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Not-So-Frequently Asked Questions About Home Care

Chances are, you are looking for home care for a loved one due to a sudden and urgent medical need, and you need to get help in place sooner rather than later.  Perhaps you have been given a list of names from a health care facility, or are browsing the internet to explore different home care companies to choose from.  But when making the decision for care, how do you know what questions to ask?  There are a few general questions that everyone should ask to be sure - if caregivers are employees rather than independent contractors, whether they have passed a criminal background check, and if replacement caregivers are available in an emergency - but these are industry standards and do not differentiate one home care company from another.

Here are a few "not-so-frequently asked questions" you should consider before deciding on a  home care provider:

Q: Why are there so many home care companies to choose from?

A: The "business" of Home Care today is seen as the next big opportunity.  Home care has very few barriers to entry and no regulation in California, and literally anyone can start a home care business and be up and running in no time.  Franchise companies and consultants sell manuals and forms, touting "no experience necessary" to those wishing to buy in.

Colonial Home Care has been established longer than any other privately owned and operated home care company based in Orange County.  To us, home care is not a "business opportunity," but rather an opportunity to provide a valuable community service to seniors in need. 

Q: I've been researching several companies, but they all seem the same.  How do I choose?

A: Many companies are basically the same, in that they operate as a temporary staffing agency.  They have a pool of caregivers and send them to work when needed.  Many companies in fact do that quite well, but what else will they do for you and your family?

Colonial Home Care is not a temporary staffing agency, we are a home care provider.  We have several unique programs and services in place - from our specialty training programs to our online communications tools - that help keep our clients safe at home, provide extra value, and give greater peace of mind to family members.

Q: The Social Worker at the hospital didn't want to give me a choice of home care providers, and recommended I use only a certain agency.  Why?

A: It is entirely possible that the Social Worker has had direct experience with this company, and is confident making referrals to them.  However, be wary that there may be other things that influence the Social Worker's decision when making a referral.  The marketing of non-medical home care services is not subject to the same kinds of anti-kickback laws that apply to Medicare services, and lavish "gifts" have been known to be given by some home care companies in exchange for referrals.

At Colonial, it is our merit and performance that earns referrals, not kickbacks.

Q: I talked to a home care company about their services, but I felt like they were really trying to "sell" me.  Why were they so pushy?

A: Many companies pay commissions to their intake staff for "leads" that turn into clients.  It's a sales game.

With Colonial Home Care you are not a "lead," but someone who needs help and guidance through a difficult situation with a loved one.  It is our job to provide you with the information and options to meet your home care needs.

Q:  One caregiver is the same as the next, right?  So why shouldn't I just go with the cheapest one?

A: Home care is not something where it is necessarily prudent to shop on price alone.  There are many variables not only in the caliber and skills of an individual caregiver, but in the level of support and service you will receive from the company as well.  Please look here for a more in-depth discussion about price.

Q: If a company is licensed and bonded, yet still significantly less expensive than others I've called, why shouldn't I go with them?

A: This can be deceiving, as non-medical home care services are not regulated in California.  The license they claim to have is a business license; every company has one.  Bonded means they have an insurance policy to cover caregiver theft; most every company has that as well.  It is usually companies that use independent contractors who tout the "licensed and bonded" line to instill a false sense of security while distracting form the fact that their clients can be left vulnerable to other liabilities, including worker's compensation and payroll taxes.  Please look here for a more in-depth discussion about this.

And Here Are A Few Other Things To Look Out For:

  • Be wary of fake or forged testimonials. These are easy to make up on a web site or even on review sites like Yelp. Be sure  there is a way to tell that they are genuine.
  • Watch out for companies who hire caregivers from Craigslist.  Look for yourself and you will see several companies recruiting there, often for specific jobs after they have secured a client.  Even with background checks and employment verification, Craigslist is a very questionable place to recruit caregivers.
  • Some companies have pre-payment terms or non-refundable deposits.  You may never know when things need to change, and you don't want to get stuck in a situation where you pay for services you never receive.
  • Some companies are very large and heavily departmentalized.  There may be different teams of individuals doing different things for you - one for intake, one for scheduling, another for accounting, another for supervision, etc.  Too many people to work with often leads to a less personal service.
  • Watch out for companies that you cannot determine who the people are behind the company or where their physical location is.  There may be a reason they don't want you to know, whether it's a one-man-show with a cell phone or even a call center owned by an investment group.

All in all, do your due diligence, learn as much as you can about a company, and most of all make sure you feel comfortable with the provider you choose.


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326 W. Katella Ave., Suite F
Orange, CA 92867
(714) 289-7220


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Mission Viejo, CA 92691
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