Questions & Answers

Get Home Care Answers

Have a question about in home care or our services? Give us a call or stop in for a private consultation. If you’d prefer, send a message using the form on the Contact page.

Does my loved one need help?

Home care services should be tailored to meet each person’s unique needs. When selecting home care services, the list below can assist in understanding a person’s behavior and help you determine the type of care needed, while still providing them with independence and dignity.

  • Managing finances: Are bills being paid late or being forgotten altogether?
  • Errands: Are running simple errands, such as grocery shopping, doctor appointments or a trip to pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy becoming a challenge?
  • Post surgery: Managing even the simplest daily activities after coming home from the hospital after surgery can be a challenge.
  • Memory loss/Dementia: A gradual or sudden loss of memory and language skills may result in evasive answers in an attempt to cover the inability to remember words, places and people.
  • Diminished hearing: Your loved ones don’t always answer the phone or take a long time pick up when you call… even though they’d always answered with no problems before.
  • Diminished sight: Is your loved one experiencing falls? Have you noticed a hesitance in his or her walk?
  • Falls: Unexplained bruises, often accompanied by explanations for cuts, bruises or broken bones that don’t ring true.
  • Incontinence: Clothing stains; odors emanating from furniture, clothing or automobile seats.
  • Self neglect: Poor eating habits and inadequate nutrition/hydration; failure or inability to follow through on physician’s instructions, medicine dosages, etc.
  • Won’t bathe: It could simply be that they are afraid or not able to get into the bath and are too embarrassed to ask for help.
  • Resists doing things that he/she always liked: Such as playing cards, singing or dancing. This could be a sign of depression. Or a sign that the capability to do these activities is slipping. The inability to do what they used to do can trigger depression.
  • Won’t get out of bed: This could be a sign that they don’t feel well, but can also be a symptom of depression.
  • Won’t take his/her medicine:They might be experiencing some side effects to a medication. Check with the doctor or a pharmacist as to what the possible side effects are of the medicine they are resisting and then check for these side effects.
  • Makes excuses not to attend family or other special events they used to enjoy: Investigate if there is something about the physical environment that bothers them – too much noise, harsh smells or whether the temperature is too hot or cold.

What type of assistance do we need?

Families and friends assume an incredible amount of responsibility when caring for an aging loved one. As you and your family members continue to evaluate the level of care you or your loved one need, consider some of the following activities and whether you or your family member in question can independently manage these responsibilities. If the answer is no, this can also serve as an indicator of when you or your loved one may need home care. Water Tower Nursing and Home Care can help. It is often best to start by assessing your personal needs, or your needs as a caregiver and the needs of the person you are caring for. Consider the following areas:

  • Personal Care: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting
    • Assistance is needed with dressing, bathing and taking medications.
  • Household Care: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
    • Help with grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning or doing laundry.
  • Health Care: medication management, physician’s appointments, physical therapy
    • Make medical appointments and drive to the doctor and drugstore.
    • Meet with doctors, care managers and others to understand what care is needed.
    • Manage crises or develop care plans for sick family members.
    • You need or regularly help transfer someone in and out of bed, assistance with physical therapy, injections, feeding tubes or other medical procedures. You are or need a designated “on-call” family member for problems.
  • Emotional Care: companionship, meaningful activities, conversation
    • You need or provide transportation, comfort and companionship for your loved ones.

How can I choose the right home care agency?

Once you have determined home care is the best option for you or your loved one, it is important to evaluate your values and preferences or those of the person receiving care. He or she may be more comfortable with a home care worker who shares his or her cultural background and/or language. The care recipient may also have a preference between male and female caregivers, particularly if the worker helps with personal care. The following questionnaire may help you include alternative (and possibly less expensive) approaches to care such as adult day care, friendly visiting services, home grocery delivery and pharmacy delivery. Choosing a home care agency for yourself or your loved one is a big task and can often be overwhelming. Use the questions in this FAQ to help you know what to look for when making your decision. Don’t be afraid to ask potential providers any or all of these questions.

Does the home care agency involve the family in care decisions?

Under our client’s direction, Water Tower Nursing and Home Care will involve family, friend’s business partners and health care providers to collaborate on all care decisions.

Do they have caregivers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

The Water Tower Nursing and Home Care Agency Manager shall designate an individual to supervise the provision of day-to-day services and oversee the placement and monitoring of all caregivers. An individual serving in a supervisory capacity is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (312) 280-4980.

Do they ensure patient confidentiality?

Do they have the proper business license and/or necessary state licensure?

Water Tower Nursing and Home Care provides home services in accordance with the Home Health, Home Services and Home Nursing Agency Licensing Act [210 ILCS 55] and the Health Care Worker Background Check Act [225 ILCS 46].

Do they provide an itemized bill for payment?

Water Tower Nursing and Home Care will mail an itemized bill to the Client/Responsible on a weekly basis. Water Tower Nursing and Home Care asks all charges for services rendered be paid within seven (7) days after receipt of billing.

