Q and A: What are home care agencies?

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Question: What are home care agencies?
Answer: Home care agencies , also known as non-medical senior care, personal care or home care aide agencies provide care that does not require a licensed professional or a physician’s prescription to receive the care. LEt’s say your Mom needs help with toileting, preparing meals, getting in and out of her chair or bed, bathing, getting drssed, being reminded to take her medications, or someone needs to keep up with light housekeeping or take her to a doctor’s appointment – then you need to approach a home care agency. Because this is not medical care, this type of care is not covered by Medicare. If your mother has a long term care insurance, then they may cover this care, but again, call them to find out. This type of care is sometimes referred to as “custodial care” or assistance with Adult Daily Living tasks (ADL) or Instrumental Adult Daily Living Tasks (IADL) such as paying bills, housekeeping, and meal preparation.
Home care agencies, because they are not providing medical care, are not licensed in many states (only thirteen require some sort of license). Those states with laws so require agencies to let you know whether or not the direct care worker is an employee of their agency, is covered by workers compensation is covered by professional liability insurance or if they are NOT an employee. For example, if you’ve contacted an agency that is a Registry, they do not employ the people they send to you, so you must withhold and report the worker’s state and federal income tax, Federal Unemployment tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes.


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