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Here you'll find answers to the questions most commonly asked by our constituents. Simply click on one of the links below. If you can’t find an answer to the question you have contact us.
Tell me about Argentium Care
What does Argentium Home Care provide?
Argentium Care provides non-medical and non-financial home care services to help adults remain in their homes.
Services are delivered by employees of Argentium Care. On average, Argentium Home Care aides receive twice the training required by state licensure. Many have received specialized training to better help clients with Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, Alzheimer’s and other dementias. We’re proud of our high caregiver retention rate.
Such employees are most commonly referred to as Professional Caregivers or Home Care Aides. Visit Programs for more details on how Argentium Home Care Services can help you.
Why is Argentium Care a nonprofit? Does that mean your services are free?
Established in 1975, Argentium Care is a community-supported agency dedicated to helping adults maintain a desired level of independence in the communities where they live. We offer a variety of services at affordable rates to help them continue to do so.
Nonprofit does not mean without expenses, unfortunately. Argentium Care is committed to offering the highest quality service at a reasonable rate.
What can I expect from Argentium Care, a home services agency licensed by the IDPH?
Argentium Care is licensed as a Home Services Agency through the Illinois Department of Public Health Home Health’s, Home Services, Home Nursing and Placement Agency licensure. Only an agency can be licensed, not individuals. Though many of our Home Care aides have training as Certified Nursing Assistants, we are a nonmedical agency and do not monitor these licenses. Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website to understand what you can expect from an licensed agency.
About Home Services Agencies
They are the employer of the home care aide. The agency supervises, pays, and takes responsibility for the worker. It handles Social Security and Medicare withholdings. Most have bonded employees, but you should ask specifically if the aides are bonded.
Agencies develop a job description with you, and are required to do in-person supervision every 90 days.
Tips for Interviewing Home Care Service Agencies
Ask about worker consistency and experience. Different agencies have different philosophies, experience requirements, training requirements, and may send different aides for different days of the week.
Ask how much the home care aide earns. Is this a living wage in your area?
Home Services Agencies are private pay or covered by long term care insurance. All long term care insurance policies are different; see some questions to ask in the Long Term Care question.
What is your hourly rate vs. the state average rate?
Overall, home care prices vary widely by the type of agency, qualifications of the worker, and location of the agency, but generally home care costs are between $19 to $25 per hour to hire an agency and $10 to $15 per hour to hire someone independently to provide the care. Daily rates vary from $100 to $140 per day to hire someone independently to more than $250 per day to hire an agency to provide the service.
What community events and programs does Argentium Care offer?
Argentium Care sponsors and hosts a number of events and programs each year for the residents in our communities. You can stay informed about programs and events by subscribing to our e-newsletter and by checking our calendar of events.
How do I get started with Argentium Care?
Call us at 847-864-7274 to arrange for service.
Can I get emergency help?
How much notice do you need to find someone to help me?
As much as possible! We highly recommend interviewing potential Argentium Home Care aides.
However, we know that sometimes you do not have notice. If you need someone to help you immediately, we can typically send an aide. It may not be the same aide you hire permanently, but we do our best to be as consistent as possible.
My caregiver has an emergency/is sick. Can I call Argentium Care for short term care for a fill-in caregiver?
Absolutely! We are happy to help whenever we can.
We ask for as much notice as possible for planned absences so we can handle emergency absences as efficiently as possible and though we cannot guarantee a replacement, we have a very high rate of success with emergency replacements.
Call us at 847-864-7274.
What if I employ a home care aide independently, but they need time off?
Argentium Care is happy to help. Please let us know as soon as possible so we can place another aide with you for that period of time.
Can Argentium Care help with people in hospice?
Though we are not a nursing agency, we can often supplement the care provided through hospice. We have Home Care aides available to work whatever hours are needed by you and/or your family and friends—whether that is 24-hour care or care on a shorter basis to relieve the stress on the unpaid care providers.
What training and assistance do you offer?
What are Argentium Care’s Home Care aide requirements?
On average, Argentium Home Care aides receive twice the training required by state licensure. Many have received specialized training to better help clients with Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, Alzheimer’s and other dementias. We’re proud of our high caregiver retention rate.
How does Argentium Care perform background checks on the home care aides?
Argentium Care performs all background checks in compliance with the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Health Care Worker Background Check Act, which includes electronic fingerprinting and criminal records checks through the Illinois State Police.
What questions should I ask when choosing an aide?
When you begin looking for an aide, it's important to answer some basic questions about your needs.
