Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions – things you may be wondering about.
- How quickly can services be provided?
- What are the costs for your services?
- Some other companies I’ve called have quoted me a low base rate, but then they add on additional charges if the coverage I need is on a weekend, or if it is after 5 p.m., or if it is less than an 8-hour block. Do you do this?
- What is live-in care and do you provide it?
- A friend of mine said it might be cheaper to hire someone through an ad in the newspaper. Should I do this?
- Are your caregivers experienced?
- Do your caregivers get additional and specialized training?
- May I meet my caregiver before our first day together?
- Will I always have the same caregiver?
- Why should I choose your service over another in my area?
- What areas do you serve?
- Are you a local or a national company?
- May I receive your services in other settings besides my home?
- Is Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care a Registry/Referral Service?
- Will Medicare or my private insurance reimburse for your services?
- Will my Long Term Care Insurance cover your services?
- Will someone from your company come to my home to conduct an initial assessment?
- Do I need to sign a contract?
- Can I change my services and/or my schedule after I sign the service agreement?
- Will I be able to reach a supervisor at any time?
- How does your scheduling work?
- How is billing handled?
- Can your caregivers provide transportation?
Q. How quickly can services be provided?
A. Generally services can be provided to meet the needs of the client, often within a 48-hour period and possibly sooner, if necessary. We are very responsive to your needs and we understand that it is not always possible to predict when care will be needed. Since we always try to match the caregiver to the client from a personality standpoint, the more notice we have, the better a job we can do for you. For non-emergency situations, we prefer one week of lead time to ensure we can provide the best caregiver for the job.
Q. What are the costs for your services?
A. Because all services and schedules are tailored to the needs of the client, the cost of service for each client is determined at the initial consultation meeting, when we meet with the client and/or the client’s family to determine the appropriate level of care. There is no charge for the consultation visit. In general, however, our rates are hourly or per-shift for overnight and 24-hour live-in shifts.
Q. Some other companies I’ve called have quoted me a low base rate, but then they add on additional charges if the coverage I need is on a weekend, or if it is after 5 p.m., or if it is less than an 8-hour block. Do you do this?
A. No. Once your rate is determined, it is always the same whether you are receiving service on days, nights, weekdays or weekends. We feel that this is the simplest fee schedule for our clients, their families and us to understand. There are no hidden charges. This way the client is never surprised. The only exception is if you receive service on a major holiday (i.e., Christmas, Easter, etc.), in which case a higher rate is charged for that day.
Q. What is live-in care and do you provide it?
A. A live-in situation can be a good option for clients who need the security of having someone with their loved one at all times. A live-in companion works directly with the client 8-10 hours per day, has free time to themselves in the evening (but remains in the residence), and sleeps at night, but is expected to get up and help with bathroom needs up to twice during the night. Typically, the live-in rate is less than the cost of hourly around-the-clock care. Live-in care can be a viable alternative for families that need someone around continuously, but do not need around-the-clock care. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care does not offer live-in care at this time, but we would be happy to refer you to other companies that provide this service.
Q. A friend of mine said it might be cheaper to hire someone through an ad in the newspaper. Should I do this?
A. Outwardly, it is often cheaper to hire an independent caregiver from an ad or even from an employment agency, but ultimately it could be the most expensive decision you have ever made. While there are many good, independent caregivers, there are also risks involved. First of all, this person will probably not be bonded should any of your valuables turn up missing. They will also likely not be insured for liability within your home so if the caregiver is injured while in your employ, you would be liable for medical care and any disability.
Furthermore, if the person is not reporting their income, you may be held liable for payroll taxes by the government. As well, you could be liable for unemployment benefits should you ever discontinue your relationship with that caregiver.
In addition to all this, you would have the responsibility of finding a replacement if the caregiver gets sick or otherwise cannot be there for you.
And finally, there is no guarantee that they are properly trained to provide professional, trustworthy service to you or your loved one. At Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care, caregivers receive six hours of initial training and regular ongoing training as part of their employment with us.
Q. Are your caregivers experienced?
A. Absolutely! They are all experienced and receive additional training upon being hired. We have excellent caregivers and Certified Companion Aides who truly have a passion for providing care and they are OUR employees, thoroughly interviewed, screened and background/referenced checked (county, state, and national), trained and oriented, bonded and insured. Many of our caregivers are Certified Nursing Assistants as well. In addition, we look for caregivers who have had the life experiences of raising their own children as well as caring for their parents or grandparents at some point in the past. We feel that these experiences are invaluable and one of our guiding philosophies is that we do not hire anyone who we wouldn’t have felt comfortable placing with our own parents.
