Alternative Care is there in a time of need...

Our Services

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is home care?

The term “home care” can be confusing because there are different types of care available in your home.  State licensed agencies provide services such as RN and LVN visits, physical, occupational and speech therapy home visits.  These services must be ordered by your physician and are often paid by Medicare or other insurance.

The State of California does not have a licensure process for home-care companies who provide assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s) in the home. Those activities may include bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication assistance, light housekeeping, linen changes, laundry, transportation, etc.  These caregivers are often the extra hands and feet that are needed to allow a person to remain in his or her own home.  There are some long-term care policies that do pay for this care if it is ordered by your physician.  Normally there is an elimination period which must be met. 

^ Back to Top

How will I know it is time to provide a personal caregiver for my loved one?

When you observe your loved one struggling to maintain independence, that is the time to evaluate the need for a personal caregiver.  At first, a person often feels guilty for asking someone to provide the extra hands and feet that are needed.  This is a normal feeling.  However, one should never feel guilty when asking for help.  Too often the family caregiver will experience physical or mental exhaustion when caring for a love one every day.  That is the time for you to call upon Alternative Care to give you a hand, to relieve you of some of the daily responsibilities in caring for your loved one.  When you need us, we’ll be there!

^ Back to Top

Why should I choose Alternative Care?

We start by attracting and hiring the best, most experienced caregivers in the area.  We screen them as outlined above—application, written references (verified), skills test, drug/alcohol screening, background checks, physical as well as a functional capacity test to make certain they can properly assist the client’s needs such as lifting a wheel chair, etc.

Upon receiving a request from a client for staffing, we review the client’s physical needs and personality to match to the caregiver.  When possible, we like to introduce the client to the caregiver prior to the start of care.  After the caregiver has assisted the client the first time, a Care Coordinator will call to make certain the client was pleased with the caregiver, if our caregiver was able to meet their needs, etc.  We also follow up to make certain the caregiver was comfortable with the client.  If the match is right, the caregiver remains with the client as long as needed.  Care Managers follow up with the clients on a regular basis to assure continued satisfaction

Caregivers keep Progress Notes while on duty which lists what they did for the client, any unusual occurrences, and any other notes unique to that day with the client.  These notes are turned into the office and remain in the client’s confidential file.

Specific areas of training for caregivers are provided throughout the year: classes on dementia care, hospice care, nutrition and menu planning, the aging process, etc.  We maintain an extensive library of educational videos, books, etc.

^ Back to Top

How long has Alternative Care been in business? Are your caregivers carefully screened?

Alternative Care has been providing Bakersfield home care for seniors since 1990.  We are locally owned and are not part of a large franchise.  The founder and owner is very much a hands-on person who oversees hiring employees and is involved in staffing clients.  Our Care Coordinators have been a part of our team most of the 20 years we have been in business.  We know our caregivers…we know our clients and we’re here to see to it that your care is staffed responsibly with integrity, sensitivity and professionalism.

When inviting someone into your home, you want to make certain that she is the type of person you would be comfortable with.  Our theory is that if we wouldn’t have a caregiver in our own homes, we wouldn’t send them into your home! 

We are very selective in our hiring process:  Each caregiver must complete an application, have written references, which we verify by phone, and pass a skills test.  They must have a car, a valid California driver’s license, car insurance and a DMV print-out.  All employees must have passed an alcohol and drug screen, a social security number verification and a criminal and sexual molestation background check.  The final test given to the potential employee before hiring is a physical and functional capacity lifting test.  In addition, they must possess a current First Aid and CPR card. All employees are bonded and insured.

^ Back to Top

Does Alternative Care pay the employee? How do we pay you?

Yes, the caregiver is an employee of Alternative Care and as such, we pay their wages, provide them with workers’ compensation insurance, take care of their payroll taxes, etc.  The caregiver completes a timecard that is signed by the client and the caregiver.  Each week the caregiver turns one copy into the office, and leaves a copy for you, the client.  With this information, the accounting department does the payroll and client invoicing.  The invoice includes the caregiver’s name, hours worked, hourly rate, total daily rate for each day and a weekly total. The client can match the invoice with the copy of the caregiver’s time card left with the client at the end of the week. Two copies of the invoice are mailed to the client along with a return-addressed envelope in which to send the payment to the office. 

^ Back to Top

What is the difference between hourly care and live-in, twenty-four hour care?

It is important to know there are no hidden fees for the services provided by Alternative Care.  The hourly billing rate is always a fixed rate no matter the time of the day or the day of the week.  The only exception is if the employee works on a holiday when that time is invoiced at time-and-a-half the hourly rate since our employees are paid holiday pay.  If you have requested four hours, you will initial and sign the employee’s time card showing the exact four-hours worked.  A copy is left with the client for matching to the invoice received after the caregiver’s service is complete.

