It’s okay to have questions.
Below you’ll find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQ). If you have a question that is not listed below, feel free to contact us!
What happens if my loved one's needs change?
Allwel will work with you and your loved one to provide the level of care that is needed. Our RN will set up a new plan of care with your doctor and have him sign off on that plan. Once the new plan is setup, our scheduler will make necessary adjustments to provide more or less coverage and/or services for your loved one, as is needed.
Will my loved one lose their independence?
Quite the opposite. We work to increase independence. We want your loved one to do as much as possible for themselves. It helps to keep the mind and body healthy as long as possible. We work hard to find the balance between doing “just enough” or “as much as possible under our license.”
Why should we choose Allwel?
We believe the best time you’ll spend with your mom won’t be when you’re doing her laundry or sorting her medication. That’s why when you select Allwel, we’ll take over the heavy lifting so you can return to the relationship you want – not the relationship you need. We provide the most effective care designed by the most qualified people in order to be as close as you need without intruding into your personal space.
We screen, hire, and train our aides in order to ensure you feel safe and secure with the aide who is keeping your loved one safe. And honestly sometimes things don’t go as planned. As hard as we try, we can’t say that everything is always going to be perfect. But we respond quickly and effectively to any problem. We feel confident that we are the best agency when it comes to improving you and your loved one’s quality of life and independence by providing care when you can’t be there.
How do you select your employees?
Each person who applies with Allwel is screened prior to inviting them for an interview. If they pass the preliminary screening, we invite them for an interview with our HR Department. They do a great job choosing which applicants reflect our culture of care. If an aide is hired, we complete background and reference checks. Once cleared, we bring them in for additional training to orient them to our expectations and standards, policies, procedures, and ensure they know what it means to be an employee at Allwel.
How much does home care cost?
How much this will cost depends on your specific situation. Different people will have different needs and may need more or less care. It will also depend on the insurance program in which you are enrolled. Some insurances such as Medicaid will pay for all of the bills associated with long-term care. Others, such as private insurances, may pay for care for a measured period of time, then may introduce some costs once the insurance term runs out. Our case management team can assist you with determining which program is right for you and help you enroll. Private paying is also an option we can talk about if you feel that’s the right choice for you and your family. If private pay is the best solution for you, we will work with you to create a collaborative schedule where you can be a part of the process in order to keep costs as low as possible.
How long will it take to get help?
This is a complicated question to answer without having a personal conversation because everyone comes to us at a different point in the process. If you plan to private pay, depending on your location we can usually begin services within a week or two. Applying for Medicaid takes 30 to 45 days, and then we can assist with the application for the right program for you. There is a referral process involved with each program which can take about two weeks after you’re approved for Medicaid. Then we’ll design a service plan by taking into account everything you’ll need to return home or stay home safely. If you do not have a home, we can help with finding housing but that does add time to the date we can begin services. Ultimately, we will assist with coordinating all the assessments and applications you’ll need to get the care you want. Please contact us so we can give you more information based on your specific situation.
What programs do you offer?
We work with a variety of programs to prevent nursing home placement or to facilitate bringing someone home from a nursing home when appropriate. In many cases we provide care through a Medicaid waiver or a managed long-term care plan. These programs would be good for individuals who need service coordination in addition to personal care aides. The waivers also offer behavioral interventions, independent living skills training, and counseling. The managed long-term care plans would be for someone who is on Medicaid, but who would benefit from personal care aides or home health aides. For people who are on Medicaid and only require personal care assistance, we also contract with several managed long-term care insurance providers and can assist you with the process of selecting one once you’re approved for the program by an independent, unbiased initial eligibility nursing assessment.
Is it normal to feel the way I'm feeling?
Yes, it is normal to feel a little guilty. It is natural to want to provide the care yourself. Many factors can prevent that from being an option. Allwel helps to provide exceptional care so you can feel comfortable when you can’t be there.
Who needs home health care?
Anyone that needs some help at some point in their day with getting up, bathing, getting dressed, eating, taking medications, housekeeping, shopping, going to the bank and paying the bills, or simply getting to the park or visiting friends and family. Sometimes it’s more serious. Sometimes, it’s someone who is terminally ill and wants to be home with family. Sometimes it’s a family member who is providing the care and needs a break, or maybe more time to address the responsibilities in their lives–their job, their shopping, their kids, or their bills. No matter what category you fall into, we can find the right fit for care.
How often does a nurse come over?
The short answer, as often as needed. Our nurses are responsible for making sure your loved one is safe in the community. They are also responsible for making sure the Aides know what care is needed and how to make it happen. Our nurses review the Aides’ daily notes and will follow up if there is anything that indicates a possible change in health. If your loved one ever needed to go the hospital for something unexpected, the nurse will also come to the home when everything is back to normal to provide any new directions that may be needed.
Does the nurse work with my doctor?
Our nurses must work with your doctor. Your plan of care is reviewed and signed off by your doctor. Also, your doctor is informed of any necessary changes in that plan resulting from changes in your health or family supports. And it’s not just your doctor: our nurses will also work with insurance companies to advocate for any needed changes to your plan of care.
What are the aides' qualifications?
