Frequent Questions

What is the cost?

Cost of Care for the Elderly Looks like this:

  • The national average daily rate for a private room nursing home is $206, or $75,190 annually.
  • The national average daily rate for a semi-private room in a nursing home is $183, or $66,795 annually.
  • The national average hourly rate for home health aides is $19. For only 5 hours of care 7 days per week, the monthly average cost is $2,660 per month, or $31,920 annually.
  • The national average hourly rate for homemakers/companions is $17. For only 5 hours of care 7 days per week, the monthly average cost is $2380 per month or $28,560 annually.
  • The national average rate for adult day care is $61/day. For 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, that cost would be $1221 per month or $14,640 annually.

Agencies and caregivers prefer caring for individuals who have predictable and well-communicated needs.

Rates are based on projecting needs of the patient. Fees assessed are also a direct reflection on:

  • The exact wage paid to the caregiver.
  • What benefits are given to the care staff, such as workers compensation and liability coverage.
  • The experience of the caregiver as well as ability to drive to do errands and escorting.

We have an activity fee based fee schedule consisting of three different levels of care which is determined by the family, patient, agency assessment. The more assistance with activities of daily living the caregiver is required to do the higher the cost of care.

Live-in care is quoted on a daily basis; however, the caregiver will likely be contracted to only be available one or a certain number of times per night.

As a licensed agency we need to abide by Dept. of Labor “13 hour Rule”.  13 hours is allocated as work hours, 8 hours for sleep time, five of which must be uninterrupted and breaks of 3 hours for meals.

If an older adult is not sleeping through the night, more shifts of caregivers or care providers may be necessary. A patient getting up in the night on a consistent basis will require an “awake” shift caregiver.

If during the night the home service worker does not get reasonable periods of uninterrupted sleep totaling at least 5 hours, the interruption to sleep time must be paid at $25/hour for the hour sleep is disturbed. If a client is up multiple times throughout the night or all night providing services, the entire period (5 hours) must be counted as time spent working. (Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act 35Q,36Q)

Best solution to multiple times getting up in the night is to hire an “Awake” shift caregiver that will be up during the night for 8 hours.  An example would be 10 pm to 6 am to help as needed so that the primary caregiver can get their allotted 8 hours of sleep and at least 5 hours minimum of uninterrupted sleep.

Live-in care ranges from $250 to $350 a day for most licensed agencies. Our fee schedule ranges from $265 to $285 a day for one helping one (1) adult.

Is there a minimum number of hours of service?

Three day minimum. 6 hour minimum for come and go care with our agency.

When can we get a caregiver?

As soon as we can locate a qualified caregiver for your particular case. We have had a caregiver out to a patient’s home in as soon as same day.

What is a schedule like?

Each caregivers schedule is different. They determine when and how much they want to work. It is also dependent on the demands of the case.

What about food?

It is customary for the family to include the caregiver when shopping for food for the home. If cost or location (Assisted Living) is an issue then a $10 per day meal allowance is added to per day rate to make it easier. When a meal allowance is provided to the caregiver it is their responsibility to get their food to the home

Time off?

Time off is up to the caregiver as to when they need a break. Agency will provide support and fill in help when primary caregiver is off. In some cases, family will take care of parent while the primary caregiver is off.

Same caregivers each time for fill in?

We understand it is difficult to receive good care if different people show up every week. We ARE concerned with continuity of care.
We cannot guarantee the same caregiver to fill in each time your primary caregiver takes off. This is because each caregiver is looking for their own full time case.

We try our best to accommodate the request by always staffing a caregiver that has been to the house in the past to care for the patient before staffing a new one.


A caregiver will keep and maintain a clean environment. But they are not a maid or cleaning service. A caregiver will provide light housekeeping, laundry, and ironing.


A caregiver can only provide medication reminders. All medication needs to be in a pre-selected medication reminder container.

What does a caregiver need at the house?

A bed or sofa sleeper, access to a bathroom. Ideally a private bedroom. Own TV would be great. Not necessary.

Training of caregivers?

Caregivers are required by the Illinois Department of Public health to take a minimum of 8 hours of training on topics such as communicating with patients, home safety, personal care, managing medications.

Where did you find the caregivers?

Our caregivers all came to our agency on a referral basis. We have never advertised for caregivers. Kurt Hjelle, PT met caregivers on an ongoing basis working as a home care physical therapist. Caregivers would give him their information to contact them when a new patient needed help.

What if caregiver gets sick?

We will provide a fill in caregiver for the time it takes for primary caregiver to get well and be ready to return to work. Family has option to fill in too if they desire.

Can you provide care in nursing home or assisted living?

Yes. We have cases in assisted living facilities. For nursing homes, we can only provide day time care since the nursing home does not allow the caregiver to stay overnight with the patient.

Payment of services?

Agency invoices the family/patient twice a month. On the 15th of each month and at the end of that month. We expect payment for services to paid prior to agency sending out invoices for next invoicing period.

Is there a deposit required?

