FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Know About Homecare?

  1. Where do you provide services?
  2. Why is it important to hire an agency near my home?
  3. What is non-medical home care?
  4. What are caregivers not allowed to do?
  5. Will my health insurance or Medicare pay for your services?
  6. Do you provide services in hospitals, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities and other locations?
  7. Are my assets protected from liability for workers’ compensation, unemployment or employment taxes?
  8. Are your caregivers bonded and insured?
  9. Can I reach someone over the weekend, on a holiday, or during the night in an emergency?
  10. Why should I use your agency instead of hiring a caregiver directly?
  11. Do I have to sign a contract or keep services for a specified period of time?
  12. Is there a minimum amount of time per day or per week I can get home care help?
  13. I only need a caregiver for two hours. Why is there a four-hour minimum?
  14. Can my hours of service be divided? For example, can I receive services from 8 AM to 12 PM, then from 5 PM to 9 PM?
  15. Can I change the services my loved one receives?
  16. How much notice do I need to give for a schedule change?
  17. How can I verify a shift was completed?
  18. How do you ensure that care remains consistent with my wishes?
  19. Can my caregiver provide transportation?
  20. What happens if our caregiver gets sick or can’t come that day?
  21. How do you select your caregivers?
  22. Will I have a choice of who comes to my home?
  23. How will you find the right caregiver for our family?
  24. What do I do if I don’t like my caregiver?
  25. Do you train your caregivers?
  26. Will we have the same caregiver every time?
  27. What happens if our loved one goes into the hospital?
  28. Do you charge for an initial in-home consultation?
  29. What is the first step to starting service?

Where do you provide services?
We are licensed to serve clients in Pennsylvania. Our service area is within 30 minutes of Yardley, PA  for hourly care and 45 minutes for Live-In care. This is so our care managers can easily drop by our clients’ homes to supervise our caregivers. If you aren’t sure whether or not your loved one is in our service area – give us a call at (215) 321-5100.

Why is it important to hire an agency near my home?
Local home care agencies have the advantage of recruiting local caregivers. The home health care profession relies on its caregivers to travel to each patient’s home. The further away the home care office is from your home, the less likely that agency will have caregivers that live close to you. Typically, a home care agency cannot successfully recruit caregivers who live more than fifteen to twenty miles away. Caregivers do not like to commute great distances to get to a client’s home. Sometimes a caregiver will take a job with a long commute and sadly, will quit that job when a closer job becomes available. From the client’s point of view, this means having to change caregivers and train new caregivers.

What is non-medical home care?
Non-medical care (also called attendant or custodial care) provides assistance with the common things that a well person does for him or herself every day (“activities of daily living”). This includes personal care (hygiene tasks like bathing, dressing, and toileting), light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, transportation, running errands and medication reminders. Caregivers help the client move around safely as well as provide companionship and supervision as needed.

What are caregivers not allowed to do?
According to our Pennsylvania licensure, our caregivers cannot do anything that would be described as skilled, clinical or invasive. They cannot administer any medications — even over the counter medications. We can remind clients to take pills already sorted in a pillbox and we can open the pillbox. If the client needs more than just reminders, then a loved one, RN or pharmacist needs to manage the sorting of the pills and the schedule. If the client requires insulin, or other injections, these would be administered by the client or another trusted member of the family. A caregiver cannot monitor vitals such as blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. , though our caregivers can remind a client to test his or her blood sugar and record the results in a log. Our caregivers cannot apply medicated cream. Caregivers can assist clients putting on the oxygen cannula but cannot adjust oxygen.

Will private health insurance or Medicare pay for your services?
Non-medical services are primarily paid for by the client or other responsible party unless Veterans’ Benefits (Aid & Attendance) or a Long Term Care Insurance policy* is in place. Medicare will pay if your doctor prescribed clinical help administered by a nurse, physical or occupational therapist. This level of care is sometimes called “Home Health Care or Skilled Nursing.” It is usually of short-duration after a patient leaves a hospital or rehab center. Medicare does not pay if you need help with activities of daily living like non-prescribed personal care, meal preparation, medication reminders and light housekeeping.