Do they give references?

Water Tower Nursing and Home Care is proud to provide references you can speak to upon request.

Do they provide a care plan?

WTN establishes a Service Plan for each client in consultation with the Client and his or her appropriate family members or representative that outlines the services to be provided to the Client. WTN will review and revise the plan as necessary, but not less than once annually. The plan shall address and include, but not be limited to:

  • The level, type and/or scope of services the Client is receiving.
  • Identification of any functional limitations of the Client and the relevance of the limitation to the services to be provided.
  • Information received from the Client, in consultation with the Client and his or her appropriate family members or representative, on circumstances that may have an impact on activity or involvement by the Client, such as basic information on medications being taken, treatments received, Client’s physician, activity, diet and mental status.

Do they provide a document outlining their responsibilities?

Water Tower Nursing and Home Care – AGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Home Services: WTN is very proud of the commitment made by our home care team whom are dedicated to caring for and working with individuals who want to maintain an undiminished quality of life.WTN home services are intended to enable the client to remain safely, comfortably and independently in his or her own residence of choice. Home services provided by WTN may include, but are not limited to the assistance with activities of daily living and personal care. Home services will be provided as requested by and agreed to by the Client/Responsible Party and WTN.
  • Home Service Workers: WTN’s employees/home service workers (caregivers) are trained to perform a wide array of duties as found in the document titled: General Duties That May Be Performed by a Home Service Worker. Caregivers are restricted in the services they provide. A list of duties outside of the scope of services a Caregiver can provide may be found in the document titled: Caregiver Limitations. WTN is responsible for payment of all wages, employment taxes and unemployment insurance including the withholding of applicable social security, federal and state income taxes. All caregivers are covered under Workers Compensation, Non-Owned Auto, Professional Liability and Fidelity Bond insurance policies.WTN is responsible for the recruiting, hiring, assigning of duties, disciplining, monitoring, supervising, training and firing of all caregivers. WTN has developed quality guidelines based on a corporate policy that our organization and its providers strive to offer best of practices. A listing of these guidelines may be found in the document titled: Quality Guidelines.
  • Supervision: The WTN Agency Manager shall designate an individual to supervise the provision of day-to-day services and oversee the placement and monitoring of all caregivers. A WTN supervisor will schedule a visit with the client at a minimum of 90 days, more often if it is required by the service plan. Supervision does not constitute time or an activity that can be billed to the client. An individual serving in a supervisory capacity is available to answer questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (312) 280-4980.
  • Training: In accordance with the law, WTN is required to provide a minimum of eight (8) hours of training for each caregiver. Four (4) hours of training shall be provided prior to a caregiver’s first assignment and the remaining four (4) hours within the caregiver’s first thirty (30) days of employment. Thereafter, eight (8) hours of training is required during each year of employment with WTN. A listing of training may be found in the document titled: Quality Guidelines.
  • Weekly Billing: WTN will bill the Client/Responsible Party on a weekly basis. If requested, WTN will forward a copy of the invoice to a Client’s insurance company or other third party. The forwarding of invoice copies is only done as a courtesy and does not release the Client/Responsibly Party from their payment responsibilities directly to WTN for the cost of all services rendered.
  • Caregiver Time Sheets: As required by law, WTN Caregivers are responsible for documentation of each of the services provided at each visit. Caregivers will also document the beginning and end of each shift on this time sheet. Time sheets are reviewed by WTN Supervisors for accuracy and reconciled with caregiver check-in and check-out phone calls (see paragraph 2.A.).
  • Protective Equipment: In accordance with the requirements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), WTN will supply gloves and any other protective equipment necessary to prevent the transmission of infection when working with home services clients. WTN will bill the client for these supplies along with the weekly billing for services. The client has the right to purchase and maintain on hand at all times gloves and any other protective equipment necessary to meet the requirements of the CDC and OSHA. A listing of uniform instructions may be found in the document titled: Infection Control Guidelines.
  • Questions/Comments/Concerns/Complaints: WTN’s business office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. An individual serving in a supervisory capacity is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (312) 280-4980. WTN’s email address is A complete listing of contact information may be found in the document titled: Client’s Rights and Responsibilities.

Do they have insurance?

Water Tower Nursing and Home Care is responsible for payment of all wages, employment taxes and unemployment insurance including the withholding of applicable social security, federal and state taxes for all employees/home service workers (caregivers).

Water Tower Nursing and Home Care maintains Professional Liability, Commercial General Liability, Fidelity Bond, Non-Owned Auto and Workers Compensation insurance policies.

Do they have multi-language caregivers?

Yes. Many of our caregivers have English as a second language.

Do they perform background checks on all employees?

All information and documentation obtained in this section is maintained in the employee personnel file upon hire, unless otherwise noted.

