Tips for Finding The Right Home Health Aide Agency in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Home Health Aide Laws

Home health agencies provide a full range of health and supportive services in the comfort of your home. Services may include skilled nursing; housekeeping; social services, physical, occupational and speech therapy; emergency response and nutrition counseling. Home health aides also provide personal assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and getting in and out of bed.

The following information is provided by the Division of Health Care Quality within the Department of Public Health, which governs Home Health Aides in Massachusetts.

Home Health Aide Training in Massachusetts

Home Health Aide Training consists of 75 hours, including a practicum of 16 hours, covering subjects specified in Health Care Financing Administration’s Conditions of Participation for Home Health Agencies, 42 CFR Part 484. In addition, all HHA’s must receive in-service training, 12 hours per calendar year. If the patient is receiving skilled services – every 2 weeks by the appropriate clinician; if the patient is receiving unskilled services – every 62 days. (Source: Health Care Financing Administration’s Conditions of Participation for Home Health Agencies, 42 CFR Part 484.)

Tips for Finding The Right Home Health Aide Agency

Before hiring a home health aide, you should conduct an interview with questions that meet both the needs of your loved ones, and state mandated laws. For example,

  • Is the agency you work for certified with Medicare or Medicaid?
  • Does your agency offer skilled nursing care in addition to home health aide skills?
  • Can the agency provide me with recommendations from a doctor or previous patient?
  • What languages is the staff skilled in?
  • Are background checks completed on the entire agency staff?
  • How much training and experience does your staff have? What is the least amount of training your staff is given ?
  • How many caregivers will be assigned to my loved one?
  • Do the home health aides have any specialized training, such as Alzheimer’s care?
  • Do they have training with a particular type of assistive technology, such as a hoyer lift?
  • How long have they been working in the home care field?
  • What services are provided?
  • How does the agency develop the elder’s care plan and supervise the caregiver?
  • Does a medical professional or experienced supervisor evaluate and supervise the caregiver in the elder’s home and get input from the elder?
  • How much control and personal independence does an agency provide to its clients?
  • How does the agency assure continuity of care?
  • What special or support services are provided? For instance, does the agency provide a 24-hour phone line?
  • How can the agency be paid?
  • How much will the caregiver be paid? Does the caregiver earn enough to be dependable?

*These evaluation guidelines were adapted from the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts’ “How to Choose a Home Care Agency” guide.   

When searching for a HHA in MA, use this list as a resource: Medicare certified home health agencies in Massachusetts, including the agency name, phone number and website where applicable. You should also read the Overview of Accessing the Nurse Aide Registry to learn how to access the registry and find a qualified HHA in your area.

When evaluating the cost of a HHA, reference The 2010 MetLife Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs which shows the average cost of HHA in Massachusetts:


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services provides a criminal offender record information form on behalf of people seeking Home Health Aides. This form allows you to complete an independent background check on the home health aide you are screening.

Sources

Photo Credit by Gabriel Rocha (a.k.a. BRIEL)