You and your family have decided that it is time to bring in outside help to assist with the care of a loved one in need. Because you want them to be able to remain safe, comfortable and independent in their own home for as long as possible, so you have chosen to hire an in home caregiver or home healthcare agency. The next step is choosing the best home health care provider for you and your loved one. But how do you know who the best is? The first step to finding the right kind of home care provider is determining what level of care is needed. There are two main categories of in home care services: skilled care, which provides for medical needs, and custodial care. Custodial care may include environmental assistance-help with housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation and or personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. Some agencies only provide one type of care; others may include both types. Different types of home care companies may work together to provide an integrated system of services for a care recipient.
Types of home care organizations
- Home health agencies
- Homemaker and home care aide (HCA) agencies
- Staffing and private-duty agencies
Once you have determined the type of home care services your loved one needs and have a list of appropriate agencies, it’s a good idea to interview and evaluate the agencies to compare them. Use the following questions below to help you choose the right home care provider for your loved one. Does the home care provider supply a valid website explaining its services, eligibility requirements, fees, and funding sources? Many health agencies furnish care recipients with a detailed “Patient Bill of Rights” that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the providers, care recipients, and caregivers alike. An annual report and other educational materials also can provide helpful information about the provider.
Top Questions to ask Home Care Agencies
- How long has this agency been providing home care services?
- Is the agency Medicare certified?
- Is the agency licensed by the state?
Talk to trusted professionals and community members. Your loved ones doctor, financial advisor, attorney, other medical providers, friends or family members may have familiarity and experience with local companies that do a good job. A list of providers is also available from your local area agency on aging or hospital social work department. However, it is rare for these resources to make specific recommendations so research is the key.
Finally, ask the home care agency to supply you with a list of references, such as doctors, discharge planners, clients or their family members, and community leaders who are familiar with the provider’s quality of service. Contact these references and ask: Do you frequently refer clients to this agency? Do you have a contractual relationship with this agency? If they do, do you require the agency to meet special standards for quality health care? What sort of feedback have you gotten from other clients receiving care from this agency, either on an informal basis or through a formal satisfaction survey? Also, was the feedback positive or negative?
Talk to trusted professionals and community members. Your doctor, financial advisor, attorney, other medical providers, friends or family members may have familiarity and experience with local companies that do a good job. A list of providers is also available from your local area agency on aging or hospital social work department. However, it is rare for these resources to make specific recommendations.