Denise Seaman, Owner of CareMinders® Home Care
Deciding when it’s the right time to hire a caregiver to come into your home and help care for yourself or a loved one can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the types of home healthcare providers available to you. You should understand all of the important factors to take into account when making your decision.
It’s important for a home healthcare consumer to understand they have a right to choose. For example, if you or your loved one is being released from a hospital, a rehabilitation facility, or even coming home from a nursing home or assisted living facility, you have the legal right to choose your home healthcare provider. No one can force you to receive the in-home care from a provider that you have not selected as your personal choice.
How do you go about making the right choice? It’s important to understand the various options available to you, and the questions to ask when interviewing an agency. There are significant differences in the types of home healthcare providers available to you, but it’s not hard to learn what those are. You can start by asking these questions:
- Are you accredited?
- Are your caregivers and nurses your employees, or do you use contractors?
- Are your caregivers covered under your liability and worker’s compensation insurance?
- What background screenings do you perform?
- How do you know if your caregivers are training and competent? What training do you provide?
- Do you have 24/7 on-call services where the agency can be reached any time?
- Do you have a minimum number of hours?
- Are you a companion agency, nurse registry or a licensed home health agency?
- What insurances do you take?
There are distinctive differences between home healthcare providers here in Florida. It’s important to understand these differences as part of your decision making process.
Homemaker/Companion Services: Services provided by homemakers and companions include housekeeping, meals, shopping, and trips outside the home. They cannot provide personal care such as grooming or bathing. They pay $50 to register their business with the state and are not required to operate at a business location. Many companies only utilize contractors and do not provide liability or worker’s compensation insurance.
Home Health Agencies: Home health agencies provide nursing care; physical, speech, occupational, respiratory and IV therapy; home health aide and homemaker/companion services; home medical equipment; nutritional guidance; and medical social services in the patient’s home or place of residence. The state now requires all new agencies to be accredited.
Nurse Registries: Nurse Registries arrange for nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), home health aides, or homemakers/companions to provide services to patients in their home or place of residence. Their caregivers are contractors of the registry, not employees.
How do you know which type of provider they are? Their license/registration number will tell you. Home Health Agency license numbers are prefaced with an “HHA,” Nurse Registries with an “NR,” and Homemaker/Companion Services are not licensed – they are registered only.
If you select a provider that uses contractors, you should ask who will be responsible to pay household employment taxes, income withholding taxes, and unemployment taxes. If the caregiver does not pay these taxes, you may be required to pay them.
If practical, do your homework in advance of needing in home care rather than waiting until a time of personal stress or urgency. Many providers will be happy to answer your questions and help in your decision making process. Use the internet, newspapers, phone books, or even better – referrals from trusted sources to identify potential providers that can provide the level of care you may need.
And remember, it’s your right to choose! Make it an informed choice.
CareMinders® Home Care is a licensed Home Health Agency serving Pinellas and Pasco counties. We are locally owned and operated, and accredited by the Joint Commission. We provide home health care to people of all ages so they can remain in their own homes. We believe Life at Home is the Key to Independence! For more information, visit www.careminders.com/northpinellasor call 727-330-7804.