Our Aides are New York State certified Personal Care or Home Health Aides. They are on a New York State Aide registry. They are fingerprinted and background checked. They agree to random drug testing. Our agency trains our Aides in cognitive challenges associated with Traumatic Brain Injuries, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. The agency runs ongoing trainings from day one that include the challenges to seniors, selecting daily activities, identifying changes in health or illnesses, and ensuring safety at home and in the community. We want our Aides to always get better. It’s better for you, it’s better for us.
Can I select my Aide?
We work hard to hire the very best aides. Allwel looks for caregivers who demonstrate key qualities such as compassion and collaboration. We ensure that everyone we send into your home passes state certification standards for providing personal care including criminal background checks, and we orient each person to the policies and procedures for our agency. We also make sure every aide knows who we are as an organization, what our expectations are, and how to model our culture of compassionate, collaborative care.
While it’s not really possible to personally select your aide, we strive to match the most appropriate aides we have available with your particular situation. For example, if you prefer your aides to be only male or only female, we’ll certainly honor this request. Or if you have animals in your home, we’re not going to send someone who might be allergic or afraid because we know they’re an important part of your family. Our scheduling team knows a lot about our associates and they do a great job matching your characteristics with the characteristics of an aide who will be right for you. Our aides are people, too, so it might not always be perfect. An aide might get sick, or have a sick child, or maybe their car breaks down. But what we love about Allwel is our response to these problems – that’s where our philosophy of collaborative care comes in. We’ll work with you and our scheduling department to replace your aide with someone trained to step into any case. If we can’t find another aide, then our on-call schedule will come and work with you until an aide can arrive.
How do the Aides know what they're supposed to do?
For every new client, we design a plan of service based on the needs of the individual. We use a multidisciplinary approach to assess what level of care, who should be involved, and what tasks will need to be completed in order to maintain your safety and improve your quality of life. When we actually begin services, one of our Registered Nurses will complete a comprehensive nursing assessment and write a plan of care to ensure your needs are met appropriately. This plan is the actual list of duties the Aides need to complete, when they need to be accomplished, and how to go about doing them. Our nurses will introduce each Aide to you and your plan of care so that he or she is knowledgeable about the necessary task and make sure he or she is confident and prepared before beginning to work with you.
What happens if our Aide doesn't show up?
It shouldn’t happen often, but Aides are people too. They get sick, they have to take care of their children when they get sick. When these things happen, our schedulers will call another Aide to come. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 10 in the morning or 10 at night. They will be familiar with your plan of care, and jump right in. If no Aide is available in your area, our schedulers are certified Aides, too. They will come to work with you until another Aide is available, or your next scheduled Aide arrives.
What if I don't like our Aide?
Homecare works best when the personalities and interests of our Aides and our Participants are well-matched. We work very hard to make this happen. It’s good for the participant and good for the agency. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time and trial and error to make this match. A good partnership between the family being served and the agency really helps this process. Your patience and open-mindedness while we make our introductions to you is key; caregiving is a trait that comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Once we find that match, we make a permanent schedule that works for both you and the Aide and stick to it.
What if an Aide does something I disapprove of?
It happens. Sometimes an Aide can make a bad choice. We take this very seriously. We will investigate and work with you to fix the problem.
Can you provide any supports in addition to the Aides?
We have a number of team members available for any case. We support you in as much or as little as you need, and when you need it. We have case managers that take care of the “non-personal” care needs including the ensuring of entitlements that may be needed, such as HEAP for heat, or working with Social Security or Medicaid professionals should any issues come up. We have counselors with lots of experience working with participants and their families in managing the new challenges of being a person who needs care or being the person that now needs to provide the care. This is a new life for both parts of the care equation, and we can help everyone understand what is typically going on: what is natural to feel, what are everybody’s new roles or responsibilities, and simply what to expect from each other. These are some examples. We have many available supports.
What time of day does Allwel provide services?
Services can be provided 24 hours a day if needed. Scheduling is based on the needs of the person being cared for and Allwel will provide that service during the times convenient and least disruptive to the rest of the day’s activities.
How do I get on Medicaid?
There’s an application process for obtaining Medicaid benefits, and this can be done in a couple of ways. The way you apply affects your program eligibility, so we’ll have to discuss the programs prior to your application. We can assist with the process online, through the mail, or in person at the Department of Social Services. Medicaid is a means-tested program, which means that a person can only make so much to qualify for benefits. Some people qualify for benefits even if they exceed the means threshold; they’ll just have to pay the difference between the monthly income and the criteria for eligibility. This is called a “spend down” and it’s calculated by the Department of Social Services in your county. There are many variables that go into creating this figure such as income and assets, but there are options to shelter money for people with disabilities if that’s appropriate. There are also options for married couples to prevent spousal impoverishment.
What is a Medicaid Waiver?
A Medicaid Waiver is a state-run Medicaid program designed to provide the services necessary to prevent placement in an institutional setting, or if an individual is already placed, to help get that person home. There are two Waiver populations that we serve: the Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver, and the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Waiver. Both of these are home- and community-based, long-term care programs offering a variety of services to promote safety and independence. Both of these Waivers offer an aide service to provide oversight and supervision to individuals with cognitive deficits, as well as behavioral interventions, counseling for individuals having a tough time adjusting to a disability, and independent living skills training. The one service that everyone needs for both waivers is service coordination. Your service coordinator will be your personal expert on what services are available, which ones are appropriate, and what other services might benefit the waiver participant.