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Q. When You Have Questions About In Home Companion Care, AAF Divine Health Care has Answers

If you’re searching for quality in-home care Maryland residents can trust, it’s natural to ask questions about everything from the type of services available to how the agency’s caregivers are hired and trained. As your dedicated Maryland home care resource, AAF Divine Health Care is here to help you find the answers you need in order to receive the best possible care. You can find many of the answers you’re looking for in our list of frequently asked questions below. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact AAF Divine Health Care, the top rated companion care agency in the Baltimore area, any time at (240) 486 – 7080

Q. Home care industry terms can be confusing: home health, private duty, health aide, nurse assistant. What do these terms mean?

Home Health Services: In the State of Maryland, home health services are temporary services prescribed by a physician following a hospital stay. The agency providing these services is called a Home Health Agency and must adhere to federal guidelines. Medicare covers some of the care costs for home health services, and a nurse will make several home visits and may or may not be accompanied by a home health aide (HHA) who provides a bath or personal care. Home health services may also be used to provide physical or occupational therapy.

Private Duty Care: As its name implies, private duty care includes one-on-one services. These services can include observation, assistance, and/or skilled care. There are different types of private duty companies providing a range of services with varying levels of oversight:

  • Registry: A registry is simply a business that maintains a list of available caregivers. Registries do not employ the caregivers in their listings. The client pays the caregiver on the day of care and pays the agency an ongoing percentage for the referral. They need only a business license to operate.
  • Companion/Homemaker Services: These include many familiar franchises (and some privately owned businesses) providing “non- medical care”. This means that their caregivers are not permitted to provide any services that require hands-on assistance. Most do not offer the oversight of an RN since their caregivers cannot provide the type of service that is considered “certified” (help walking, bathing, eating, grooming, etc.). Depending on the business model, the agency will consider their caregivers independent contractors (thus passing on liability and taxation to the caregivers). Some hire their caregivers as employees.
  • Residential Services Agency (RSA): RSAs offer services that include private duty companion care, personal care, and skilled care under the off- or on-site supervision of an RN. Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs (bathing, bathroom care, oral care, grooming, walking with assistance, transferring from place to place, and/or assistance with eating), are provided by an RSA. RSAs must apply for and be granted licensure by the Maryland Department of Health Care Quality. The application process is rigorous and includes a demonstration of policies and procedures for both employees and clients that adhere to state regulations. Companies providing home physical and occupational therapy and/or durable medical equipment must also be licensed as an RSA. Hand of Grace Companion Care is an RSA.
Q. In what area are your services available?

Our companion care agency home office is located in Laurel, Maryland and we proudly serve seniors and families throughout Baltimore and Harford Counties. 

Q. Who needs home care?

People with a multitude of needs and abilities can benefit from in-home care services, including:

  • Older adults or disabled individuals who need assistance to remain safe at home
  • Anyone requiring more personal care than a spouse or family member can provide
  • Anyone facing either a permanent or temporary change in his or her health who needs additional help at home
  • Family caregivers who need respite care in order to rest, attend to other areas of their lives, and avoid caregiver burnout
  • Individuals who live alone and would thrive from companionship
Q. What are the advantages of in-home care?

Home care allows individuals to receive the care they need in the comfort and familiarity of home. Home care also allows clients to remain as active, social and engaged as possible within their community and social circles. At AAF Divine Health Care, the top companion care agency in the Laurel area, we pride ourselves on exceptional, ongoing communication with clients, families, and caregivers to ensure that our clients receive the attention they deserve and stay connected to family members and health care providers for better care.

Q. Why choose AAF Divine Health Care in Laurel County?

AAF Divine Health Care is an established, locally-operated companion care agency. Our dedicated care team is committed to being the gold standard for at-home elder care in the state of Maryland by providing the most professional and dedicated caregivers offering compassionate, skilled care and companionship for clients who wish to remain at home as they age.  We ensure that care is customized to meet each client’s unique needs and lifestyle. Our team approach to care provides consistency in an atmosphere we hope will improve the lives of our clients. 

Q.What kind of services do you provide?

We offer a wide range of private home care services including companion care, post-operative care, respite care, short or long term care, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and transportation, medication reminders, personal care assistance including bathing, help going to the bathroom, dressing, and much more. Please visit our Home Care Services page to learn more about the services we provide.

Q. Can I contact someone after hours if needed? If so, how?

Yes. Our Level III clients may access our RN through the caregiver during their shifts. Otherwise, a message may be left on our office voicemail at (240) 486 – 7080 and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Q. Are your home care services covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance?

AAF Divine Health Care offers non-medical home care services which are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. We do accept some long-term care insurance plans. If you would like assistance with determining how to pay for your care, we will be happy to walk you through the process and ensure that you receive all the care benefits to which you are entitled.

Q. Are an aide and a caregiver the same thing?

Although many home care industry terms are used interchangeably, each term can mean something slightly different. An aide is usually a home health aide (HHA) who works with a Medicare-certified home health agency. An HHA undergoes specific certification and training before providing personal care for a home health agency.

Q. How is a companion different from a caregiver?

At AAF Divine Health Care, the terms companion and caregiver are synonymous. Some clients prefer the term companion because it implies more independence. No certification or formal training is required, but life experience and the desire to work with others is expected.

At AAF Divine Health Care, we provide all our employees with an extensive amount of practical and hands-on training to ensure they are competent and confident in the services they provide, including mentoring, quarterly educational sessions, and evaluations. 

Q. What do CNA and GNA mean?

In Maryland, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) undergoes a Board of Nursing approved curriculum including clinical training under the instruction of a registered nurse (RN). A CNA candidate must demonstrate competence in all types of personal care associated with activities of daily living (ADLs), including bathing, bathroom assistance, oral care, grooming, walking with assistance, transferring from place to place, and/or assistance with eating. Candidates sit for a written and skills exam. Successful completion results in Board Certification.

A geriatric nursing assistant (GNA) completes additional training after earning the CNA certification. Successful completion of additional exam results in the designation CNA/GNA.

AAF Divine Health Care’s in-house RN is a certified CNA/GNA trainer, which allows us to provide highly trained and experienced CNAs and GNAs to assist our clients with their daily needs.

Q. How are your caregivers screened and what are their qualifications?

At AAF Divine Health Care, all of our caregivers undergo a rigorous selection, training, mentoring, and evaluation process. We have an extensive phone and in-person interview process. If we invite the applicant to join our team, he or she must pass county, state, and federal background checks, provide proof of residency, have a clean driving record, and pass a health and drug screening. We verify previous employment and speak to each candidate’s references. The new caregiver then reports for extensive training in company policy and client procedures.

Our companions are required to have life and/or work experience in providing care. Caregivers hired to provide hands-on assistance with daily personal care are usually licensed certified nursing assistants (CNAs). All caregivers receive extensive training and are supervised by a registered nurse. Our caregivers always have an RN available to answer any questions while with their client.

Q. What traits do you require in a caregiver?

We insist upon desire, maturity, pragmatism, and commitment in all of our caregivers. We believe that a realist is better than an idealist. Being a dedicated caregiver is a challenging career choice, and we screen carefully in this regard. A caregiver cannot just “want to help people.” Our caregivers have to be decision-makers and problem-solvers. If a candidate has those attributes, he or she makes a wonderful caregiver and a valued employee.

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