In-Home Companion Caregiver Program

The Bethlen Communities Companion Caregiver Program is available to help seniors live full and independent lives within the comfort of their own home. When activities of daily living become challenging, personal care is too difficult to accomplish alone, or lack of social interaction is creating a feeling of isolation, companion care can provide the needed relief necessary for you or your loved one to remain at home. Companion Caregivers can add to the quality of life as well as to the feeling of safety for those living on their own and/or with physical limitations. Bethlen Companion Care clients report they are relieved to finally have the comfort and help of a dedicated and qualified Caregiver.

In-Home Caregivers Services

Bethlen Caregivers provide two levels of care:

  • Companionship/Home Helper Services
  • Personal Care Services

Companionship/Home Helper services consist of activities such as: light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders, help with mail, shopping, outings, doing laundry, caring for pets, etc. When a senior is living alone and visits from friends and family are limited, social interaction can become very important. The presence of a Companion can not only assist in providing help with day-to-day tasks, it can prevent feelings of isolation and depression. Simple times of sharing such as reading the newspaper or devotional materials can create pleasant moments both the client and companion enjoy together.

Providing a slightly greater level of care, personal care services incorporate all of level one companionship care, but add services such as assistance with bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting.

As with most care provided through Bethlen Communities, a Plan of Care is developed for all clients of Companion Care. Staff meets with all potential clients in their homes, to assess if the Companion Program is a good fit for their individual needs. In some cases, the care need is at a higher level than can safely be provided by companions and a referral is made to Home Health or other programs. If Companion Care is appropriate to the client’s needs, a schedule that works for the client and their family is set and the specifics of the care plan including the tasks to be done by the companion and the personal care assistance are determined . 

Bethlen’s Companion Care services require only a minimum of three hours per day with overnight and 24 hour care coverage available. No minimum monthly service is necessary. Clients may request services 2 or 20 days a month depending on their need.  Bethlen’s Companion Care is available throughout the Ligonier, Latrobe, Laurel Valley, Chestnut Ridge and Mt. Pleasant areas and beyond. To accommodate travel time and be mindful of weather conditions, efforts are made to provide a caregiver local to the client. 

Caregiver Qualifications  

Bethlen takes great care to provide for quality care and client safety.  Following an in-person interview, all caregivers must provide two satisfactory references and complete FBI criminal background checks.  A physical and TB screening are also required. Bethlen caregivers undergo a 6-8 hour training program and must pass various tests prior to becoming qualified caregivers with permission to provide service independently. Ongoing training is provided throughout the year with yearly acceptable evaluations. 

Payment for Services

Bethlen’s fee scale is competitive.  Some clients receive service through the PDA Waiver Program, as well as the MS Society.  In some cases, Long Term Care insurance reimburses for Companion Care Services. Additionally, Bethlen is currently working to build partnerships with other organizations. Contact Companion Care Services to discuss possible payment options.

Why Bethlen, Not a Contracted Employee?

There are certain risks associated with hiring a caregiver that is an independent contractor and not employed by a home care agency, such as Bethlen Communities Companion Care Program. Before choosing a caregiver not employed by an agency, you should consider:

  • Income and Social Security tax laws will apply to you.  As the employer, you will be responsible for withholding all eligible taxes including federal and state payroll tax, Medicare, Social Security and unemployment tax.
  • You will be responsible for providing worker’s compensation insurance and can be sued if a caregiver is hurt on the job while in your home.
  • Caregivers not employed by a home care agency are neither subject to criminal background checks and credit checks, nor are they required to undergo a training program.
  • If a caregiver must call off duty for illness or emergency, they are not required to find a substitute.

Concerns regarding your own personal care or that of a loved one can be emotionally draining and time consuming.  Assuming employer accountabilities adds another layer of responsibility. Choosing a home health agency such as Bethlen Communities Companion Care Program offers peace of mind knowing that employee matters are managed by Bethlen.