Questions to ask
- Are you licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)?
- Do you serve my family member’s geographic area?
- How do you screen caregivers—do you do a background check?
- Will your agency provide the same caregiver on every visit?
- When your caregiver is unable to come (due to illness, etc.), will you provide a substitute?
- How much training do your caregivers receive? (Illinois requires 8 hours minimum.)
- Do your caregivers get special training in working with the elderly, and/or with individuals with Alzheimer’s or other chronic diseases/conditions?
- How much does your agency charge?
- When I am billed for service, do you take credit cards?
- Do you require a minimum number of hours of service?
- Is there someone at your agency I can talk to if we have any problems?
I am the primary caregiver of my family member/friend, but am not sure how to meet their needs. What should I do?
A lot of people are in your situation. Paid caregivers, whether agency employed or hired directly are only a percentage of people who are caring for people in their homes.
Argentium Care’s recommendations are
- Speak to the medical professionals who are providing care to your family member or friend. You may be able to get help and training from visiting nurses or a home health agency.
- Learn everything you can about the person’s condition or diagnosis. Go to the library. Speak with a medical condition organization like the American Cancer Society or the Les Turner ALS Foundation. These organizations often have a local presence that can help identify resources available and may have disease-specific information. Some even have volunteers that can help with respite care or transportation. They can almost certainly refer you to support groups in your area.
- Speak to your local Area Agency on Aging. These organizations have a number of resources to help people as they age—from case management to Medicaid-funded home care to bill paying to meals on wheels.
- Check out Caregiving Help websites. Websites like www.caregivinghelp.org; www.videocaregiving.org and www.caregiver.com can offer assistance and education.
- Hire someone to help out, even if it’s only occasionally. Your health as the caregiver is extremely important—you need to take care of yourself in order to care for your loved one. Get out, stay involved with your friends and hobbies, and get the support you need.
Are Argentium home care aides required to report abuse or neglect?
Yes. All home care aides, from Argentium Care or another agency, are mandated reporters. This means that if the worker suspects abuse or neglect, the worker is required to report it to the state so that a social worker/abuse investigator can help determine if there is abuse or neglect. Licensed agencies are also mandated reporters, including Argentium Care.
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is the abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of any Illinois community resident over the age of 60. The Illinois Department on Aging can help you learn more.
How do I report abuse or neglect?
The Illinois Department of Aging has a 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline: 1-866-800-1409. Reporting abuse is confidential; the hotline worker may ask for your contact information so the investigator can contact you if there are additional questions, but the suspected abuser/victim of abuse would not be informed of the reporter.
Choosing Home Care services
I need medical care, but want to stay at home. Where do I find a home nursing agency or home health agency?
Home nursing agencies, home nursing placement agencies, and home health agencies are licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Home Health, Home Services, Home Nursing and Placement Agency licensure. You can read more in this section or speak to your doctor’s office for a referral.
How do I prepare to have a home care aide in my home?
Having a home care aide is a new experience for many adults. Some basic preparation can help make it a smooth transition.
Preparing your home
- Consider if will you need additional insurance riders.
- If you’re considering a live-in aide, do you have a private area for that person to live? Does a room need to be cleaned out for him or her?
- Do you have valuable heirlooms or jewelry that should be moved to a safety deposit box?
- Speak to your tax preparer. Ask how you should prepare to hire someone—either through an agency or independently.
I don't understand the difference between hiring a caregiver independently, hiring through a placement agency, and hiring an agency to provide an agency-employed worker.
There are three ways to hire a home care aide
- Use a Home Services Agency
Also called a home care agency, these agencies are the most common. Agency employees provide the service to the older adult, and the agency is paid directly by the client. In Illinois, all home care agencies are required to be licensed as Home Services Agencies by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Use a Home Services Placement Agency
Placement agencies are agencies that match a home care aide and a client for private employment. Clients employ and supervise the aide directly. In Illinois, all placement agencies are required to be licensed as Home Services Placement Agencies by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Hire someone on your own
Please see What do I need to know about hiring someone independently? below for more information if you are considering this option.
If more medical care is needed, a Home Nursing or Home Health Agency may be more appropriate for your needs.
- Use a Home Services Agency
What do I need to know about Home Services Placement Agencies?
Home Services Placement Agencies are not the employer of the home care aide. You supervise, pay, and take responsibility for the aide.
Agencies may develop the initial job description with you, but you and the aide will discuss job description and wages as time goes on. This gives you more flexibility as your needs change.
