Buffalo, Minnesota
1200 Hwy 25 North, Suite 108, Buffalo, MN 55313
(763) 450-1500

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Call (763) 450-1500 | 1200 Hwy 25 North, Suite 108, Buffalo, Minnesota 55313 Coronavirus update
1200 Hwy 25 North, Suite 108, Buffalo, Minnesota 55313 Coronavirus update

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions about in-home care by Comfort Keepers®

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • About In-Home Care

    What is home care?

    While in-home care can be used to describe both medical and non-medical care in the home, typically in-home care refers to non-medical care such as companionship, homemaking services and personal care. Home health is a term used to describe skilled nursing care and other functions such as speech, physical or occupational therapy.

    In-home care allows your loved one to get the help he or she needs without giving up independence.

    What is live-in care

    Live-in care is the same as home care, but caregivers live with their clients.

    What does a caregiver do?

    A caregiver provides seniors and other adults assistance at home to ensure their physical wellbeing and social health. Caregivers provide companionship, personal care, and other quality of life services. This can include mobility and safety assistance, help with meals and housekeeping, transportation to appointments and social events, as well as activities that encourage engagement, purpose, connection and joy.

    If you’re wondering how to become a caregiver, visit our careers page for more information.

    What is aging in place?

    The term aging in place refers to seniors that choose to remain in their home as they get older instead of moving to an independent or assisted living community. According to the AARP, a majority of seniors would prefer to remain in their homes for as long as possible. And aging in place has a number of benefits.

    • Seniors who remain in their own homes as they age enjoy the consistency of belonging to communities where they may have lived for many years surrounded by friends and families.
    • Being surrounded by beloved objects and memory cues can foster a sense of connection and peace, and for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, a familiar environment can reduce confusion and improve mental engagement.
    • Remaining in the home also avoids the stress of relocation and acclimating to new environments.
    • Aging in place can be more cost-effective than facility care.

    What is a home health aide?

    The term home health aide and caregiver can be used interchangeably. Home health aides provide companionship, personal care, and other quality of life services. This can include mobility and safety assistance, help with meals and housekeeping, transportation to appointments and social events, as well as activities that encourage engagement, purpose, connection and joy.

    What are ADLs? (And what are IADLs?)

    Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) describe basic tasks essential for day-to-day functioning. These include bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, mobility and toileting. Many seniors who require help with such activities are largely independent but may require help with one or two ADLs.

    Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are those activities that are important in enhancing a client’s quality of life. IADLs include shopping, paying bills, household chores (cleaning, laundry), and meal preparation.

    Seniors and other adults that need assistance at home may require assistance with ADLs or IADLs. Comfort Keepers offers an array of companionship and in-home care services, and specific tasks are laid out in the Plan of Care that is customized for each individual and family.

  • About Comfort Keepers

    What services does Comfort Keepers provide?

    Comfort Keepers assists seniors and other adults that need help at home to live their best quality of life. This can include help with aging parents, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, mobility assistance and a variety of care types.

    Comfort Keepers provides uplifting in-home care that considers a client’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. We provide companionship care services such as meal preparation, laundry, light housekeeping, grocery shopping/errands, incidental transportation, medication reminders, grooming, live-in service and respite care. We also provide a wide range of personal in-home care services. This includes bathing, grooming, hygiene, mobility assistance, transferring/positioning, toileting/incontinence, and feeding/special diet assistance. Some offices provide Dementia/Alzheimer’s care, private duty nursing or and in-home safety technology solutions. Services vary by state and office.

    How does Comfort Keepers select caregivers?

    Every Comfort Keepers caregiver is an employee who is carefully screened and trained before caring for a client. Each must undergo a rigorous process including national and local criminal background checks, DMV, and personal and professional reference checks. All Comfort Keepers are bonded, insured, and covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance for our clients’ peace-of-mind. Caregivers are screened for empathy and trained to provide the highest quality in-home care.

    Are services available 24 hours, 7 days a week?

    Yes. Services are available for as little as a few hours a visit up to 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    Does Comfort Keepers offer Private Duty Nursing?

    If your loved one is healthy, you might be able to meet his or her needs on your own or hire someone for traditional in-home care.

