Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between a PCA and a CNA?

A Personal Care Assistant (PCA) is someone who has passed a Senior Independence written competency examination and has received a formal skills assessment completed by a Registered Nurse with a client. The scope of practice for a PCA permits for this employee to provide assistance with activities of daily living, such as, bathing, dressing, transportation, household chores and companionship.

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a healthcare para-professional who has completed a Department of Education approved curriculum that contains at least 96-hours of classroom and clinical experience. The CNA has more universal training and experience for a variety of healthcare settings.

2. What is the difference between Home Care and Home Health?

Home Care services do not require a physician order to initiate. A Registered Nurse (RN) will create a care plan that can be completed by a personal care assistant (PCA). Home care plans are normally for assisting with non-medical needs for clients in their own homes. Examples include, but are not limited to: help with bathing, dressing, transportation, cooking and other household chores.

Home Health services require a physician order to be initiated and are usually limited to one episode of service (maximum of 60 days). Typically, a physician would recommend this level of care following a hospitalization or some change in conditions. The assigned healthcare professional in a home health setting may include a Registered Nurse (RN), Home Health Aide (HHA), Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), Occupational Therapist (OT-R), or a Physical Therapist (PT).

Both home care and home health care agencies are required to be licensed by the Department of Health of Pennsylvania. Regulations are created for each type of licensure and agencies are subject to random surveys to ensure compliance. Senior Independence is currently a licensed home care agency since April of 2011 and is an approved home health agency as of February 2012.

3. Which insurance covers Home Care?  Home Health?

Home Care and Home Health services can be covered under different types of insurance. Each insurance program maintains different qualifications for coverage. Typically, home care services require the insured member to have memory impairment or care needs in at least two areas of personal assistance. Senior Independence staff is available to assist you regarding your coverage.

Long-term care insurance policies may include the option to cover home care and home health services. Typically, the long-term care insurance program requires the participant to privately fund the care for a specific length of time, called an “elimination period.” Long-term care insurances will usually provide payment directly to the insured member to reimburse the costs incurred.

Home health services are covered more frequently under hospitalization plans, such as Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, and private insurances. For questions regarding coverage, we encourage you to contact your insurance provider.

4. What is a wellness clinic?  Is there a charge to visit the clinic?

Senior Independence provides a complimentary wellness clinic at the Redstone Highlands Colonial Estates in North Huntingdon (772 Frontier Drive) during the first Thursday of each month. The clinic offers an opportunity to meet with a Registered Nurse (RN) to have nursing services provided, such as blood pressure checks, injections, monitoring of a wound and other medical services. Information about health and disease management is also available.

Currently there is no change for these services at the wellness clinic; however, time with the nurse is limited for each person. Individuals are seen by appointment only and clinic hours are limited. You are encouraged to schedule an appointment in advance by calling our contact number.

5. What are the normal business hours?

Office hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The contact phone number is (724) 864-7388. If you are a current client of Senior Independence, you utilize the emergency response system for an after-hours response.

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