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Frequently asked questions about HCAP

Learn more about how the Home Care Assistance Program (HCAP) can help you.

What is Home Care Assistance?

Home Care Service includes the following:

  • Meal Preparation
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Medication Pick-Up
  • Laundry
  • Light Housekeeping of the primary living areas (surface dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, clean-up kitchen, cleaning bathroom, changing the bed and trash removal).

Home Care Service DOES NOT Include:

  • Personal Care, including bathing, shampoos, feeding and transfer
  • Companionship
  • Heavy Spring Cleaning, dry cleaning, or polishing furniture
  • Transportation, Post-office mail (pick-up and/or drop-off)
  • Pet care
  • Moving/Packing or Unpacking
  • Cleaning Windows, Hanging up curtains
  • Waxing floors
  • Ironing
  • Exterior home maintenance
  • Homemaking/Housekeeping for others in the household
  • Organizing closets or home
  • Cleaning walls

Common terms

Who is the Consumer?

The person who receives homemaking service.

Who is the Massachusetts Rehabilitation (MRC) Case Manager?

The person who oversees all aspects of homemaking service. MRC Case Managers:

  • accept new referrals during open enrollment periods
  • assess new applicants for eligibility
  • set up homemaking services with the vendor
  • assist consumers with information and referral as needed to advance independent living goals.

Who is your Vendor?

The vendor is the agency MRC contracts with to deliver homemaking service to you. Each agency has a Coordinator who schedules services for consumers referred to them by HCAP.

Who is your Homemaker?

A person employed by the vendor agency who does homemaking tasks which you have difficulty doing on your own. These are tasks authorized by the Home Care Assistance Program.

Can a Consumer hire their own Homemaker?

Yes, a homemaker hired by the consumer is called a Home Care Assistant. A Home Care Assistant is an individual (other than an immediate family member) hired to do homemaking tasks which are difficult for the consumer to do because of his/her disability. Prior to starting homemaking service the potential Home Care Assistant must have a criminal background check (CORI) and home care contract approved by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.

What are your authorized hours?

The weekly number of homemaking hours approved by the Home Care Assistance Program. The consumer must be present at the time homemaking services are provided.

Are there times when Homemaking service may not be available?

Every effort will be made to ensure continuity of homecare service. However, homemaking services may be interrupted when:

  • there is a shortage of home care providers
  • the homemaker is sick, on vacation or on holiday
  • the consumer is away from his/her residence (consumers must be present for services)
  • the consumer has non-disabled adult visiting for longer than two weeks. During this time homemaking services will be placed on hold while the person is visiting and resumed once the person leaves.

Problem Solving Steps

How are problems between the Homemaker and the Consumer solved?

Consumers who have concerns or problems with their homemaking service should follow these steps:

Consumer responsibilities:

Step one-discuss and resolve the matter with your homemaker.

Step two-if the matter cannot be resolved with your homemaker the consumer is to contact and resolve the matter with the homemaker's supervisor.

Step three-if the matter cannot be resolved with the homemaker's supervisor the consumer is to contact their MRC Case Manager for assistance.

Homemaking Agency responsibilities:

Coordinators who report difficulties providing homecare services to consumers due to non-use (not being home for service), misuse (requesting tasks outside of the homemaker's assigned duties), or abuse of the homemaker (yelling, swearing, being intoxicated, making inappropriate sexual comments or using illegal substances in presence of the homemaker) are to adhere to the following guidelines:

Step one-the coordinator is to inform the consumer of the alleged problem and resolve the problem with the consumer's assistance. Serious incidents should also be reported to the HCAP Case Manager at this time. 

Step two-if the problem occurs a second time the consumer and the MRC Case Manager are to be notified in writing of the alleged behavior and proposed resolution with the consumer. 

Step three-if the problem occurs a third time a verbal request to the MRC Case Manager for mediation and assistance with resolution is to be conducted.

Problems that persist, reoccur or cannot be resolved despite the aforementioned procedures may result in suspension, agency transfer, or termination of homemaking services.

Consumer's rights to due process and appeal are explained and honored in all aspects of service delivery. Homemaking agencies and MRC personnel are required to adhere to the mandated reporting laws and statutes.

How long are Consumers eligible to receive Homemaking services?

Eligibility for homemaking services is reviewed every 1 to 1.5 years, or on as-needed basis, as determined by Case Manager. Eligibility for the Home Care Assistance Program terminates once the consumer turns age 60, at which time the consumer is referred to the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs will then conduct its own assessment to determine the needs of the consumer.