Questions We Have Received From the Community We Serve
Do you accept Medicare as payment for services?
By definition, Medicare pays for "medical" services. This would include such services provided by a Home Health agency. These would include physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, injections, wound care, nurse assessments and follow up visits. Medicare also kicks in when needing hospice services as well, which are also considered "medical" care. Home Care is considered "essential personal." Our services do not include those listed above and include bathing assistance, dressing, incontinence help, ambulation, meal prep and more ... all of which are considered essential personal. Our services are covered,however, by Long Term Care Insurance.
Do you have different levels of care with different pricing?
No, and here is why. Almost 100% of our care recipients have changing needs. There are good days and bad days. There are improvements and declines. There are things that happen that are no anticipated and family may need to respond and make decisions quickly.
The last thing we want to be talking about with you during these changes is pricing. What we quote to you over the phone, our flat hourly rate, is what the service costs to you. The only time this may be different, obviously, if there was an overall price change in between the time you initially spoke to us and the time we agreed to provide service. But that is usually over an extensive period of time.
Our emphasis will be "what are the specific care needs for at this time?" rather than explaining to you a bunch of tiered pricing and "packages." Be careful of the marketing pricing tools being used out there. We would rather put the right people in up front and focus on the care your loved one needs.
All of our care is customized based on the needs of the care recipient and this care is provided by Certified Nursing Assistants. For this, reason, it is not necessary for us to price for different levels of care as we believe having all Certified Nursing Assistants qualifies them to provide care for anything that is within our scope of services. With that said, of course, we do recognize that some caregivers are better with social related activities while others may be more suited for something like hospice support care. That is where our back end services are so critical - where we do the matchmaking. We know our caregivers well and place accordingly.
To price for separate levels of service, would mean that, at some point, pricing would change on you. For example a companion level care recipient that needs no personal care, my have a not so good day and will need assistance with continence, ambulation, dressing or a shower.
My mother recently had surgery. Prior to this, she enjoyed many activities such as taking walks and getting together with friends. I am worried that she will lose her desire to do this during her surgery recovery. What can Visiting Angels do to help?
Visiting Angels can assist temporarily while your mother recovers from surgery. A caregiver can help her with the extra help she needs to bathe and dress. Eating healthy and regular is also very important for recovery and an extra set of hands there to help would ensure this happens. Usually, there is a medicine schedule to adhere to immediately following any surgery.
Our caregivers can remind your mother to take her medicines on schedule. With extra help and companionship for your mother, she will have a desire to get better and get back to her friends and activities!
I have a very independent Mother who definitely is in need of assistance. I would love to be there for her, but I have to keep my job. She has already fallen and I am afraid she will fall again. We were lucky that her first fall was did not result in a break. She is refusing to allow me to hire a caregiver. Any suggestions?
Usually when a parent declines help there is a primary underlying reason. One primary reason
is the fear of having a “stranger” come into the home. Another primary reason is
embarrassment because the parent is in need of help with very personal things such as bathing,
dressing and maybe some incontinence. At Visiting Angels we try to make this process as
comfortable as possible. We start with the in home visit that allows your mother to get to know
us. We answer any questions she has and also talk about the “difficult stuff” that we deal with
every day. Then we will bring someone by for her to meet that will be her primary caregiver.
Almost every time this makes the person comfortable because they see that we are a caring
agency who has tremendous experience and compassion. There is no charge for this
initial process so if she decides she does not want to do it – she doesn’t have to! Just knowing
this is a choice, allows independence for your mother.
It is also hard for our previous generation to justify the cost of having help. But discussions
reminding them of what situations it is preventing and the costs associated with those situations
often bring rational to the decision. Chances are if you are afraid she will fall again, so is she. Chances are she would prefer to be in her home than the hospital. And, chances are, there is tremendous guilt associated with “spending the money” on herself. Talk through these issues. Put it right out on the table so she can feel good about being cared for. During our in home visit we can talk through these issues with you.
My mother is coming home from the hospital. I am in town and will be able to help a little bit, but she will need 24 hour care possibly even after I have to go home. Is this something you help with?
Not only can we help, we are experts at this. We can not only help at home, but if you need assistance at the time of discharge, we can be ready for you. There are many ways to approach this, but generally we meet with the family at the hospital so that the care recipient and the family member both have an opportunity to ask questions. Other times we are meeting prior to a scheduled surgery and planning for discharge. And, yet other times, we arrive at the home when the family member realizes they need help after the event. Even though it is obviously a stressful time for all, we take the time to identify specific needs and concerns and family members feel the relief almost immediately once they know they are in good hands! We schedule caregivers around the clock and with consistency, understanding that it is difficult to have people you do not “know” coming into your home. You will love our caregivers – they are not only certified, but caring and compassionate.
