Home health care is a great tool for those who wish to remain living at home as opposed to a nursing facility or assisted living. Home health care generally provides physical therapy, skilled nursing and assistance with day to day activities such as dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning and eating.
In order to receive the best care at home, there are a few questions you should consider when choosing a home health care agency for a loved one. The following is a general guide to consider:
- How long has the agency been serving this community?
- Does the agency have any printed brochures describing the services it offers and how much they cost? If so, get one.
- Is the agency an approved Medicare provider?
- Does the agency have a current license to practice (if required in the state where you live)?
- Does the agency offer seniors a “Patients’ Bill of Rights” that describes the rights and responsibilities of both the agency and the senior being cared for?
- Does the agency write a plan of care for the patient (with input from the patient, his or her doctor and family), and update the plan as necessary?
- How closely do supervisors oversee care to ensure quality?
- Are agency staff members available around the clock, seven days a week, if necessary?
- Does the agency have a nursing supervisor available to provide on-call assistance 24 hours a day?
- How does the agency ensure patient confidentiality?
- How are agency caregivers hired and trained?
- What is the procedure for resolving problems when they occur, and who can I call with questions or complaints?
- Is there a sliding fee schedule based on ability to pay, and is financial assistance available to pay for services?
- Will the agency provide a list of references for its caregivers?
- Who does the agency call if the home health care worker cannot come when scheduled?
- What type of employee screening is done?
When interviewing a potential home health care provider, be sure to have a list of special requests and needs your loved one may require to make sure that these needs can be met. Ideally, after hiring a home health care provider you can spend a day or two with them while at work to help develop a daily routine and address any concerns you may have. This will also serve as a good time to evaluate the care provider. Make sure you address any behavioral issues or medical concerns at this time.
Usually, the best way to ensure quality care is through a home health care agency. Be extra careful when hiring an individual and be sure to do a criminal background check. However, it is safer to choose a caregiver from an agency licensed by the state.
Home health care services can be covered by government benefits such a Veteran’s Benefits, Medicare and Medicaid. For this reason, it is important to meet with a qualified elder law attorney before purchasing in home care services.