    However, when having a family caregiver or home health aide isn't enough, we can help. A private duty nurse from Comfort Keepers® offers loved ones the level of care they need where they want it; not in a nursing facility or hospital, but in the comfort and safety of home.

    Services vary by area. Please contact your local office to discuss your care needs.

    How much does in-home care cost?

    Each Comfort Keepers office is independently owned and operated. We encourage you to contact your local office directly for a complete list of products and services available, as well as the rates for your area.

    Can you provide services on short notice?

    Yes. We understand that situations can arise where one needs in-home care services in a hurry. We can provide services on an as-needed basis.

    Do you provide services to those in nursing homes or assisted living communities?

    Yes. Comfort Keepers can provide companionship or personal care to residents at assisted living communities and nursing homes who may desire additional attention or personalized care.

    What is a Plan of Care?

    Comfort Keepers develops a custom, individualized and completely confidential Plan of Care for each client. This document describes the home care services needed and when the client would like to initiate care. Care plans include tasks and goals to help caregivers provide the best physical, mental and emotional wellbeing care.

    Once a client and their loved ones agree on a plan with the local office, staff will use that information to recommend the Comfort Keeper who will be delivering the service, establish the schedule and develop a strategy for ongoing communication.

    Plans of Care are reviewed with the client and family at least every six months, but reviews may be more frequent based on state regulations. The review ensures that new goals and needs are addressed and gives Comfort Keepers the opportunity to ensure that the client and their family is pleased with the care being provided.

    How is my Comfort Keeper assigned?

    During the initial conversation and the in-home visit, the Client Care Coordinator will document the home care services required and the client's preferences for a Comfort Keeper match. The Client Care Coordinator then selects the best caregiver and arranges an introduction between the client, Comfort Keeper, and Coordinator to introduce this new team. During that meeting, everyone reviews the Plan of Care to ensure agreement and understanding of services to be provided.

    What if my Comfort Keeper is sick or on vacation?

    Each Comfort Keepers office employs a team of caregivers to ensure there is no interruption to your care if someone is sick or on vacation. If your Comfort Keeper is unavailable, the Client Care Coordinator will arrange another caregiver and will contact you in advance of the change. The Client Care Coordinator will also introduce the interim caregiver and review your Plan of Care with them prior to service.

    What is Interactive Caregiving?

    The focus of Interactive Caregiving is doing things with our clients instead of just doing things for them. While our caregivers provide assistance with the daily needs that a senior has, they encourage participation and engagement as much as possible. This allows our caregivers to develop a relationship with clients and keep them physically and mentally active. We believe in-home care is about more than completing tasks on a list — we offer personalized care that helps clients enjoy their time and improves quality of life. By focusing on interactive caregiving, we can elevate the spirits of clients and their families.

    What safety protocols does Comfort Keepers have in place during Coronavirus?

    Ensuring the safety and well-being of our clients is Comfort Keepers highest priority. Due to the current health crisis, we are taking the necessary precautions to keep our clients and caregivers safe and protected while we continue to provide uplifting in-home care. This includes additional training in infectious disease control, providing each caregiver with personal protective equipment and following all CDC recommendations. Our caregivers are screened for Coronavirus risk factors prior to every visit and we have established protocols for caregivers to stay home if they are ill with any sickness.

    What is GrandPad?

    GrandPad opens a whole new world for seniors by connecting them with family, friends, and caregivers. It’s the simple, secure, and perfect senior tablet for your loved one. To find out more about Comfort Keepers and GrandPad, visit our Care Services page

  • About Types of Care

    What is transitional care?

    In-home care is often a necessity for those that are transitioning home after a hospital stay or procedure. Whether someone is moving from a rehabilitation facility or directly from a hospital, there are benefits to completing recovery at home with a professional, quality caregiver to assist.

    Comfort Keepers can provide a custom care plan for transitional care, including transportation home from a hospital or facility, and to scheduled follow up appointments and therapy sessions.

    In addition to the physical challenges of healing after an illness or injury, patients can experience depression or anxiety when they aren’t able to participate in their normal routines and social activities. Our caregivers can provide transportation to community events, support physician-prescribed exercise regimens, provide companionship and help families stay connected through technology.