Yes. A one week deposit that is fully refundable or applied to last invoice at the end of services.

Does the caregiver drive?

Some caregivers can drive. Most of our caregivers do not. This is why they are live in caregivers and do not work as a come and go caregiver. We do not encourage a caregiver to drive since they are not licensed as professional driver. Our service agreement outlines our policy on a caregiver driving a patient.

Do we have caregivers that drive their patients to appointments?


Are you licensed, bonded, insured?

Yes. The Illinois Department of Public Health requires all home services agencies to be bonded and insured. The license is issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Do you do Background checks?

Yes. We are required by Illinois Department of Public health to do a fingerprint background check.

How much experience does a caregiver have?

Depends with each caregiver, some have 10 years of experience others have 3 months of experience. We do not place a caregiver in a home that is not qualified to care for the challenges of the case and we will let you know about their level of experience prior to you interviewing them. Every good health care practitioner had a first patient to treat.

Does Medicare, Medicaid, or Insurance pay for Home Care?

No. Medicare and Medicaid and Insurance only cover skilled home care such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, and Speech Therapy.

Long Term Care Insurance does pay for care if you have that kind of coverage.

What is the background of your company?

We are an independently owned home services agency. We are not a franchise. Kurt Hjelle started in home care as a Licensed Physical Therapist in 1997. While treating patients in their homes he was always impressed how good caregivers took care of their patients. Caregivers looked at Kurt as a resource to find them their next client and clients looked at Kurt as a reference in finding good help. Kurt was then asked by a caregiver if he ever thought about adding a caregiver business to his physical therapy services. The idea intrigued him since he was already in home care so he decided to start connecting caregivers with clients who needed help at home. .

How long has your company been in business?

We have been providing caregivers for Seniors since 2004. Providing home skilled Physical Therapy since 1996.

Are your staff employees or contract workers? Are they insured and bonded?

Our staff consists of both employees and contracted workers. Most are contracted because they have their name in at many agencies to assure they have an assignment if we do not have a case for them.

How do you supervise your workers to make sure the proper care is given?

We make scheduled quality assurance calls and visits. To further ensure quality care, we see that all caregivers are regularly and closely supervised by one of our qualified company representatives.

Do you conduct a home visit before starting the home care service?

Yes. It is important that the patient and family members discuss the kind of care needed with a home care representative. This will help you determine whether the home care provider can meet your needs.

Do you work with my doctor in developing a plan of care?

If you require care beyond that associated with activities of daily living, your doctor ought to be involved. Since we are healthcare professionals we can work directly with your doctor in arranging and planning for your care.

Can you give me some references from nurse, social workers or past clients?

Yes. We can provide you with completed home health care surveys and people that you can ask “Would you use this company again for yourself or your loved ones?”

Do you guarantee customer satisfaction?

Yes. If you are not 100 percent satisfied with your caregiver, we want to know and we find a replacement within 24 hours.

What is the transition period like when first having a caregiver in the home?

Each person experiences their own transition period related to in-home care. Some people are readily accepting of receiving care and are immediately trusting of their caregiver. Other people need time to grow accustomed to the idea of accepting or paying for care. Most people need at least 30 days before they grow accustomed to a new way of life. This isn’t true for every person, as the more independent-minded the individual, the less likely they will be readily accepting of care.

If a person has dementia, it is not uncommon for the older adult to have some amount of paranoia and fear with a stranger in their home. It is also not uncommon for an older adult with dementia to believe the caregiver is a known family member, past friend, or even someone who is welcomed in their home. It may be possible that going along with the senior’s perception leads to greater success rather than attempting to clarify the situation.

Often times as it relates to dementia, it is more helpful to enter their world of fantasy than it is to attempt to prove a reality. Most everyone has a period of adjustment to become accepting of care, to trust a caregiver and to let down barriers or privacy and to embrace the concept of receiving help.

How do I arrange to get medical equipment and medical supplies for my parent?

Equipment that is ordered by a physician may be covered by Medicare, a Medicare supplement or an insurance plan. If a doctor’s written order is presented to the pharmacy, medical equipment provider, or vendor prior to receiving the equipment or supplies.
Equipment or specialty devices are much more likely to be covered than supplies; however, obtaining prior physician written approval may help in obtaining full or partial coverage of a supply.

We can order supplies through our provider Medline.

What should be my expectation of an in-home caregiver?

Talking openly and honestly about your loved one’s preferences and expectations is important to the development of a healthy and long-term relationship with an in-home caregiver

Placing tasks in writing is not only a wise practice, but also the only way to ensure that expectations are communicated.

Our service agreement allows the family to do this prior to start of care. Discussing with the caregiver and the agency what expectations are being met, which are being exceeded and which areas require improvement is a necessary part of arranging for such assistance.

Caregivers are capable of completing a certain amount of tasks. The more personal companionship an older adult and their family requests or requires, the less time is available for completing tasks. Seek a blend between completing tasks and having time for personal interaction.

If all you need is a housekeeper or yard worker, perhaps you would be better served by arranging for services through this type of agency instead of an in-home care agency.

