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Health and Care

Guide to Searching for and Selecting a Home Health Aide

January 30, 1998 [Updated March 31, 2009]

The following is a Guide on Selecting a Home Health Aide. A caregiver of a person with disabilities in the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin area recently tried to find a home health aide for their loved one and found it to be a complex and frustrating project. As there are many people and caregivers facing this problem, we are including this guide in the hope it will benefit our readers.

The purpose of this guide is to provide information for people with disabilities who are 18 to 59 years of age, and does not necessarily offer information for the elderly.

New Horizons Un-limited assumes no responsibility in guaranteeing the services, programs or conditions as described. If you are interested in a resource listed below call or contact the resource to verify the current situation. Evaluate information and make your own decisions when using the guide.

Acquiring a reliable home health aide can be a formidable task. Home care may be less expensive than nursing home care, however can one receive quality care at home from a private duty nurse or home aide, managed care provider or home health service?

One usually does not begin to look for something until one is at need. It is important however, to consider and investigate your options for any type of long term care before you need this type of care. Many wish they had started planning years in advance, or at the least, began to consider their options well in advance. Being informed may assist you in taking an active role in selecting your care and making decisions for yourself.

Have you considered all the options for long term care that may be available to you or better meet your needs? Is a Home Health Aide what you need, or would a group home, day care, assisted living, or nursing home be better for you?

Begin by assessing your situation:

Identify your needs:

Once you have determined that home health care will meet your needs:

Determine what level of caregiver you require:

Identify your resources:

Identify your resources and begin to gather information from these resources.

Contact friends, neighbors, family:

Consult your doctor and/or the hospital from which you will be or you have been released:

Insurance or financial assistance:

Do you need to seek insurance coverage or government financial assistance for a home health aide?

State and County health programs:

If you are over 18 and under 59 you may qualify for coverage through government financial assistance programs. Contact your state and county health departments for these programs. Ask if any of the information is on the internet. Details of the programs may be available through your local library.

Area agencies on aging:

Though these agencies will not be specifically geared toward the services of people who are not elderly, but those who have disabilities, they may have information or guides that can be helpful or may be able to address the concerns of people with disabilities depending on the governmental agencies in your state. If you are elderly, then you should contact these agencies.

Non-profit organizations:

Contact disability organizations, or other non-profit organizations, churches etc. that offer home health service. If you require state or county financial assistance you may still be required to go through the state or county health service department. If you intend to pay privately, you may find this service more understanding of disability concerns, more caring, or less expensive.

Volunteer Organizations:

Contact area churches, community centers, volunteer services, disability organizations, schools and universities for volunteer programs. You may be able to acquire some limited, short-term care for yourself or respite for your caregiver.

Private Resources:

If you do not wish to go through a service, or you have been unable to acquire a home health aide through any other program and have the financial means to private pay even though it may be on a limited basis, you may want to hire a nurse, nurse assist. nurse student, homemaker companion, personal care worker on your own.

Consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of searching and selecting an aide on your own, as opposed to going through a service or program:

Home Health Service

Whether you are recommended a home health service, through the doctor, hospital, state or county health department program, or other program or you must seek a home health service, on your own:

Be sure to consult your resources of family, friends etc. to assist you in evaluating the service and making a decision for yourself Asking the right questions of the home health service, will get the answers you need. The home health service will ask you: Advantages of going through a service, if they are able to do the following well: Disadvantages of going through a service Home Care Service

If you do not require nurse skilled care, another option may be a home care or personal care service:


“How to Choose Home Health Care That’s Right for You,” The Source Volume 11. No. 9 Wisconsin, Northern Illinois Edition - September 1997, via: the Mayo Clinic Health Letter via The Hopeline, newsletter of ALS of SE Wisconsin Aug/Sep 1997

Milwaukee County Department of Human Services, Disability Services Division Internet links:

If you have questions or ideas, information and solutions that you would like to share with us, contact us by e-mail at: horizons@new-horizons.org or to use our NHU E-Mail Form or NHU Community Forum, click the links below.

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[Updated March 31, 2009]
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