Q. Do your caregivers get additional and specialized training?
A. All of our caregivers receive continuous mandatory training using a comprehensive, nationally recognized, on-line training program specifically tailored for in-home caregivers. The topics covered range from basic skills to infection prevention and control, to bathing, personal grooming, as well as the body mechanics of lifting. We also have certificate training available for all caregivers doing hospice service and specialized training in dementia care. We augment the on-line training with on-site, hands-on training for many specialized skills.
Q. May I meet my caregiver before our first day together?
A. Yes. If time allows, Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care is happy to arrange an introduction by our Client Care Manager for you and your caregiver to meet prior to beginning services.
Q. Will I always have the same caregiver?
A. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care makes every effort to send the caregiver with whom you are familiar. If your regular caregiver is unable to work a scheduled shift due to illness or some other emergency, we will provide a suitable substitute. Naturally, we will keep you informed of any changes.
Our goal is to establish a long-term match between client and caregiver, and to keep the same caregiver with a client as long as the client is satisfied. This is based upon our experience that developing a strong rapport and trust with your caregiver is a vital component to a successful home care experience. In short, we want to avoid a “revolving door” of caregivers. However, for very practical reasons, this is dependent on the level and frequency of service. We always want to have at least one back-up caregiver that you know. In the case of 24-hour care, there may be as many as four or five caregivers needed to cover daily and weekend shifts. For your protection, our caregivers must be fresh, rested, and healthy.
Q. Why should I choose your service over another in my area?
A. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care has achieved an excellent reputation as a top-quality caregiver service, and since 2015 we have received the distinguished Best of Home Care Leader in Excellence Award. Our growth has been due primarily to word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients and their families. We remain in close contact with our clients, families and caregivers to ensure your satisfaction with all aspects of your care. We are celebrating our 7th year of serving the community and are proud to be known as a responsive, compassionate and flexible home care provider. We take pride in having the finest, best trained, and most responsible caregivers in the industry.
Q. What areas do you serve?
A. We serve Frederick County, Maryland, as well as parts of northern Montgomery County, western Carroll County, and eastern Washington County.
Q. Are you a local or a national company?
A. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care is locally owned and operated. Our founder and owner, Angela Martin, has had extensive experience in senior issues and needs and is passionate about maintaining the safety, dignity, and independence of seniors.
Q. May I receive your services in other settings besides my home?
A. Yes. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care provides can provide services in nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities and other settings.
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Q. Is Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care a Registry/Referral Service?
A. No. All caregivers are employees of Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care
Q. Will Medicare or my private insurance reimburse for your services?
A. No. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care is a private-pay caregiver service. Medicare, Medicaid or other health insurance plans do not cover in-home care, since our duties are non-medical.
Q. Will my Long Term Care Insurance cover your services?
A. In most cases, Long Term Care Insurance does reimburse for our services. We will be happy to work with you to determine the eligibility requirements of your particular insurance company.
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Q. Will someone from your company come to my home to conduct an initial assessment?
A. Yes. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care conducts an initial needs consultation in order to get to know you and see how you like things done in your home. Information regarding your health issues, the services you require, and your emergency contacts will be obtained at this time. We refer to this initial visit as a consultation because we are interested in providing you as many of the alternative options as possible so you can choose what is best for you or your loved one.
Q. Do I need to sign a contract?
A. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care has a service agreement that must be signed prior to beginning services. This agreement can be terminated, for any reason, with two weeks’ notice; however, this requirement will be waived in the event of an emergency, if the client’s needs change, or if we are unable to meet the client’s needs.
Q. Can I change my services and/or my schedule after I sign the service agreement?
A. Yes. Simply call our office with any changes you would like to make. Our philosophy is to make the schedule work for the family. You come first — your needs, your requests, your schedule. We will do everything possible to make sure the schedule you want is the schedule you get. In addition, we will make periodic reassessments to determine if the level of care should be increased, reduced, or stay the same. We will then discuss our recommendations with the client and the family to determine the best course of action.
Q. Will I be able to reach a supervisor at any time?
A. Yes. Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care provides access to an on-call supervisor 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
Q. How does your scheduling work?
A. You choose the hours you need. We provide as little as two hours per week or up to 24/7 live-in coverage.
Q. How is billing handled and what payment options are available?
A. Invoices are mailed bi-weekly to the client or client representative. Clients may pay by check or on-line bill pay. We also can set up direct debit from a bank account, and we accept all major credit cards.
Q. Can your caregivers provide transportation?
A. Yes. Our caregivers can drive to doctors’ appointments, senior centers, or any other place. If driving your vehicle, there is no extra charge to your hourly or daily rate. If the caregiver is required to drive his or her own vehicle, you are billed a standard per-mileage rate.