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 (for example from bed to chair)
  • 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 Home Care Assistance Program (MRC-HCAP) 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 the Provider?

The provider 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. Provider agencies recruit, train and supervise the direct care worker (homemaker).If you choose to hire and supervise your own person, we can do that too. See below.

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 I hire my own Homemaker?

Yes, a homemaker hired by the consumer is called a Home Care Assistant (HCA). 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 a screening through the Department of Public Health Nurse Aide Registry. The HCA must complete paperwork to have a contract approved by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. They will then be an Independent Contractor, where they will be paid an hourly rate. They will not receive benefits or have taxes taken out, but they will receive a 1099 form.

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 and the provider does not have a substitute available
  • 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, contact the provider agency to work to resolve the matter.

Step three-if the matter cannot be resolved with the homemaker's supervisor the contact your HCAP 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.

Step two-if the problem occurs a second time the consumer and the HCAP 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 HCAP Case Manager for mediation and assistance with resolution.

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 can I receive Homemaking services?

Your need for continuing services will be reviewed by your Case Manager on a regular basis. If your situation changes where you may need more services, or where you may no longer be eligible, contact your Case Manager to discuss and review your service plan. Consumers turning 60 are 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.

How many hours of service will I get?

The weekly number of homemaking hours approved by the Home Care Assistance Program will be determined through an in-home assessment, a review of your medical information and a discussion with you. The hours will be based on the length of time it will take a homemaker to complete only those tasks for which you need assistance.