Make sure the agency you work with interviews the aides prior to working with them (ask about their application process). The agency should demand experience and references; complete criminal background checks in compliance with the Health Care Workers Background Check Act; and can assure you the aides are authorized to work in the US and that you and the aide share a common language.
Home Services Placement Agencies may be “licensed and bonded,” but cannot bond their workers. If an agency claims to be “Licensed and Bonded,” ask it to specify 1) what license it has (should be IDPH Home Services Placement Agency or Home Nursing Placement Agency License) and 2) how it bonds its aides if they are not employees of the agency.
Some placement agencies will not accept requests for short hour jobs.
If you hire through a placement agency, speak to your homeowner's insurance agent regarding what policy changes need to be made before having an employee in your home.
What do I need to know about hiring someone independently?
- Hiring someone a friend or family member has recommended is often the way home care aides are hired. Many aides go years without working through an agency, just working via word or mouth referrals. What should you know to prepare to hire someone independently?
- You supervise, pay, and take responsibility for the aide.
- The job description is determined between you and the aide, as is the pay rate. Be sure to have a good sense of your needs prior to beginning the interview process-you want to be determining your needs, not listening to a list of what the aide will and will not do.
- Occasionally home service aides will carry independent liability insurance--but usually they do not. Speak to your homeowner's insurance agent to find out what coverage you need to have an employee in your home.
- Be read to discuses whether the aide will be an independent contractor or your employee. You need to know what paperwork will be required at tax time for both you and the aide.
- Decide if you are comfortable working with someone who is not background checked or screened, or who may not be authorized to work in this country. Only you and your loved ones can make this decision--no agency can determine your comfort with these issues.
- Get more reference, and speak to them. Just because your neighbor used one person doesn't mean he or she is right for you! Get a good sense of the aide's work history.
What are my responsibilities as an employer?
The Illinois Department of Employment Security provides up-to-date information on how to be an employer in the State of Illinois. Argentium Care also recommends speaking with your tax preparer about how to handle this issue as well as your homeowner’s insurance agent to ensure you have the appropriate riders needed to have an employee in your home.
I don’t have a lot of money to pay for home care. What help is available for me?
Sometimes, a long term care insurance policy covers in-home assistance. If you have a policy, speak to your insurance company about what your coverage includes. If you qualify for Medicaid, you may also qualify for the Community Care Providers Program (CCP). Though Argentium Care is not a provider of CCP, we have provided supplemental care in conjunction with CCP care in the past. Please contact AgeOptions or your local Area Agency on Aging to help determine for which assistance you may qualify.
Does Argentium Care work with long term care insurance providers?
Sometimes. Every long term care insurance policy is different. Good questions to ask of your insurance company are:
- Does my policy cover nonmedical home care?
- Does my policy require nursing supervision?
- How much service does my policy cover per day?
- Do you require billing directly from the agency or do you reimburse for services?
- Do I have a co-pay?
- What documentation do you require from the agency?
- Do you reimburse me for hiring someone independently or do you require an agency employee?
Do I have to pay for the initial assessment and 90-day supervisory visits?
No. In fact, the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Home Health, Home Services, Home Nursing and Placement Agency licensure states “Supervision does not constitute time or an activity that can be billed as a service to the client/consumer.” No agency should charge you for your initial assessment and 90-day supervisory visits.
My parents live in the Chicago area, but I do not. What is the right option for me?
Often people in this circumstance are more comfortable hiring an agency that employs home care aides to monitor care. This option makes billing slightly easier as well—you only have to pay the agency and can pay by credit card for the entire amount of care.
Do I qualify for senior benefits or services?
It depends. For example, you may qualify for case management services through your local Area Agency on Aging at age 60, but may not qualify for Medicare coverage until age 65. Availability of specific resources can vary on the source of the benefit, your income, your age, your assets, and location. There are local resources that may be able to help, or contact your Area Agency on Aging.
Are there other services available to me?
There are many Chicago area resources that may be of assistance. There can be different qualifiers, including age and income, for each one. Contact your Area Agency on Aging for assistance and directions on how to determine eligibility.
We also recommend speaking to your doctor’s office and pharmacy about what medical resources may be available to you. Your doctor’s office may have recommendations on home health services, therapy options, or even dietary changes that can help you live with any chronic conditions you may have more comfortably. Your pharmacist can be helpful by reviewing your medications for any negative side effects or complications of taking certain medications together. We recommend you have all of your prescriptions from one pharmacy to ensure there are no medications you are prescribed that should not be taken together.