In-home care offers a blending of chore work with companionship.

If an older adult has memory loss, more time is likely required by a caregiver to complete tasks and to have a meaningful interaction with an older adult. When memory loss is involved, the older adult can’t feel rushed – they have to feel involved, even if it means asking their permission to do certain tasks; or even if it means simply reminiscing a bit before taking a bath or changing clothes.

People with dementia don’t respond well to fast-moving, task focused people. They respond much better and are much more compliant with receiving help with hygiene and personal care if the caregiver is allotted enough time to be patient and can involve the older adult in the process in some way.

How often are there rate increases in care?

As older adults tend to experience decreased energy levels and increase in dependency on supportive services, it is not uncommon for care needs; and therefore costs to increase over time.
Increases are approved by the family, caregiver, and agency. Live in Day Rates are subject to increase when the demands of the work assignment increase based on two or more caregivers providing common feedback that have taken care of the patient.

As older adults tend to experience decreased energy levels and increase in dependency on supportive services, it is not uncommon for care needs; and therefore costs to increase over time.
Remember that senior housing and care services does not offer the same one-on-one care provided by in-home care. In home care provides more personalized and diligent attention to a patient.

What is a change of condition?

This term is used when an individual’s health status or means for delivering care has been altered in some way. At times, this term denotes a period of illness, a progression in a disease, or an increase in the care or monitoring by a caregiver or care professional.

What if I want to file a complaint against a caregiver or an agency?

Many complaints can be resolved by talking with the supervisor, management, or owner of the agency. Complaints about service quality or lack of attention to details should be made with the supervisor or management of the agency.
If an older adult or their family or friends has concern regarding services or procedures, they are encouraged to place these concerns in writing or electronically and send them to the attention of the owner or administration of the in-home care agency. If concerns involve issues more serious in nature, it is wise to also place a phone call to the agency to discuss your concern.
People who work with frail adults are at risk of not consistently meeting your expectations.

Who helps our family develop an individualized plan of care? Is he/she a licensed health care professional?

Yes. Our agency manager is a licensed healthcare provider.

How are emergencies handled outside of business hours?

Most situations are taken care of during normal business working hours. We do have an on call representative 24 hours a day to handle any concerns that may arise outside of normal business hours.

Does my loved one get to meet and approve of the caregiver before he or she starts?

We bring out the selected care giver and let the client approve of the selection before service begins. It lets the senior and family know they have control over the situation-which they should! It is also good to have the two meet so they can establish rapport with each other before the first day of service before the first day of service.

Can we stop service at any time without a penalty?

We ask no more than a week’s notice to end services. Of course if the client dies or goes into the hospital, this is waived.

Do you do drop-in visits?

Our agency will continue to be available, accessible and interested in how things are going. We send out a Case Manager to touch base with our clients every few weeks and more often if there are any issues.

Will you come out and do an Assessment at no charge and with no obligations?

A good home care agency should be willing to come out and sit and talk with the entire family at no charge. They understand this is the only way a family can compare different agencies and get a good feel for them. If a span of time passes between the initial assessment and when you actually are ready to start, they should come out and re do the Assessment to update any changes.

Do your caregivers have experience with Alzheimer’s disease?

Most of our clients have dementia or Alzheimers therefore our caregivers do have experience with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

The key is to find someone who is patient and compassionate, with good basic knowledge and experience working with an Alzheimers or Dementia.

How are your caregivers trained?

Safe at Home Healthcare has taken a significant step to address one of the biggest concerns families have with home care: the level of training and skills of the in-home caregiver. While more and more families are seeking in-home care to avoid institutionalization of their loved ones, the training and skill of the caregivers coming into the home is a very valid concern.

Safe at Home Healthcare believes that training and skill development in their caregiving team is one of the key reasons families choose a company. “We know that many families have options for care. We are very focused on providing a level of training for our staff that far exceeds any required training in this area.

To achieve this, Safe at Home Healthcare has partnered with a leader in caregiver training to provide 40 hours of caregiver training to every member of their team. Our training program offers highly engaging training courses, covering topics like nutrition and hydration, emergency first aid, ethics, personal care and mobility, Alzheimers and Dementia as well as communicating with others.

Many in-home care companies try to gather all their staff together in an office for periodic training. We know that this does not set the stage for the most effective learning. Learning, especially for busy adults, happens best when they control the time, place and intensity of their training. We give our staff much more control over their own learning and skill development, helping us build a team that offers a standard of care our clients expect and deserve.

Caring and compassion are the most important traits of a caregiver. But just compassion isn’t enough. Knowing that the caregiver also has skills to prevent skin breakdown and maintain walking skills, for example, is vital for the family’s peace of mind.”

Families employing caregivers in their homes want to know that they are capable of providing the best care possible. I know if someone were coming to my mother’s home providing care for her I’d feel significantly more confident knowing that person had received training.

For More Information Contact Us:

Kurt Hjelle, PT
Agency Manager
Safe at Home Healthcare, Inc.