    What is companion care?

    Companion, or companionship, care includes preparing meals, laundry, light housekeeping, grocery shopping and errands, transportation to appointments and social events, reminders for grooming, respite care, medication reminders and education and communication with a client’s loved ones. At Comfort Keepers, we also focus on activities that bring joy, provide mental stimulation and encourage physical and emotional wellbeing.

    What is personal care?

    Comfort Keepers’ trained caregivers assist with personal care needs ranging from stand-by assistance to full care depending on each client’s individual needs. This can include bathing, mobility assistance, position changes for those clients that are bedbound, incontinence and toileting care, preparing and serving meals, specialized care for those with memory issues or cognitive impairments, fall risk assessment and prevention, change in condition monitoring, and assistance with outings, social events, shopping trips, and other activities of interest to maintain engagement both physically and emotionally. A personal care assistant can help with basic activities of daily living, or ADLs.

    What is considered light housekeeping?

    Light housekeeping includes tasks that provide seniors with tidy, clean, safe spaces in their home. This can include disinfecting surfaces, cleaning counters and floors in the kitchen and bathroom, dusting, de-cluttering, vacuuming, taking out the trash and other household tasks. Many seniors are capable and willing to maintain their own spaces, and our individualized care plans for clients is customized to consider the physical ability of the client and the level of assistance they need and want. Many of our clients enjoy the activity of cleaning their house and find that working side-by-side with a caregiver can help build their relationship.

    What is respite care and what type of care is respite care?

    Respite care is defined as the transfer of primary caregiving responsibilities to another person, typically a professional caregiver, relative or friend, in order for primary caregivers to receive temporary relief from caregiving responsibilities. Respite care takes many forms – some family caregivers choose to have someone take on caregiver duties for a few hours a week or a few hours a day. Or, some schedule respite care for longer periods of time to accommodate an extended break or vacation.

    What type of care is “respite care”?

    Respite care can include companionship or personal care, depending on the level of need.

    What is private duty nursing?

    Unlike traditional in-home care services, private duty nurses provide one-on-one medical care. They are qualified to offer this care in the comfort of the patient's own home, or in a facility such as a hospital or nursing home. Private duty nurses are Registered Nurses (RNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). They can offer advanced care, working in tandem with the family. Our goal is to provide the customized care needed by our clients, all from one source.

    What is End-of-Life care?

    When a family member is diagnosed with limited life expectancy, he or she often has a strong desire to spend the final days in the comfort of home. However, caring for a loved one at the end-of-life can be emotionally challenging and physically exhausting.

    Comfort Keepers can support you and your loved one by working with a hospice agency or medical provider to fully meet the family’s care needs. We will help care for your loved one, as well as assist around the house and provide the family with emotional and moral support. The end of one’s life is an upsetting time, but Comfort Keepers’ services can lessen stress for everyone involved.

    What is Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care?

    We understand the struggles families face when caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Our Comfort Keepers® are trained to provide care for Alzheimer’s patients and care for those with dementia while supporting opportunities for meaningful engagement, builds and nurtures authentic, caring relationships, and implements a care plan that evolves with the senior’s needs. By choosing Comfort Keepers, families receive support that includes:

    • Specially trained caregivers
    • Family education to better understand dementia
    • Tasks built into the care plan and geared to a senior’s interests to engage them physically, mentally and emotionally
    • In-home services such as personal care, companionship, medication reminders, and family respite care
    • SafetyChoice® in-home safety technologies, including medical alert systems and motion detectors

    What is the difference between palliative care and hospice care?

    Hospice and palliative care are easily confused because, while everything within hospice is palliative, not everything palliative is hospice. Hospice care focuses on a person’s last six months (or less) of life. When it is determined that a cure is no longer an option, the hospice care team comes in to make the patient’s remaining life as comfortable as possible by addressing physical symptoms and distress as well as emotional and spiritual issues. Palliative care, while also aiming to manage symptoms and enhance comfort and quality of life for patients, can be delivered concurrently with aggressive therapies and therapies that are aimed at cure. It can be delivered at any stage of life.

  • About COVID-19 Precautions

    Families have many questions about safety protocols for their loved ones, so we wanted to provide answers to the most common questions in order to reassure our clients and families of the measures we’re taking to keep everyone safe and well.

