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What is Homecare?
A personal care/private duty homecare agency provides services that do not require a licensed professional or a physician's prescription. A homecare worker can help a person with activities of daily living (ADLs) like remembering to take medications, preparing meals, transferring from a chair, toilet or bed, bathing, getting dressed, light housekeeping or transportation to and from doctor's appointments. A homecare worker can also provide companionship to an older adult or an adult with a disability - engaging in a favorite hobby, watching movies or simply conversing about their past or the events of the day.
What's the cost and is it covered?
This type of homecare is not covered by Medicare and is usually paid for by the consumer. However, there are two government-funded programs that can help. The Medicaid Aging Waiver and the lottery-funded OPTIONS program may pay for this care for eligible individuals.
Services provided by personal care/private duty homecare agencies are sometimes referred to as custodial care, assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) tasks or instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) tasks. If the person requiring care has long-term care insurance, homecare services may be covered. Call the insurance provider to find out.
If the person requiring care is an older adult who you are assisting, you might qualify for the Pennsylvania Caregiver Support Program offered by the local Area Agency on Aging. Click here to find your local Area Agency on Aging.
How to find a personal care/private duty homecare agency
Some agencies are franchises, while others are independently owned. You will also find that some home health agencies also offer this type of personal care. The Pennsylvania Homecare Association website includes a "Find a Provider" feature where you can search for an agency by location or by the services you need.
Personal care/private duty homecare agencies are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. You can search for an agency near you by visiting their website.
Be sure to find out whether the agency you use actually employs the caregiver or if it is a registry. A registry will refer, match or place a worker in your home, but the worker is not an employee of the agency.
What to ask
When you interview personal care/private duty homecare agencies, there are a number of important questions to ask:
HHAeXchange is improving the overall healthcare system by making home care more effective in the face of an aging population. Take EVV a step further in your agency and ensure readiness for Community HealthChoices with a solution that promotes compliance and provides a transparent operational view throughout the entire organization. Click to learn more.