Guide to In-Home Care Services
In-home care refers to services that help you stay in your home. You may need in-home care if you:
There are three major categories of in-home care:
Home health care – services provided by nurses, physical therapists, and occupational and speech therapists.
Personal care – assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, mobility, etc.
Support services – housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, etc.
Sometimes, one or more of these services are provided by the same agency. For instance, an aide from a home health care agency may provide personal care under a nurse’s supervision.
In-home care providers are sometimes called companion aides, personal care aides, certified home health aides and nursing aides.
Private home health care agencies, individual providers and the county provide in-home care.
Sometimes, nurses, private geriatric care managers, or county social workers coordinate and supervise in-home care services.
This depends on the care you need, the type of insurance you have, and whether you are eligible for certain government programs.
Private Pay and Insurance
People who use in-home care services often pay most of the cost themselves.
However, some private health insurance and long-term care insurance policies cover certain in-home care services. Policies vary in their coverage.
Read your policy carefully. Contact your insurance company if you have questions. If you have coverage, be sure to ask the in-home care agency if they accept your insurance. Other questions to ask include:
Fairfax County Department of Family Services/Adult and Aging Division provides in-home support services to people who meet eligibility requirements. To request an assessment by a county social worker, call 703-324-7948, TTY 711.
Medicare helps pay for home health care if you are a Medicare beneficiary only when a doctor certifies a plan that includes one or more of the following services:
Additional requirements include:
Medicaid helps pay the cost of in-home care for eligible low-income people. Sometimes services are paid by a combination of Medicare and Medicaid.
If you think you may qualify for Medicaid, call 703- 324-7948, TTY 711 to arrange for a pre-screening interview.
First, determine how you will pay for the service and then identify your service needs.
The In-Home Care Guide Checklist may be helpful.
Next, decide if you want to hire an in-home care agency or an individual provider (a provider who is not affiliated with an agency).
Finding In-Home Care Agencies
Good places to look for private in-home care agencies include:
Senior Navigator, a search engine of local services.
Web searches using the keywords: “Fairfax County” and “home care” or “home health care.”
Phone book under “home care” or “home health care.”
Home health care agencies are often chosen during a hospital stay with the assistance of a nurse or social worker. This is because many people need home health care services to recuperate.
Finding Individual In-Home Care Providers
To find an individual in-home care provider (not affiliated with an agency), check the Fairfax County Companion Aide Registry. You can also request a copy at 703-324-7948, TTY 711.
County staff interviews private independent providers, conducts reference and background checks and updates the list each month.
Once you have a list of providers, contact them to determine if they can provide for your needs and meet your time requirements.
Find out their hourly rates and if they require a minimum number of hours to work. Then ask a few additional questions.
You may want to ask agencies:
If you are interested in doing a little more research, compare home health care agencies by service, type and quality.
You may want to ask individual providers:
Whether interviewing an individual provider or agency, be sure to request references and then check the references.