How to Find the Right Home Health Care Agency
When the time arrives to seek outside home health care for your loved one, emotions and uncertainties can prevail. Thankfully, there are reputable sources of information and services available.
People often receive home services following a hospitalization or care in other care settings. Usually the hospital discharge planner or social worker provides information on area agencies. Ask the hospital for a list of home health care agencies in your community. Physicians, friends, and family can recommend agencies, as well.
Make every effort to acquire at least two references from the hospital or other sources. Also consider personal references for private caregivers or companions.
Questions to Ask Home Care Agencies
To help them select the right home health provider, the National Association for Home Care suggests asking the following questions about the agency, associated expenses and the individual professional.
- How long has the agency been in business?
- What are their qualifications and experience?
- Is the agency licensed and bonded by the appropriate authority?
- Can the agency provide references? Ask for a list of doctors, hospital discharge planners and former clients who have experience with the agency.
- How does the agency protect client confidentiality?
- Is the agency inspected by any outside organization? Ask for the results of the last inspection.
- Does the agency perform a customer satisfaction survey? Request the results of the most recent survey.
- Can the agency provide written information about the services they provide?
- Can the agency provide written information about the rights and responsibilities of the providers, patients and caregivers?
Questions to Ask Professional Caregivers
- How does the agency select and train care providers?
- What are the credentials of the caregivers who work for the agency?
- Does the agency perform criminal background checks or drug testing?
- Do caregivers work directly for the agency? How are they supervised?
- Do they consult the patient's physicians and family members?
- Is the patient's course of treatment documented in a care plan, detailing the specific tasks to be carried out by each caregiver?
- How are the family, patient and aide educated about the care to be provided?
- Are nurses or therapists required to evaluate the patient's needs as they change? If so, what does this entail?
- Will proper care be scheduled at any time of the day or night that my physician says is necessary?
- Will the same caregiver be sent to my home for each visit?
- Whom should I call with questions or complaints? How will the agency respond?
- Can the agency provide me with written information about the services available?
- Is there a written plan of care for each patient?
- Does the agency involve the patient and caregivers in designing this plan and educate them about the care provided?
- How does the agency respond to emergencies? How long is the response time?
- Will the agency help me find other community services such as Meals on Wheels or homemakers services — or help find medical equipment I may need?
- What is the procedure if there is not a good fit with the provider and the patient?
Questions About Home Care Costs and Payment
Many people have questions regarding how to pay for home care. Be sure you ask the agencies you speak with the following questions to find out how you can pay for the expenses you will incur:
- Is the agency certified by Medicare?
- Are they approved or accepted by the patient's insurance plan or supplemental insurance?
- How does the agency handle expenses and billing?
- Do they provide detailed explanations of all the costs associated with prescribed needs?
Remember the task at hand is to secure appropriate and compassionate care for your loved one. Though it may seem that ample time is not always given, it is wise to make the time to ask questions and arrive at the answers to your personal satisfaction. A positive experience is possible for everyone involved when you make an informed decision.
Healthcare Resources Home Health is RN owned and operated with 25 years of home care experience. We practice stringent hiring processes to employ the most experienced, qualified and skilled staff available for the highest quality of patient care.
Healthcare Resources provides a broad range of comprehensive services to clients who are in need of acute rehabilitation, skilled nursing, personal care assistance and/or Medical Social Services. Home Health Services aid the clients in achieving and sustaining the highest quality of health, activity, and independence in their own home. Services are provided by experienced, trained professionals under the direction of the physician. An individualized plan of care is established for each client to provide the best combination of services required for continuity of care.