Table of Contents
- What is Companion Care?
- How to Find a Companion Caregiver?
- Questions I Should Ask Before Hiring a Caregiver Agency.
- Does Medicare Pay for Care?
- Does Medicaid Pay for Care?
- Can I use Long-Term Care Insurance to Pay for Care?
- Communication With a Caregiver.
- What Else Should I Know about Hiring a Companion Caregiver?
- How to Become a Caregiver?
- What Skills do you Need to Become a Caregiver?
- What do Companion Caregivers do?
- What’s the Difference Between a Companion Caregiver and a Home Health Aide?
- How to Find Success as a Caregiver?
- How Much are Caregivers Paid?
- Are Caregivers Required to Work for a Home Care Agency?
What is Companion Care?
Companion Care is a non-medical in-home care service that offers companionship to senior citizens, aging adults, and adults with disabilities.
This type of care is an emotional support system for aging adults, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities who wish to remain in their homes and apartments.
Caregivers support individuals with non-medical activities of daily living.
Families are sometimes unavailable to provide care for their aging loved ones, but an in-home care agency, like Nest and Care, can offer families numerous benefits, including:
- Caregivers ensure loved ones are safe and secure inside their homes or apartments.
- Agencies provide qualified, experienced, and licensed caregivers.
- Home care agencies are licensed, bonded, and insured.
- Agencies shoulder liabilities should an unforeseen accident occur within a client’s home.
- Home care agencies employe caregivers with unique qualifications and personalities.
Did you know?
How to Find a Companion Caregiver?
Many families begin researching companion care using an internet search engine like Google.
For example, a Silver Spring, Maryland family may begin its online companion care search Googling “companion care near me,” or “companion care near Silver Spring,” or “in-home care near me.”
And some families may choose to survey and crowdsource their friends, family members and neighbors, using social media before hiring an in-home care agency.
Word-of-mouth is still the marquee, tried-and-tested method when searching for an in-home care agency that aligns best with your care goals and personal values.
You may also search for home care services and caregiver services by doing the following:
- Contact a representative from your city or county’s Commission on Aging;
- Reach out to your area Chamber of Commerce;
- Review online care directories (e.g., “Care.com,” “Caring.com,” “A Place for Mom.”)
- Hire a geriatric care manager to search for an in-home care agency;
- Contact an elder law attorney .
What Questions Should I Ask Before Hiring an In-Home Care Agency?
(This section applies to questions directed to home care agencies, like Nest and Care.)
- How does your home care agency create its care plans?
- Does the home care agency have a clinical director who manages client care?
- Does your home care agency offer its caregivers hands-on training?
- How are your caregivers supervised?
- Does your home care agency offer its clients and their families an online portal to keep track of their care, billing, etc.?
- Are your caregivers licensed certified nursing assistants?
- Does your home care agency conduct federal and state background checks before hiring caregivers?
- What is your home care agency’s drug-testing policy?
- Is your home care agency licensed, bonded, and insured?
- What COVID-19 policies and precautions has your home care agency implemented?
- Does your home care agency provide its caregivers personal protective equipment (PPE) – or is my family responsible for providing PPE?
- Are your caregivers COVID-19 vaccinated?
Is Companion Care Covered by Medicare?
Medicare is unlikely to cover the costs of non-skilled, in-home care.
Some private insurance plans may offer to cover companion care – but many do not, however.
Contact your insurance company to learn more about coverage for in-home care.
Does Medicaid Pay For Companion Care?
Visit MedicaidPlanningAssistance.org to learn about your state’s Medicaid companion care eligibility requirements.
Aid & Attendance may cover companion care for U.S. military veterans.
If you are a U.S. military veteran and are eligible for benefits, please visit VA.gov to learn more about your eligibility requirements.
Can I Use Long-Term Care Insurance to Pay for Companion Care?
Many long-term care insurance policies offer coverage for non-medical, in-home companion care.
Please reference your policy and contact your long-term care insurance company to learn your coverage options.
Communication with a Caregiver
In particular, families who hire in-home care agencies respect and appreciate consistent communication with companion caregivers.
Nest and Care encourages their caregivers to build long-lasting relationships with the clients and families for whom they provide care.
Relationships, most importantly, are built upon trust. Communication is a two-way street between families and their caregivers.
What Else Should I Know About Hiring a Companion Caregiver?
Hiring companion care doesn’t have to be stressful.
But you’ll need to do your research – and research takes time.
Investigate an in-home care agency’s Google reviews before inquiring about their home care services.
Be sure to check out the agency’s website.
Do you get the sense the agency is transparent about its services after reviewing its website?
Review an in-home care agency’s social media pages to understand their brand better.
