Frequently Asked Questions

What is home health care?

Home health care is an excellent, cost-effective alternative to hospital or other institutional care. Service is based on the individual’s need as defined by his or her physician’s plan of care and consists of home visits from skilled nurses, therapists, social workers and/or home health aides.

Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston is proud to offer the following services:

  • Skilled nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Home health aides
  • Medical social services

What are the advantages of home health care?

In many cases, home health care permits a person to be discharged earlier from a hospital, reduces hospital admissions, and assists with a more rapid recovery. Most importantly, people are happier at home and receive more care and attention from family, friends and home health care professionals.

Who uses home health care?

People of all ages use home health care services. Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston specializes in the care of older adults. Some examples include:

  • Those who are able to be discharged from a hospital or nursing home who need additional care
  • Those who have short-term health needs
  • Those who need education about the disease process and training on how to best care for themselves

What types of home care agencies are there?

There are two main types of home health care agencies – certified agencies and private duty (or noncertified) agencies.

Certified Agencies – Certified home health care agencies comply with state and Medicare regulations. An individual’s Medicare benefit defines the conditions that qualify for service. The need for service typically arises after hospitalization or a significant change in medical condition. Care is prescribed by a physician and is generally restricted to skilled services that may include nursing; physical, occupational or speech/language therapy; medical social work; and/or home health aides to assist with personal care needs. While a physician must prescribe care, the patient has the right to select the provider of his/her choice.


What types of professionals comprise the home health care team?

The Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston care team consists of physicians, nurses, home health aides, medical social workers and therapists who coordinate care based on an individual’s needs.

Who pays for home health care services?

Medicare will cover 100% of physician-prescribed home health services. Private insurance may also cover the cost of home health care services. Some insurance policies will not cover all home health care services unless certain conditions are met. You can still obtain care without insurance coverage through a private duty agency on a private-pay basis.

How do services begin?

A physician, patient or family member can initiate service. However, Medicare and most insurance policies require physician oversight. Once the physician prescribes home health care, he/she authorizes a coordinated treatment plan, commonly called a plan of care, and periodically reviews services and the patient’s progress.

How do I choose the right agency for my loved one’s needs?

Information regarding home health care services can be obtained from many sources. Medicare Home Health Compare is an excellent reference and can be contacted at 1-800-Medicare. Other resources include hospital discharge departments, your physician, or public health departments.

What questions should I ask a prospective home health care agency?

Does the agency have information explaining its services, fees, and eligibility requirements?

Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston has information describing its programs and services. Call 253-240-4601 to receive brochures on our Medicare-certified home health or private duty home care.

How does the provider select and train its employees?

Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston’s visiting staff are all bonded and insured. All Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston clinicians are licensed by the state of Washington. All care is provided directly by licensed professional staff, and not delegated to unlicensed assistants. Employees are screened with background checks. In addition, they receive regular company-provided training and competency evaluations.

Are nurses or therapists required to evaluate the patient’s home health needs? If so, what does this involve?

A patient’s first visit consists of a thorough assessment of physical, mental, emotional, cultural, and social needs. From this assessment, an individualized plan of care is developed with input from the family and authorization from the patient’s physician.

Will the provider communicate with the patient’s physicians and family members?

Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston always welcomes family involvement in a patient’s care. Medicare guidelines require physician involvement. Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston always involves the physician and the family in the plan of care.

Is the patient’s course of treatment documented, detailing specific tasks to be accomplished by each professional caregiver?

Yes. A patient’s course of treatment and progress is documented at each Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston home visit.

Will the provider take time to teach family members about the care given to the patient?

Yes. Education is an important part of Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston’s patient care plan and family members are an integral part of the care team.

Who can the patient and his or her family members contact with questions or complaints?

Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston patients and family members can call 253-240-4601.

How does the agency follow up on and resolve problems?

Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston follows a structured process to follow up and resolve problems per information listed in the patient handbook.

Is home health care covered while I am participating in outpatient therapy services?

Under Medicare guidelines, home health services are provided only to those patients who are homebound, and only receiving services through one provider.

What are the geographical areas that are covered by Careage Home Health?

Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston is licensed to provide Medicare services for patients residing in King County. For patients receiving services covered by private insurances outside of King County, Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston will determine coverage based upon availability of clinicians.

Can Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston provide services to me inside of a retirement community, skilled nursing facility, assisted living facility, or adult family home?

Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston can provide services in your home, whether it is in a retirement community, assisted living facility, or adult family home.  However, Careage Home Health Pierce/Thurston cannot provide service inside of a skilled nursing facility.