Home Care FAQs

When selecting a home care agency, there are some very important questions that you should ask. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about home care. If you have any other questions, or would like more information, call 218-333-5665 or use or contact us online.

What is home care?

The term home care refers to health care services provided at the patient’s residence.  The residence can be a private home or assisted living facility.  These services typically include skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical social work and in-home aide.  Home care may also include medical equipment and supplies.

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Who can receive home care?

Individuals of all ages and with a variety of health care needs can receive home care services.  As the name implies, home care is for people who require assistance from a health care professional at home.  Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies require medical orders from a physician before care can be initiated. 

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When is home care appropriate?

Generally, home care is appropriate whenever a person prefers to stay at home but needs ongoing care that cannot easily or effectively be provided solely by family and friends. More and more older people, electing to live independent, non-institutionalized lives, are receiving home care services as their physical capabilities diminish. Younger adults who are disabled or recuperating from acute illness are choosing home care whenever possible. Chronically ill infants and children are receiving sophisticated medical treatment in their loving and secure home environments. As hospital stays decrease, increasing numbers of patients need highly skilled services when they return home, such as wound care, therapy, or IV infusions. Other patients are able to avoid institutionalization altogether, receiving safe and effective care in the comfort of their own homes.

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What types of home care services does Sanford Bemidji Home Care provide?

Our team of highly skilled professionals provides a vast array of comprehensive home care services. Skilled nursing services by a registered nurse, such as:

  • Injections and intravenous therapy
  • Wound care
  • Education on disease treatment and prevention
  • Patient assessments
  • Physical therapy 
  • Occupational therapy  
  • Speech therapy 
  • Social workers evaluate and provide counseling
  • Personal Care Aides and Home Health Aides assist patients with activities of daily living such as getting in and out of bed, walking, bathing, toileting, and dressing

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My family member has special needs. Can you provide special services?

Our specially trained and licensed personnel are professionally trained and experienced in helping people with a variety of special needs, including Alzheimer's and other dementia-related illnesses, HIV/AIDS protocols, and special nutritional requirements.

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How is the staff coming into my home screened?

  • Thorough interview process
  • State and federal background checks
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Comprehensive personal and professional reference checks
  • Submission of current license
  • Competency evaluations
  • Complete health assessment

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Are the home care workers insured while coming to my home?

Yes.  All staff members are fully insured.  In addition, all are fully bonded against theft.

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How do I decide on a schedule for home care?

Think about what time of day is most difficult for you and the older adult. Having a set routine as much as possible will benefit the care giver and the client. Make sure your needs are met by the home care schedule, but be flexible; not everyone can receive a shower and breakfast by 9:00 a.m.

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How do I determine what level of service my family member needs? What if circumstances change? How can I be sure the services will remain appropriate?

Our home care professionals work as a team, providing a multi-disciplinary approach to each client’s care. A registered nurse performs the initial in-home assessment and consults with your loved one's physician to learn about their medical history and current needs. Then he/she continues ongoing supervision during the course of care, overseeing the services of home health aides and coordinating the care plan with social workers, providing seamless transitions to new levels of care as needed. These ongoing comprehensive assessments ensure that hours and services are appropriately adjusted over time.

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What can I expect from the registered nurse?

The nurse is responsible for seeing the client once a case is opened. The nurse will do a health assessment and review all medications; she will also develop and regularly review the plan of care with the patient and their family. The nurse is required to supervise the care the home health aide delivers.

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What are my options if the home health aide and my parent are not compatible?

As in all new relationships there is always an adjustment period. You can ask the agency to help clarify the role of the home health aide with the patient. If problems persist request another home health aide.

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Can home care expenses qualify as a medical deduction?

Yes, providing you maintain adequate documentation and pay all of the appropriate taxes either through an agency or on your own. Home care will qualify as an medical expense; once again, consult your accountant for details.

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What if a problem develops?

If you invest some time and follow the guidelines and instructions we provide, you most likely will receive high-quality, safe and effective home care. If a problem develops, however, or if you would like to issue a complaint, call our office at 218-333-5665 or contact us through the website. More information can be found in the Patient Bill of Rights.

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How do we ensure patient confidentiality?

Maintaining patient confidentiality is a legal duty as well as an ethical duty. We will not share medical information with anyone unless we have a written consent from the patient.  We are committed to maintaining the privacy of all our patients. To learn more about how we do that, view our Notice of Privacy Practices.

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Who pays for home care services?

Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance plans have a home care benefit.  A brief summary is listed below.  Additionally, our expert financial staff can help you understand your coverage provisions and will contact your insurance company to determine your specific benefits. Further information can be found at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice’s website

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When does Medicare pay for home care?

Most Americans 65 years of age or more are eligible for the federal Medicare program.  To qualify for Medicare home care, you must meet the following requirements:

  • A physician must determine (order) that you need a skilled home care service.
  • A physician must develop and sign a plan of care.
  • You must be homebound.  This means you have an inability to leave home and, therefore, leaving home requires a considerable and taxing effort.  Occasional absences from the home are permitted as long as they are of short duration.  For example, doctor appointments, family reunions, funerals, religious services, graduations will not disqualify you from home care services as long as they do not indicate you have the ability to obtain services in a setting other than your home.
  • You must need one of the following services intermittently (part time):  Skilled nursing or physical therapy and a continuing need for speech or occupational therapy.

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Services Medicare home health covers:

  • Skilled nursing (RN or LPN)
  • Physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy if the doctor determines that you can benefit from therapy.
  • Home Health Aide services for assistance with personal care such as dressing, bathing or toileting as long as you are also getting other skilled services listed above.
  • Medical social services to assist with social and emotional issues related to your illness.
  • Certain medical supplies, like wound dressings, but not prescription drugs.

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Services Medicare home health does not cover:

  • 24 hour / live-in service
  • Prescription drugs
  • Meals delivered to your home
  • Homemaker services such as cleaning, laundry and shopping
  • Transportation (can arrange, but not provide for)
  • Medical alert devices (can arrange for)

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Medicaid coverage

Medicaid is available only to certain low-income individuals with little savings and no other significant assets who fit into an eligibility group that is recognized by federal and state law.   Benefits vary in each state, but typically cover skilled nursing, physical therapy, home health aide services and certain medical supplies and equipment.  Unlike Medicare, Medicaid may also pay for homemaker or personal care services.  

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Private insurance coverage

Insurance plans primarily offer skilled nursing, physical therapy and home health aide services for acute needs.  Co-pays and/or deductibles payments are common.  Frequency of visits are authorized in advance and closely monitored by insurance case managers.

Benefits vary in each state and private insurance carriers have different policies.  Our expert financial staff can help you understand your coverage provisions and will contact your insurance company to determine your benefits.

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Self pay payments

Self pay is an option when a patient does not qualify for one of the above plans or would like to supplement services above what the plan will cover.  Typically services are priced on the basis of per visit (up to 2 hours) or per hour.

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