How to Choose a Home Care Agency
Brittany Hartman, Jordan Health Services, Collin LIVING WELL Magazine (formerly SENIOR Magazine)
Simply put, home care is health care delivered to you in your own home. A variety of home care services are available including nursing and therapy, as well as those who can assist with the most personal of needs such as helping with bathing, dressing, or preparation of meals. Home health care provides the care you need in the convenience and comfort of your own home. A familiar home environment contributes to maintaining a positive outlook and often results in a more speedy recovery. Choosing the right home health agency is a serious decision and can be a difficult process if you’re not sure what to look for.
Finding the best home care for your needs will require some research, but it is well worth the time. Quality care service and a skilled staff should be your primary concerns. Once you attain the names of a few agencies you should learn more about their services and reputations. The following are questions to ask home care providers.
- How long has the agency been serving the community?
- Is the agency certified by Medicare?
- Is the agency licensed?
- Is the agency accredited?
- Does the agency provide literature explaining its services, eligibility requirements, fees, and funding sources?
- How does the agency select and train its employees?
- Are the agency’s nurses or therapists required to evaluate the patient’s home care needs?
- Is the patient’s course of treatment documented, detailing the specific tasks to be carried out by each professional caregiver?
- Does the agency assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care patients are receiving in their homes?
- Does the agency take time to educate family members on the type of care that is being provided?
In addition to this, you should ask your home care provider to present a list of references that are familiar with the provider’s quality of service.
Contact each reference and ask:
- Do you frequently refer clients to this provider?
- Do you have a contractual relationship with this provider? If so, do you require the provider to meet special standards for quality care?
- What sort of feedback have you gotten from patients receiving care from this provider, either on an informal basis or through a formal satisfaction survey?
- Do you know of any clients this provider has treated whose cases are similar to mine or my loved one’s? If so, can you put me in touch with these individuals?
To find home care agencies in your area, ask your doctor for a referral or contact a hospital discharge planner. You should also contact your state’s department of health, aging, and social services to find a list of their licensed agencies. Additionally, you can also locate home care agencies in the yellow pages under “Home Care” or “Home Health Care.” Your church may also have information about home care.
There are many home health options available and you should always remember the choice is yours. Once you know what you’re looking for, your decision will not be a difficult one.
Author Brittany Hartman is the public relations coordinator for Jordan Health Services. To talk to a home care professional, please call 800-64-NURSE (800-646-8773), or email Brittany at email@example.com.