My father lives in an assisted living. He suffers from dementia and we do not feel like he is getting enough of attention. We feel so bad and just do not know what to do. We visit as much as we can and even our family members are all taking turns to be with him. Can Visiting Angels help?
Unfortunately an Assisted Living is usually not able to provide one on one time without incurring an additional cost by the facility. Our angels can visit the facility on a regular schedule. If he is reluctant to do things on his own in the facility, we can be there to encourage him. We can monitor how he is eating and drinking at meal time and report back to the family. We can go with him to the afternoon Bingo and help him participate. Having a regular schedule will allow the family to visit when it is most appropriate (and enjoyable!) for them.
My dad is coming out of a rehab facility after experiencing a previous fall. He is very weak and still considered a fall risk. I work and cannot be with him all of the time – he lives alone. Is this something that visiting Angels can help with?
Absolutely. We can even bring him home from the facility if arrangements are made ahead of time. We can assist with getting him comfortable at home; help organize and prepare him meals and assist with any Range of Motion exercises recommended by the Physical Therapist. Usually, someone that weak will need assistance with bathing, dressing and bathroom assistance. All of our caregivers are Certified Nursing Assistants and are experts in the proper techniques for assisting with these activities of daily living. Your father will be so glad to be home, but with additional help he will continue to recover and get stronger. When you no longer need our services, you can stop services when you wish.
Against my recommendation, my mother hired someone from her church to be her caregiver. The lady is very nice but she calls her own schedule and my mother is essentially on standby week to week. Sometimes the caregiver does not even come at all and then I have to miss work. What can I do to convince her?
For most seniors, it is a gradual process of acceptance. The more planning, the better. Plant the seed and let them mull it over a bit. Try not to wait for an emergency before introducing home care.
My father recently fell and broke his hip. He is in rehab and will be discharged soon. I am worried about not only his ongoing care but just getting him into the house the day he comes home! HELP!
We can definitely help! We will come meet you and your father in the facility. We can discuss needs and, with some planning, he can even meet his caregiver ahead of time. On the day of discharge we will be there. Some families need an extra set of hands bringing their loved one home. Some families, because of work obligations, cannot be there. Either way – we have you covered!
Why should I hire an agency to care for my father when it seems cheaper to hire someone privately?
Hiring privately always appears to be less expensive. In the long run, however, it is rarely the best solution. This is due to the fact that you are not paying someone to manage the people, manage the schedule and adhere to regulations through documentation and processes regarding care and safety.
An agency like Visiting Angels invest much time and money into not only choosing their staff but managing it in a way that accommodates the needs of the care recipient, not just the needs of the caregiver. For example, should your father want to switch to night care instead of day care, is that private caregiver going to be able to accommodate him? If your father needs someone to stay with him all week long, can that private caregiver do it? He should not have to sacrifice his needs to accommodate someone that he is paying to be there.
Private caregivers work as individuals and not part of an overall team. This usually means that they will want the schedule that works better for them and not necessarily what is the best schedule for the care recipient. When the needs of your father change, it is quite possible that the private caregiver is not able to meet this need.
At Visiting Angels, there is a team to care for your father. And, although he may want just one caregiver and he will most likely have a favorite, if that primary person gets sick on a particular day, he will still get the care he needs!
My children are telling me that I must move out of my home in order to have the assistance I need. There must be a better way – yes, I know I need help. But I do not want to leave my house, my neighbors and my garden. I also have a big dog I just absolutely love and am not ready to part with.
We would be happy to reassure your children that we can provide care until end of life, if necessary. Yes, to be truthful, some of our caregivers are afraid of big dogs, but we also have caregivers that absolutely love them! There is no need to give up a beloved pet that has become part of your family. The matchmaking process is part of the fun we have in getting a caregiver(s) that is right for your home. Care giving can be provided in incremental steps (increase as we go along based on need or changes), or if you need full time help right away. During our in home consultation, we identify your needs (and how receptive Fido will be!) and talk with you about any specific concerns. We have much experience, so chances are your concerns were also someone else’s. No question is too trivial for us.