*VA benefits must be applied for and recipients must meet certain requirements. Veterans with spouses could receive over $23,000 annually toward in-home care, assisted living or nursing homecare. Spouses of deceased veterans may be eligible for over $12,000 annually.

Do you provide services in hospitals, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities and other locations?
Yes. Many of our clients begin our services at home and we follow them into facilities. Our one-on-one care can be delivered anywhere.

Are my assets protected from liability for workers’ compensation, unemployment or employment taxes?
Yes. If our caregivers hurt themselves in your home they are covered by workers’ compensation from A WAY TO STAY Home Care. Likewise, we pay unemployment and payroll taxes for each of our caregivers as employees of our agency.

Are your caregivers bonded and insured?
All our staff are fully insured and bonded against theft.

Can I reach someone over the weekend, on a holiday, or during the night in an emergency?
Yes, someone is available to help you 24-hours a day, seven days per week. We also have staff members who are on-call during non-office hours to assist you with any urgent service issues.

Why should I use your agency instead of hiring a caregiver directly?
Most workers who enter the home care industry are caring, giving people. Unfortunately, there are also those who know that it is very easy to take advantage of frail, functionally limited, often cognitively impaired clients. We’ve been told hair-raising stories from people who hired private help. We heard from lady who was afraid to fire her aide because she believed the aide’s family would be angry and harass her. She was nervous because the family visited while the aide was working. Another lady we know is dealing with an aide who periodically threatens to leave her alone with her very sick husband unless she pays the aide more…. in addition to the fact that the aide sometimes doesn’t show and leaves this kind lady high-and-dry with no care for her bedbound husband. Or how about the elderly lady whose aide shows up late, or not at all and still wants to be paid? These lovely people are being held hostage by the aides they rely upon to help them live at home.

Caregivers who work for our agency supply us with viable references, pass psychological, cognitive, drug and criminal screenings as well as verification of their ability to work in this country. We make sure each passes a written competency test as well as observing their caregiving skills (transfers, etc.). Your family should do all these screenings before hiring even though your neighbor or cousin swears by a caregiver. Additionally, you will be responsible for protecting your assets by having insurance in place to cover liability, workers’ compensation, employment and unemployment taxes.

Working with our agency instead of hiring privately avoids these problems. We take care of hiring qualified experience caregivers and cover all insurances. If a client wants to change aides, we take care of it. Any questions about hours worked – we deal with because our aides all clock-in using our telephony system. If an aide needs time off, we make sure another aide is there in her place. Most importantly our care managers personally visit clients to make sure our service is satisfactory in addition to telephone calls, supervisory visits and reviewing our aides’ in-home documentation every week.

Do I have to sign a contract or keep services for a specified period of time?
We have a standard service agreement that outlines the services we provide. You can cancel our services with two business days’ notice.

Is there a minimum amount of time I can get home care help?
There is a four-hour minimum shift and a minimum of  twenty four-hours per week. Care can be provided from one to seven days per week, depending on the client’s specific needs.

I only need a caregiver for two hours. Why is there a four-hour minimum?
For our home care services, we require a four-hour minimum in order to guarantee the best possible care and to maintain consistency and a close connection with the caregiver who is working with your loved one.

Can my hours of service be divided? For example, can I receive services from 8 AM to 12 PM, then from 5 PM to 9 PM?
Yes. Flexibility is built into our services and we will accommodate your specific needs, as long as each shift is four hours or greater

Can I change the services my loved one receives?
We know situations can change rapidly and we work with you and your loved one to meet changing care needs. Our care manger will work with you to update your care plan. You can cancel our services with two business days’ notice.

How much notice do I need to give for a schedule change?
Two business days is all you need. The notice you provide allows us to re-assign your caregiver so he or she can work.

How can I verify a shift was completed?
Our caregivers’ clock- in and out of each shift using our telephony system which verifies time and attendance. Each caregiver completes documentation that remains in the home for every visit. The documentation is mailed weekly to our worked a shift, when and for how long.

How do you ensure that care remains consistent with my wishes?
Before we begin service, our care manager works with the client and family to determine a Care Plan. Your caregiver or caregivers sign and review the Care Plan before providing service to your loved one. The caregiver completes our documentation describing care provided during each shift and this documentation is mailed weekly to our office before you are billed for our review. A copy remains in the home in our red folder so it may be reviewed by you for compliance at any time. Long Term Care policies usually require this supporting documentation.

