When looking to arrange in-home care for yourself or a loved one, it is important to be aware of the different categories of caregivers and the level of care and services each type of caregiver is qualified to provide. Providers of in-home care include home health care agencies, private care agencies, private duty nursing services and private duty home care agencies.
- Home health care agencies employ staff to meet both the medical and non-medical needs of clients. They are licensed and regulated by the Arkansas Department of Health.
- Private care agencies provide only non-medical aspects of in-home care. They are licensed and regulated by the Arkansas Department of Health.
- Private duty nursing is one-on-one care provided to a patient by a licensed RN or LPN. Care can be provided in a patient’s home, in a nursing home or in an assisted living facility. Both medical and non-medical care can be provided.
- Private duty home care, offered by agencies or individuals, provides companion care, non-medical services or nursing services in the client’s home. The services may be reimbursed by insurance, but generally are private pay.
A private duty nurse may be self-employed or may work for a home health care agency or some other entity. If the nurse is self-employed and privately paid, there are no State regulatory requirements protecting the patient like there are for home health care and private care agencies, so extra care should be taken when hiring a private duty nurse. Unless required by the patient’s insurance provider, hiring a private duty nurse does not require a physician’s order. Also, there are no specific State regulations for private duty home care providers, so care should be taken when enlisting their services.
Tips to consider when choosing an in-home caregiver
- Contact the Better Business Bureau, the Arkansas Board of Nursing or the Certified Nursing Assistant Registry to inquire about a provider you are considering hiring.
- Closely review contracts with providers. Know what services will be provided, how often they will occur and how they will be paid for. You may wish to have an attorney review the contract as well.
- Be suspicious of any home health worker who will not allow you to conduct a background search.
For listings of potential personal care givers and more tips when choosing one, visit the Arkansas Direct Service Workers Registry. For the complete rules and regulations of home health care agencies and private care agencies, contact the Department of Health at (501) 661-2000 or (800) 462-0599 or visit HealthyArkansas.com.