I am the primary caregiver for my mother. I have not left her for two years, but my daughter is getting married out of state. My mother is not able to travel that far. I will only be gone for three days – is that something you help with even though we do not need you after that?
We sure do help with those very special occasions! Even if your mother was not wild about the idea of someone coming in to assist, we would plan it out with you and meet her ahead of time and address any fears she may have. Meeting the caregiver ahead of time is critical to receiving home care for the first time, especially if you will be out of town so everyone is comfortable. Our caregivers like this too because they have such a strong desire to do a great job. We go over all of the details including emergency processes and anything specific to the home. We can even provide you daily updates while you are out of town.
I have heard my neighbor complain about the home care service they are using. Their primary complaint is that there is a different caregiver showing up all the time. They never know who will be at their door.
There are several reasons this could be happening. It could either be an “odd schedule” that no single person could commit to doing (i.e. day and evening and weekend and weekday hours) or it could be an unreliable staff or poor planning on the part of the agency being used. At Visiting Angels, we identify with you a schedule that works for you. Prior to starting the service we set expectations as to why it would be one, two or three people. There are certain “schedules” that are more consistent than others. There are certain schedules that are easier to staff than others. Either way, it requires planning and setting expectations and some up front and honest discussions. Our office staff owns making this as smooth as possible and we do a great job. Building a reliable care giving staff involves extensive interviews, strong policies and procedures, and treating our caregivers with the respect and kindness and professionalism they deserve.
How do I force my mother to take her medicine?
Simply put, you cannot force her. However, there are different strategies that can be tried. There may be a particular reason she is not taking them. Is she forgetting? Is she having difficulty swallowing? Do they make her nauseous? Do they may her sleepy? Do they have a bad taste? In many cases the care recipient will not admit these things are happening and / or may not be able to vocalize their fear due to cognitive issues. And, so, the result may be “no!” or simply a refusal to take them. When we are in the home, we can often make observations and provide some suggestions. Of course, we do not wish to tell anyone what to do either. But often we may be in the home for longer stretches of time than the family and so this may be helpful. And, sometimes a “stranger” can encourage mom or dad differently than a family member. (We all take our family members for granted sometimes and are tough on them, don’t we?)
I have Long Term Care Insurance with Company X, do you know anything about this? What does it cover?
Long Term Care Insurance is insurance that specifically covers our essential personal services. Every policy is different. Some have a cap dollar amount per day; some have a total number of days and some have a bucket of money that is available until it runs out that is managed by you. Our agency has tremendous experience with working with many long term care providers. In fact, we are on many of their lists as a preferred provider since we have already been approved as a result of submitting our license, proof of insurance, etc. to them. We can file on your behalf and we do not charge extra for this! We view this as removing one more thing for you to have to worry about. However, if you wish to file on your own, we can supply all of the paperwork you need either to you or your provider so that you may be paid directly. There are about three or four different ways to handle the processing, but we have you covered no matter which way you choose. We can also assist you with asking the right questions of your provider if you are confused about your policy. With your formal permission, we are even able to talk to the provider directly when necessary which forms a nice team and efficient processing results.
I have Long Term Care Insurance that I have paid into for many years. I believe I need assistance but the provider has told me that I do not qualify. What does it take to qualify?
We do not profess to be experts regarding Long Term Care, however, we have much experience in the processing of these claims, follow up documentation support and working with the providers. We understand what documentation they need and are able to provide to them things such as Nurse Assessment, Care Plan and Care Records - which are all generally required by the provider once the initial claim filing is approved.
However, if you cannot get your initial claim filing approved, and you think you qualify, and they have told you "no" - please give us a call. With your permission, we are happy to review your situation at no cost to you. Quite often when a third party such as ourselves calls to inquire, it is quickly approved. It is unfortunate that this is what it takes, but it is quite common. Sometimes the first line agents are not asking the proper questions or may not understand your policy or may not even understand what your specific needs are. With your permission, we are happy to get on the phone with them and ask the most appropriate probing questions of why your claim is not being approved.
And, even before you file your initial claim, you may want to give us a call. Because we can also help to make sure your initial claim paperwork appears to be complete so when you do file, your chances of initial approval are greater. However, it should go without saying, of course, we will not make any false statements to the provider verbally or in writing.
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With his caregiver Helen, Angell’s humor, his sense of fun, his innate frankness shone. She blessed his life.
With his caregiver Helen, Angell’s humor, his sense of fun, his innate frankness shone. She blessed his life.