activities of daily living such as non-prescribed personal care, meal preparation, medication reminders and housekeeping. The only insurance that does cover these services is long-term care insurance, which is privately purchased.

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    Where do we get information on personal home care assistance for veterans and their spouses?

    This is a great question because veteran's benefits are severely underused. Contact your local VA to learn more about the "Aid and Attendance" program. There are also several non-profits that work with veterans to process their claims. VA benefits are not automatically given; they must be applied for, and recipients must meet certain requirements. Veterans with spouses could receive over $23,000 annually toward personal home care assistance, assisted living or nursing home care. Spouses of deceased veterans may be eligible for over $12,000 annually.

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    How often are we billed, and is there a deposit?

    An upfront deposit is required before personal home care assistance services are rendered, generally covering about one week of service. The deposit will be refunded at the end of your relationship with the agency if all invoices have been paid. You will be charged on a semi-monthly basis. No long term contract is required, allowing maximum flexibility as needs change.

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    Will we get the same caregiver each time care is scheduled?

    It generally depends on the amount of service you need. If you require extensive hours or 24-hour care, it is only practical to have more than one caregiver coming on a shift basis. But we will certainly strive for continuity with the staff that is providing the elder care, especially when effort has been made to match the right personalities and care needs. The caregivers like it that way, too. Due to the nature of personal home care assistance, especially with bathing and close physical contact, familiarity and routines make everything much more comfortable for the elderly person receiving care.

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    How does your agency select its caregivers?

    We contact occupational schools, participate in job fairs, place advertisements, and attract applicants through the Internet. We have a rigorous screening process that includes background checks and verification of qualifications. All of our caregivers have at least one year of experience. All background information is available upon request. Our caregivers also have varied experience. For this reason, we meet with the family to get detailed information in order to put together a plan of care. By doing this, we can insure that each employee that we send out has all of the skills to address the needs of each client. If a client's health status deteriorates and requires more skill, we will make arrangements to staff as necessary.

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    What happens if the caregiver doesn't show up on time?

    As with any employment arrangement, unforeseen circumstances can interfere with a schedule. Our agency uses a phone-in time card system that alerts the scheduling supervisor if someone does not check in at the appointed time, so that a supervisor can immediately come by to care for an elderly client until the caregiver arrives or a replacement is arranged. This also guarantees that clients are accurately billed for the actual hours worked. It is one of the major advantages of working with an agency, the assurance and peace-of-mind that back-up staffing is an integral part of the service, especially for frail seniors.

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    What happens if my mom or dad has some sort of medical emergency?

    911 is immediately called in the event of a medical emergency. There is an emergency preparedness procedure that every caregiver is trained on when hired, with annual training updates. We also ask the family to post a list of emergency numbers by the phone and put them in the order that they should be called. 911 would usually be the first call if it is a true emergency.

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    Are caregivers trained in CPR and basic first aid?

    Many of our caregivers are already trained in CPR and first aid before we hire them. If a client specifically requests this skill level, we can make it happen.

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    How can I check the quality of care from caregivers?

    Try to be involved in your loved one’s care. Get to know the caregivers and the supervisors providing and managing the care. If you see anything in the home that concerns you, report it immediately no matter how insignificant your observation may seem. Try to visit frequently to get a true understanding of what is occurring on a daily basis. (If you live out of the area, find someone you trust to make the visits.) Our own branch managers will do unscheduled supervisory visits, an important aspect of quality assurance. Lastly, we also provide a chart book, and the caregivers note all important information for you to review. Family members have full access to the charts, and the notes can be scanned and emailed if you wish.

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Victorian Home Care is a licensed home care agency, offering personal home care assistance to families throughout Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. With offices in Monterey and Aptos, our service area includes Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, Salinas, Seaside, Castroville, Watsonville, Aptos, Capitola, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, and surrounding cities. Services include hourly or live-in home care, extended care, home health aides, medication reminders, and coordination with healthcare providers. Home caregivers and personal care assistants provide help with activities of daily living, meal preparation, light housekeeping, senior and eldercare, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, transportation and companionship. We are an affiliate of Kindred at Home.