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Recent changes made to the federal employment rules and payment for the companions under the federal labor laws were feared as signaling an end to in home companions.

24 hour live-in companions have always been critical in keeping an elderly or disabled family member home. Family members play a critical role as they work with the companion and continue to provide ongoing unpaid assistance.  Often someone requires a 24/7 presence in the home to provide assistance as needed, to ensure the safety of the elder, to make sure they receive nutritious meals and provide assistance with dressing, washing up, laundry and housekeeping.Costs for live-in companions can range from $175.00/day up to $300.00/day; costs for companion assistance on an hourly basis ranges from $18-24 per hour on up (usually requiring a 2-4 hour minimum); assisted living costs from $4,500-$7,500, the higher end for persons needing more attention and supervision; and nursing home care that provides 24/7 inpatient assistance including 24/7 on-site access to nursing assistance ranges from $11,000-$14,000.00 per month.

Connecticut recently passed legislation to accommodate the federal requirements. Under CT Public Act No. 14-159, AN ACT CONCERNING EMPLOYERS AND HOME CARE WORKERS, Connecticut statues 31-76b to 31-76j address the new federal requirements.
This law allows the companion and family members to exclude sleeping time, no more than 8 hours, from payment. However, if the companion is awakened during the sleep period to assist and does not get at least 5 hours sleep the entire sleeping period shall be considered hours worked.

Without this exemption many family members who along with the companion manage to keep a family member home would not be able to afford the additional costs for the live-in companion, nor could agencies employing companions remain in business if an additional 8 hours per 24 hours had to be paid to the live-in companions or paid to someone covering the sleep time.
Allowing someone to remain home with Title 19/Medicaid and family assistance is the stated preference of elders and their family care providers. Without the companion the “key” to making this arrangement work many elders would be in long term care facilities with the state paying for the nursing home care entirely at approximately $10,000.00 a month $5,500.00 for home care.

Reference to PA-159, C.G.S. 31-76b to 31-76j

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