Home care includes a wide range of health and social services (personal care assistance, nursing and rehabilitation, homemaking/housekeeping, and meal preparation). These services are delivered at home to recovering, disabled, and/or chronically or terminally ill persons in need of treatment and/or assistance with the essential activities of daily living. Home care organizations include:
- Home Health Agencies - In Maine, the term home health agency indicates a provider is Medicare certified and can provide Medicare and MaineCare reimbursed home health services, which are highly supervised and controlled and generally short term. Agencies may deliver a variety of services through physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers and home health aides.
- Home-based Care and non-medical Home Care Service Agencies employ homemakers or chore workers, personal support specialists, and/or companions who support individuals by helping with meal preparation, bathing, dressing, housekeeping, laundry or other activities.
- Hospice - Most hospice providers are Medicare certified and licensed according to state requirements.
- Staffing and Private Duty Agencies provide individuals with nursing, homemaker, home health aides and/or companion services.
- Independent Providers are privately employed by individuals needing services. Aides, homemakers, chore workers, and companions are not required to be licensed or to meet government standards except in cases where they receive state funding. The responsibility for recruiting, hiring, and supervising the provider rests with the client, in addition to paying into Workers Comp and Social Security. It is important to have a clear contract.
Hiring Home Care Employees
A good first step is to make a list of the caregiver’s and the care receiver’s needs. Then, for each item ask: Who will be in charge? Will it be the caregiver? A family member? A friend? Or the home care provider?
Based on the needs, will insurance cover any or all of the services needed? If insurance is covering the cost, the company will require the home care provider meet certain qualifications. If you are going to pay privately for services, you may have more options for who you hire to provide the services, either through an agency or directly. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.
Once you know your needs and how you are paying for the services, the next step is to make a careful selection. When you are ready, get referrals from the physician, hospital discharge planner, community members and friends.
Paying for Home Care
Home care services can be paid for directly by the consumer and/or his or her family members or through a variety of public and private sources. Third party payers include Medicare, MaineCare, the Veterans Administration and Social Services block grant programs. Private third-party payers include commercial health insurance companies, managed care organizations, long-term care insurance and worker's compensation.
For individuals who are not able to pay the cost of home care services, certain state or federal programs may pay for the services in part or entirely.
Family Provider Service Option(FPSO) is a self-directed option that allows an Elderly Independence of Maine (EIM) consumer to register as a Personal Support Service Agency for the purpose of managing their own services.
If you are eligible for an EIM program and are not on an EIM waitlist you may qualify for the FPSO program. FPSO allows an adult, 21 years or older, to register as a Personal Care Agency solely for the purpose of managing their own services or solely for managing the services for no more than two of her/his family members. Current consumers should contact their Care Coordinator. If you are not currently an EIM consumer and would like information, contact SeniorsPlus at 1-800-427-1241.