Live-in care is when one caregiver stays in the client’s home for the entire 24-hour period.  This person must have a separate bedroom and a reasonable amount of uninterrupted sleep.  The Labor Laws of California require that if a live-in caregiver is up many times during the night to care for the client, the care must be paid at the hourly rate rather than the rated which was quoted for a 24-hour live-in.  This service is provided for as little as one day a week or as much as seven days a week.  This is billed at a flat daily rate.

^ Back to Top

How do I start services?

Please call the office at (661) 631-2036 and talk to one of the Care Coordinators.  This representative will meet with you and your loved one in their home to conduct a free no-obligation assessment.  This will also allow you to ask any specific questions you may have about Alternative Care, our policies and our services. This also allows us to know more about the services needed.  Then the process of matching the right caregiver to your needs begins.

Should you need to talk with an Alternative Care employee after hours, we are accessible by calling the same phone number.  Since we do not use an answering service, you will receive personalized and prompt response from the person on duty, no matter what time you call. 

^ Back to Top

Do you require a deposit before the start of service?

No, we do not ask for any type of deposit before starting service.  Alternative Care feels that you have shown your trust in us by selecting our company to come into your home to provide care.  We, likewise, trust that you will pay for the services rendered upon receipt of the invoice.

^ Back to Top

What if we need to change the schedule time for service?

You, the client, select the hours that you need the services of our caregivers….we will be there as requested.

Sometimes there is a need to make a change due to an illness, appointment, etc.--we’re flexible!
Of course if you know in advance that you need to change the schedule, just call the office to speak to a Care Coordinator with whom you can make the necessary changes.  Should an emergency occur, we do ask for a two-hour notice of cancellation when possible.  If, for some reason, we cannot reach the caregiver because she is on her way or not available by phone and she does not get the message of the cancellation, there will be a two-hour show-up time billed to the client.  If we can reach the caregiver to cancel her ahead of time, there will be no charge for that period of time.

^ Back to Top

What if we do not like the caregiver?

Matching the caregiver to you and your needs is one of the most important keys to a successful business.  If the caregiver is not right, you only need to call the office and we will make a change. 

^ Back to Top

Should someone be hospitalized, can you provide care in the hospital or any other place?

Absolutely we can!  We serve clients anywhere there is a need for care!  During hospital stays, our caregivers can provide companionship and care for as few as four hours and as many as 24-hours so that the family can be assured the client has assistance as needed. 

Many residents of retirement homes and assisted living facilities choose Alternative Care caregivers to provide additional personal, one-on-one attention needed.  A caregiver can even accompany a client on a trip to an out-of-town appointment, vacation, etc.   We’re there wherever you need us!

^ Back to Top

How do you supervise caregivers?

Before beginning care, we create a schedule and a plan that covers all aspects of the appropriate care and go over that plan with the caregiver.  A Care Manager at Alternative Care makes regular visits to ensure that all care is adequate, enabling changes to be made as needed.

^ Back to Top

What happens if my loved one doesn’t like the caregiver?

Finding the right match for your love one is one of the most important keys to great caregiving.  If you or your loved one is not happy with the caregiver, they will be replaced.  The matching process will continue until you and your loved one are comfortable with the caregiver and satisfied with our service.

^ Back to Top

Do you provide caregivers in places besides senior’s homes?

Yes, we can visit seniors anywhere they need care.  During  temporary hospital stays, our hospital sitters can provide 24 hours companionship and monitoring.  Many residents of retirement and assisted living facilities choose Alternative Care caregivers to provide the personal, one-on-one attention they deserve, allowing the client to remain as independent as desired.  You can even hire a caregiver to accompany your loved one on vacation, allowing for greater freedom and safety during an enjoyable trip.

^ Back to Top

What are the advantages to choosing home care over moving to an assisted living facility?

Everyone prefers the comfort of their own home.  At times, you may consider moving a loved one into a facility if the family providing the care determines the burden is too much, too unsafe, too difficult to manage.

That’s when caregiving at home can be an advantage, allowing your loved one to remain at home with support provided by caregivers specially trained for this purpose.  Home care allows families to focus on relationships instead of the work involved in being the caregiver.  When taking care of a loved one becomes “work”, our services can put the focus back on spending time together, enjoying each other.

Keeping your love one in their home environment is a comforting alternative to premature admission to a long-term care facility, helping them to enjoy their senior years with appropriate support in an environment they treasure.

^ Back to Top