You will need a prescription (written order) from your child's primary care provider (PCP) before using home health services.

Make sure that the home health agency you choose is in your child's health plan network. Talk to your PCP about which agency to use if there is more than one choice.

The home health agency will do an assessment of your child's special needs. The assessment is usually done by a registered nurse (RN). It can be done either at home or while your child is in the hospital. Ask lots of questions (see Questions to ask your Home Health Agency below).

There are two types of nursing services:

  • "Short-term," also called "intermittent"
  • "Continuous," also called "private duty," "block," or "shift"

Your home health agency should give you information about your rights and responsibilities. You have the right to expect high quality services. You also have the right to privacy and respect from anyone who comes into your home. If you have a complaint or grievance, you should call the agency first. You may also report a complaint to the MA Department of Public Health, Division of Health Care Quality, 800-462-5540 or 617-753-8170 (TTY).

Keep Your Child's PCP Informed and Involved.

A home health agency should do everything possible to provide needed services. However, there may be times when this is not possible - like during a snowstorm or if a staff member is sick. Talk with the agency ahead of time about what to do if this happens.

Develop a schedule with the agency. Make sure that the agency staff comes to your home at the times of the day when your child needs care the most.

If you child is admitted to the hospital, contact the home health agency and your child's PCP to let them know.

You can stop services from a home health agency at any time. It is important for you to identify why you want to stop the services. Talk to your child's PCP about your concerns. This will help you in selecting another agency if necessary.

Contact Information

Massachusetts Department of Public Health
250 Washington Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02108-4619
800-882-1435 (in MA only) or 617-624-6060
617-624-5992 (TTY)