    How do you keep my loved one safe during visits?

    • Before each care visit, we confirm that caregivers and clients comply with the current CDC guidance for safety, including being free of COVID-19 symptoms and free from high-risk COVID-19 exposures. This allows Comfort Keepers to work together with families, seniors, and caregivers to create the safest possible care environment. If any of our caregivers or their clients should show signs or symptoms of COVID-19, we will report and abide by national and local guidelines.
    • Our caregivers must follow an established protocol to stay home if they are ill for any reason.
    • Our caregivers are trained in best practices for infection prevention and control.
    • Our caregivers must wear a face mask when in the home and within six feet of a client.
    • Our caregivers follow hygiene procedures as directed by the CDC, including vigorous and frequent handwashing with soap and water, the routine use of hand sanitizer (with 70% alcohol level or higher), and proper coughing and sneezing techniques.

    Is my caregiver tested regularly?

    • Caregiver testing requirements for COVID-19 vary by state; it’s best to check with your local office for updates. Comfort Keepers has implemented safety measures for the safety of both our clients and caregivers, regardless of a state’s testing requirements, including:
      • All caregivers and clients are screened daily for symptoms of COVID-19 and recent exposure to a person suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19. Quarantining and testing are conducted according to the guidelines of the local health authorities.
      • Personal protection such as masks can prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Caregivers are required to wear masks and we encourage our clients and anyone else in the home to wear a face-covering when within six feet of their caregiver.
    • It’s important to remember that testing only represents a moment in time. Our best method of preventing infection is the consistent wearing of PPE, performing hand hygiene, and the daily symptom and exposure monitoring.

    How can I help keep my loved one from getting depressed? She feels isolated.

  • For seniors, maintaining social connections and staying in touch with loved ones not only improves quality of life, it improves health. During this time of social distancing and virtual get-togethers, it is important for seniors and their loved ones to make thoughtful plans to connect. This can include:
    • Regularly scheduled phone and video chats – regular calls and touchpoints can help seniors stay connected to friends and family across the country. There are many free options for video meetings, and families can consider gifting their senior loved ones a tablet or other device for those that may not have one.
    • Togetherness Activities – For older adults, planning activities reduces lack of contact. Virtual activities, or in-person for those in the same household, can include good conversation, cooking and eating together, reading together, playing games, scrapbooking, or listening to music. And, studies show that planning and looking forward to an event can have mental health benefits too!
    • Online Interaction – Seniors may enjoy virtual meetups, online worship services, Facebook trivia night, virtual communities focused on hobbies, and other online activities can help people connect to others in their community without leaving home.
    • Virtual Volunteers – For seniors looking for a sense of purpose, there are opportunities to volunteer to help others from the comfort of home. This can include building Easter baskets for children’s charities, sewing quilts for shelters, writing cards for military service members overseas and other activities that allow people to do good works in their free time.
  • Isolation and loneliness can be signs that a senior lacks the support and tools needed to live a healthy, independent life. However, with planning and deliberate action, fostering positive relationships and connections can be incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. For more tips, visit Senior Isolation
  • What can I do to protect my loved ones?

    • During the holidays there is a lot to consider. Read the latest guidance from the CDC on how to celebrate safely and go about daily living
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including under the nails, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when hands are not soiled or wet.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as these are entry points for the virus.
    • If possible, have anyone else present in the home wear a mask when within six feet of the caregiver when he/she is in the home.
    • Avoid contact with people who are sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
    • Regularly clean and disinfect objects and surfaces, such as cell phones, telephones, TV remotes, doorknobs, faucet handles, steering wheels, counters, and tabletops.
    • Eat well, drink lots of water, and get rest to keep your immune system healthy.
    • Have a family emergency preparedness plan that includes care coverage and back-up support.
    • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill or have been exposed.
    • Avoid crowds and, wherever possible, practice “social distancing” of remaining at a distance of six feet away from others, as recommended by the CDC.

    What type of training has my caregiver received?

    Our caregivers have been trained in Infection Control, COVID-19 Screening and Reporting Protocols and how to wear and use PPE properly.