Is the agency involved in their community? Do you get a sense of the agency’s values and principles after reviewing their social media pages?
Request an in-home care consultation, or you could request the agency host a Zoom meeting with you and your family members before committing to using their services.
Request a copy of the agency’s client service agreement.
You DO NOT want to be locked into signing a contract; you want the option to cancel care services at any time. (Be sure to review your client service agreement’s cancellation policies.)
Under no circumstances should you sign a contract.
Legitimate in-home care agencies offer service agreements, not contracts.
How to Become a Caregiver?
Do you want to become a caregiver for Nest and Care?
Where should you begin your journey?
It would help if you began by reaching out directly to Nest and Care by calling (240) 690-9900.
Prospective caregivers who want to earn their certified nursing assistant license should contact their local community college(s) or certified nursing assistant schools.
Learn more about Montgomery College’s certified nursing assistant and geriatric nursing assistant program.
Prospective certified nurse assistants should communicate with their state nursing boards for recommended CNA schools.
In episode two of the Coffee and Care podcast, Kat and Ryan interview one of Nest and Care’s best caregivers!
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Caregiver?
(This section applies to Maryland.)
- A high school degree or its equivalent.
- A valid state-issued identification card or a drivers’ license.
- Nursing and healthcare training is not required for companion caregivers. However, many home care agencies, Nest and Care, included, only hire licensed certified nursing assistants.
- CPR training.
- Patience, maturity and compassion, and empathy.
- Strong communication skills and be able to communicate in English.
- At least three personal references.
- You must have the standard vaccinations (TB, etc.).
- Now, it’s even more important for companion caregivers to be COVID-19 vaccinated. (NOTE: Most families demand fully vaccinated caregivers when working with their loved ones.)
What Do Companion Caregivers Do?
Companion caregivers provide emotional support and companionship for aging adults, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities, all of whom, may wish to age gracefully within the convenience and comfort of their homes.
Companion care also incorporates in-home care services, such as:
- Meal preparation.
- Light housekeeping.
- Bathing and toileting.
- Hygiene and grooming assistance.
- Medication reminders and pick-ups.
- Errands and grocery shopping.
- Transportation to and from appointments.
- Playing music.
- Keeping records.
- Playing games.
- Running errands and taking someone outside the home for meals and entertainment.
What’s the Difference Between a Companion Caregiver and a Home Health Aide?
Home health aides are almost always certified through a state licensing board (typically the state’s Board of Nursing).
In contrast, licensing is not always required for companion caregivers.
Companion caregivers generally are limited to providing only companion care.
It is against the law in Maryland for companion caregivers to administer medications, turn the client, or assist with hands-on tasks, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, or toileting.
Nest & Care requires every caregiver it hires to hold a certified nursing assistant license.
The Maryland Board of Nursing website is an excellent resource to begin researching the caregiver certification process.
How To Succeed as a Caregiver?
Nest and Care believes every caregiver it employs has tremendous potential to achieve their professional goals.
At times, caregiving is emotionally and mentally taxing.
Unusual it is not for caregivers to develop emotional attachments with clients for whom they provide care. Companion caregivers often provide care for chronically ill and elderly clients.
It can be traumatizing and emotionally challenging for caregivers when clients pass away while under their care.
Nest and Care offers its caregivers emotional support during the toughest of times.
How Much Are Caregivers Paid?
Caregiver pay varies from state to state.
Caregiver pay begins at $15.00 an hour in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Are Caregivers Required to Work for a Home Care Agency?
Caregivers may choose to work independently instead of working for an in-home care agency like Nest and Care.
Independent, 1099 caregivers are self-employed and are responsible for managing their federal and state tax burdens.
Working for a Home Care Agency Versus Working Independetly
It’s entirely the caregiver’s preference to work for an in-home care agency like Nest and Care or work as an independent caregiver.
Benefits of Working Independetly
Caregivers may enjoy managing their schedules and tax burdens.
Independent caregivers are responsible for setting their pay rates and marketing their services.
And independent caregivers may choose to work with several clients or only one.
Benefits of Working for a Home Care Agency
Many home care agencies like Nest and Care offer their caregivers hands-on skills training seminars and caregiver skills labs – at no cost to the caregiver.
Another significant benefit when working for an in-home care agency is that most agencies employ full-time marketers.
Home care marketers cultivate relationships with hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted and independent living communities, home health and hospice companies, care managers, elder law attorneys, and several other community referral partners who refer clients to home care agencies.
Marketers are responsible for maintaining an agency’s census and bringing in new clients for its caregivers to staff.
Check out the Coffee and Care Podcast, hosted by Nest and Care CEO Kat Villanueva and Director of Business Development Ryan Miner!