About the Washington Home Care Association (WAHCA) and Home Care For Your Family
WAHCA members are Washington State Licensed home care or home health agencies that provide caregivers (home care aides) who perform companion care, personal care, and homemaker services. Although the majority of WAHCA agency clients are older adults, WAHCA agencies also care for those who need in-home help due to issues concerning illness or disability. WAHCA member agencies may also provide private nursing care or nurse delegation services. In addition to such tasks as errands, shopping and transportation, housekeeping and meal preparation, caregivers from WAHCA member agencies usually assist with ambulation, transfers, medication management, toileting, bathing, grooming, and dressing. Most agencies also provide specialized Alzheimer's/dementia care, and can assist with end-of-life comfort care if the client is working with a Medicare certified hospice agency.
Check with individual agencies to find out the specific services they offer.
Most WAHCA member agencies do not provide “skilled” medical care, and are not Medicare certified. The most common methods for covering the cost of home care is through long-term care insurance, or out of pocket.
Members of Washington Home Care Association are licensed by the Washington State Department of Health, employ trained and supervised caregivers, and assume all responsibility for payroll and all related taxes.
In addition, WAHCA member agencies:
- Screen potential caregivers and perform reference and background checks
- Only use caregivers who are employed by the agency directly – no independent contractors
- Must employ only caregivers who are certified, or have certification pending as Home Care Aides or Certified Nursing Assistants, and have at least 12 hours of continuing education per year
- Work with each family to match each client with an appropriate caregiver
- Develop an individualized Plan of Care with input and approval from the client and family
- Have 24/7 on-call availability
- Monitor and supervise services and make regular visits to the home
- Carry liability insurance to protect families and Labor and Industries insurance to protect caregivers
- Have Standards of Ethics guidelines they have agreed to
WAHCA has annual statewide and regional conferences to keep members informed about changes in regulations, laws, and best practices. WAHCA keeps in touch with regulatory agencies and the Washington State Legislature to advocate on behalf of Washington State home care clients.
I need to find home care for an aging family member. What are the differences between a WAHCA member Licensed Home Care or Home Health agency, and a caregiver from an employment agency, on-line registry, or another source such as CraigsList?
Home care choices can be difficult (and expensive) and we realize there are several options available to you. To help you, ask yourself some questions:
- Do I have the time and am I qualified to screen, interview, perform reference and background checks on a caregiver to work with a family member?
- Should a scheduling conflict occur, do I have qualified and reliable backup caregivers in place?
- Am I comfortable with a caregiver who is not certified, supervised, bonded and insured?
- Am I able to provide all the caregiver direction and supervision my family needs 24/7?
- Do I have the knowledge, resources, and time to handle payroll and required taxes for the caregiver?
If your answer to these or most of these questions is no, find a WAHCA member in your area.