Can my caregiver provide transportation?
Yes, with your authorization, our caregivers can drive. We recommend that they use your car.

What happens if our caregiver gets sick or can’t come that day?
We will bring another caregiver who we think will be a good fit with your loved one. One of our staff will introduce new caregivers to the client.

How do you select your caregivers?
Hiring a caregiver is not like hiring a cleaning service or handyman; your desired outcome is all about personal interaction, ongoing communication, and a continual re-examination of your loved one’s needs and wants. Families are complex and entering your home as a caregiver requires a delicate mix of personal and professional attention.

We work hard to ensure we hire professional, ethical and dependable caregivers. Our pre-employment and ongoing human resource process is based on pre-screenings, psychological assessments, applications, interviews, competency testing, reference verifications, abuse registry checks, certification checks, motor vehicle record reviews, criminal background checks, TB testing, drug screening, orientation, ongoing training and continuous monitoring by our Care Managers.

All our caregivers are experienced and many have certification as a Nursing Assistant or Home Health Aide. Each is hired for the following characteristics:

  • Gentleness and watchfulness
  • Sensitivity to non-verbal needs
  • Active listening
  • Proactive problem solving
  • Regard for personal boundaries
  • Attentiveness to the care recipient’s right to be treated with dignity and respect
  • Trustworthy, accountable and capable of being part of a team

Will I have a choice of who comes to my home?
Yes. It’s important that you like the caregiver assigned to you. We carefully evaluate our caregivers’ capabilities, strengths and personality when matching them with clients, and continue to monitor the relationship to make certain it remains a good fit.

How will you find the right caregiver for our family?
We match caregivers to clients using 1) our Caregiver Quality Assessment which provides us information on dependability, integrity, personality and cognitive abilities, and 2) our personal observations of the caregiver and client. We know that some clients like quiet and do not want someone in their space. In this case we make sure that the caregiver is NOT a talker and will maintain a wider personal space for the client. Likewise other clients love to talk and want a caregiver who is very sociable.

What do I do if I don’t like my caregiver?
Call us immediately and we will find you a new caregiver!

Do you train your caregivers?
Yes. Our caregivers are experienced with working with older adults. Most are certified as a Nursing Assistant of Home Health Aide. Upon hiring we orient them to our policies and procedures as well as provide ongoing professional development so our caregiver and care managers remain engaged and active learners and you continue to receive the best care available. When a caregiver is assigned to a new client, they work with a care manager to understand the care needs of the client and family, ensuring that your needs are met. Our nurse will also guide caregivers in providing disease specific care.

Will we have the same caregiver every time?
We do our best to have the same caregiver available for you but sometimes it’s just not possible. Usually we introduce another caregiver as a “back-up” so your loved one will always have someone with whom they are familiar and who knows exactly what they need.

What happens if our loved one goes into the hospital?
Families know it is important to have a familiar face at the bedside when an elder is hospitalized. Often families can’t be there 24/7 to help quell anxiety or advocate for their loved one so having a caregiver at the bedside is important. Our caregiver provides invaluable one-on-one attention to your loved one. Work with our office to create a schedule to fit your family’s needs.

Do you charge for an initial consultation and assessment?
No. If we determine our services are appropriate for your needs after an “intake” consultation on the telephone, we will schedule a face-to-face assessment of your loved one by one of our care managers. If your loved one is in the hospital or rehab, we will work with the discharge planner to make sure that the Care Plan created for your loved one includes necessary information from your doctors or therapists. If at home, we will consult with you and your loved one to determine the level of care your loved one needs to remain as independent as possible.

What is the first step to starting service?
Give us a call at 215-321-5100 to talk with us about your needs. We are happy to do a telephone consultation with you to determine if our services fit your requirements.

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Our Contact Information:

A Way to Stay
1596 Quarry Road,
Yardley, PA 19067
(215) 321-5100

Better Business Bureau Accredited Business CQA Certified Bucks County Long Term Care Consortium One of the Best, 2016! Bucks County, Courier Times