Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Care

Our Transition to BrightStar Care

What should I expect over the transition period?
Operations will continue as normal.


What are the benefits of this merger?
BrightStar Care is a national network of 325 agencies with a strong reputation for providing care at the highest standards of quality. BrightStar Care brings nurse-managed care, skilled nursing, and other higher levels of service. The extensive support network at Brightstar will provide our employees more opportunities for training and growth.


Does this change our current management staff structure?
Koleene Herlocker, Executive Director, will still be running the company day to day, and her entire management team will remain in their current positions and roles. We will be adding a Director of Nursing and skilled staff such as CNAs, LPNs and nurses.


How does this impact our caregivers?
Our training will have a stronger focus on personal care, clinical components and more opportunities for personal growth and improvement. Schedules and benefits will remain the same.


How will our services change?
In addition to companion care and personal care, we will also provide skilled care and medical staffing. As a BrightStar agency, we will have a Director of Nursing who oversees assessments, supervisory visits and quality. BrightStar agencies also pursue accreditation through Joint Commission.


Which name will we use, HomeChoice or BrightStar?
We will use both logos and brands together for several months. We will eventually use only the BrightStar logo and name.


General Questions

How long have you been in business?
HomeChoice® was started in 2006 to serve non-medical in-home care needs in our community.


Does Medicare pay for your services?
No, Medicare does not pay for non-medical services in your home. Our services are paid for privately or through long-term care insurance policies. We are also Medicaid, Elderly Waiver approved. Medicaid is a government funded program that is targeted towards seniors living in poverty. It will provide funding for some non-medical assistance in your home. Contact Aging Services for more information.


Are you licensed by the state?
The state of Iowa does not require or offer licensure or certification for non-medical in-home care providers. We do meet the recommended standards for the National Private Duty Association, and we are approved by Medicaid to provide Elderly Waiver, CDAC services. We also go above and beyond by having a state licensed RN on staff who oversees caregiver training and client care plans.


How do you select and train your caregivers?
Our caregivers go through many hours of initial training upon employment. Everyone must pass background and reference checks and all employees are insured and bonded. We provide training on a regular basis and offer certification programs for certain services such as Hospice Aides and Alzheimer’s care.


How involved is the family in their loved one’s care?
Families are an important part of anyone’s care. We keep you updated and involved as much as you like. We often supplement care provided by family and friends to help control costs and assist family caregivers maintain balance in their own lives. We can do as much or as little as you need. We are also responsive so we can adjust that assistance as your needs change.


How much do your services costs?
Our services are charged on an hourly basis. We offer discounts for services averaging 12 hours or more during the day. We charge one fee for our services and it will not vary depending on what services you need or if you or your loved one gets up during the night. You never get any surprises on a HomeChoice invoice. We promise to be upfront and honest from the beginning of our relationship with you. We also don’t put any “pressure” on our clients, their family or our caregivers by “up-charging” for new or additional services. For specific and current hourly rates, please contact our office.


Can most people afford your services?
YES! More than half of our clients spend less than $500 a month on services and the majority spend less than the average cost of a nursing home or care facility. Most people do not need 24 hours of care a day. We can work with you to design a care plan that meets your budget requirements. We often coordinate care with family members to make it affordable for you. For many of our clients, we come in during the day to help with the most challenging tasks and then they can stay safe and comfortable for part of their day on their own. We may come in again later in the day, or only on certain days of the week when family members aren’t available to help. Sometimes we come in the morning to assist with getting up and starting the day. We might help with bathing and dressing and then the client is able to stay alone for a certain amount of time. We might return at the end of the day to assist again, or come in during the middle of the day to help with meal prep or monitor medication intake. We really can and do personalize a plan of care for every individual! We also offer the VoiceCare system than helps ensure 24-hour emergency assistance.


Do you provide transportation services?
Absolutely. Many of our clients no longer drive and we assist them by escorting them to doctor appointments, the hair salon, out to visit a friend, or to attend a social event. Our caregivers can help ensure that you or your loved one is staying active socially, mentally, and physically.


Can you provide references?
We are happy to provide you with current and past client referrals that you may contact to discuss our services. We also recommend that you ask your health care professionals about any companies you are considering. We are highly recommended by local health care professionals and care facilities. Many agencies are not able to make specific referrals to one agency, but you may ask them their opinion about a specific organization. Please ask them about us! We have great working relationships with these professional organizations and frequently share common clients.


Will my mom have the same caregiver every day?
At HomeChoice we take a unique approach to our scheduling policies based on years of experience working with seniors facing the challenges of aging. We balance consistency with variety when it comes to matching our clients with the right caregivers. We know that as we age, we can become more and more isolated and this can affect our emotional health, which can then lead to physical challenges. We help avoid some of the dangers of becoming isolated by providing different caregivers with different personalities and backgrounds. We also know that change becomes more and more difficult as we age. In the home care industry, changes in personnel are a fact of life – no company can avoid them. Because our clients are accustomed to different caregivers, when one is ill, takes vacation, or leaves the company, it isn’t as upsetting. It also helps avoid unhealthy dependency on any one caregiver. Finally, variety allows us to ensure reliability. It helps us live up to our reliability guarantee that says we will always have someone there when we say we will. Our caregivers see our clients often enough to build the special relationships that make this business so fulfilling. But we keep our relationships professional, healthy, and safer for our clients and caregivers. We also encourage and welcome our clients’ feedback on their caregivers. We don’t need reasons if you’d like to request a different caregiver. We understand that different personalities can be a personal choice and we are happy to introduce new caregivers as needed based on your preference or interests.


Can I hire a caregiver privately?
You certainly can and some people do. It’s important to understand and evaluate the risks associated with privately hiring and managing your own caregivers. The client becomes the employer and is responsible for paying payroll taxes or providing the caregiver with a 1099 at the end of the year. The client is also responsible for any worker’s compensation insurance and general liability insurance that protects both the client and the caregiver in the event of an accident or emergency. See our article about the risks associated with hiring independent caregivers »