  1. Application Process – a formal process, including written application, telephone discussions, and staff discussions must occur for each applicant.
  2. Interview Process – a minimum of two (2) in-person interviews are required for each applicant.
  3. A minimum of two (2) work related references, either written or verbal, are required verifying prior direct client care.
  4. WTN conducts a check of the Illinois Statewide Sex Offender Database, Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Sex Registrant, and US Department of Justice Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW)
  5. WTN conducts a check of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Health Care Worker Registry for administrative findings of abuse, neglect or misappropriations of property.
  6. WTN conducts an initial criminal history background check utilizing Illinois State Police Uniform Conviction Information Act (UCIA) records. Criminal history background checks are updated periodically for all caregivers.
  7. WTN conducts a thorough background screening in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This includes an initial Motor Vehicle Record Check (MVR), social security number confirmation, and a current and historical felony conviction records check. Thereafter, MVR checks are completed as needed.
  8. WTN ensures that all prospective caregivers:
    a. Do not have a disqualifying background check under the requirements of the Health Care Worker Background Check Act without a waiver.
    b. Have a copy of their Social Security Card.
    c. Have a visa or proof of citizenship in compliance with the Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service requirements for employment.
  9. When applicable, WTN acquires documentation and verification of current certification, registration or license information.
  10. WTN employees are screened for communicable diseases. A physician’s statement stating that the employee is free from communicable disease is required if a problem is suspected.
  11. In accordance with CDC federal guidelines, a Hepatitis B Vaccine Policy is in place.
  12. WTN employees are provided with a comprehensive job description outlining duties and limitations.

How does the home care agency train its employees?

WTN will provide a minimum of eight (8) hours of initial training for each caregiver. Four (4) hours of training will be provided prior to the caregiver’s first assignment and the remaining four (4) hours will be provided within the caregiver’s first thirty (30) days after employment.

All training is documented and maintained in the caregiver’s file and/or training log for tracking purposes.

Initial caregiver training includes the following topics:

  1. An extensive orientation to WTN’s philosophy and standards of care. This includes a review of WTN’s employee policies and procedures (Roles and Responsibilities) manual. A signed acknowledgement form is obtained.
  2. A review of the caregiver’s job responsibilities and limitations.
  3. Standard Precautions/Infection Control – WTN employees are trained in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Employees are required to use the necessary protective equipment and supplies in order to comply with those regulations. Initial focus is on hand washing, basic hygiene and basic infection control practices.
  4. Confidentiality and security of clients’ personal, financial, and health information in accordance with applicable Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. A signed acknowledgement form is obtained.
  5. Information on the signs, symptoms and reporting of elder abuse.
  6. Explanation of the client’s individualized Service Plan.
  7. Instruction for observation, reporting and completion of documentation of services provided, including changes in functional ability and mental status demonstrated by the client. Emphasis placed on objective vs. subjective reporting.
  8. How to assist with personal care tasks.
  9. Basic body mechanics for employee safety. Specific “how to” instructions are given for transferring client using proper techniques.
  10. WTN’s procedures for the safety of the employee and client along with guidelines for handling emergency situations including disaster/emergency preparedness. WTN’s procedures for emergency situations include but are not limited to fire, home security, personal, weather related, power outage, etc. Caregivers are trained in basic first aid and to be aware of all known hazards or potential hazards.
  11. Communication skills in areas such as with people who are hard or hearing, have dementia or other special needs.
  12. Promoting client dignity, independence, self-determination, privacy, choice and rights.
  13. Maintaining a clean, healthy and safe environment.
  14. How to assist a client in the use of specific adaptive equipment, such as a mechanical lifting device, if the caregiver will be working with clients who use such devices.
  15. Basics of hydration and information on the signs and symptoms of dehydration.
  16. Overview of basic human needs specific to aging and disease processes.
  17. Basics of nutrition requirements and the guidelines for meal preparation including training or explanation of dietary requirements for client illness or condition.

Note: In addition to the above initial training requirements, each WTN caregiver must complete a minimum of eight (8) hours of continuing education/training annually. This may include hands on demonstrations, self-study packets, corporate training programs, DVD’s, workshops on pertinent senior care topics as well as individual training for the unique needs of the client receiving care.

How do they handle complaints?

How quickly can the agency start services?

Often in less than 24-hours!

What type of payments does the home care agency accept?

Credit Cards, Checks or Cash

How long has the agency been serving the community?

As a division of the For Good Health GroupSM of companies, Water Tower Nursing & Home Care offers the following advantages:

  1. A neighborhood presence, prominence and understanding that dates back to 1852.
  2. A caring and conscientious organization staffed by established professionals and run by an industry-leading pharmacist.
  3. Expertise in home care and ambulatory self-care products and services unique to a nursing and home care provider.
  4. A Registered Nurse on staff to provide professional nursing services.
  5. A licensed staff Dietitian Nutritionist to ensure optimal nutritional and dietary care.
  6. A completely individualized focus in which the team of Water Tower Nursing & Home Care professionals works closely with the client, and his or her family, friends, and business and health partners to customize the ideal plan.

How do they handle emergencies?