How to Choose a Home Care Agency
How to choose a home care agency you can trust – nine questions you need to ask all home care providers before selecting a caregiver.
One of the most challenging aspects or selecting a home care agency for your elderly loved one is knowing where to start and what questions to ask from potential caregivers. Home care services are key for maintaining the independence and dignity of your loved ones. Multiple studies show that this type of care can reduce hospitalizations and provide a safe environment to an increasing number of patients.
To start, make sure you understand and are familiar with all the home care services that your family member needs. Next, prepare a list of the appropriate agencies in your area that offer those services. You can search the internet for a list of home care agencies in your city, or ask the staff at your doctor’s office to provide you with some recommendations. The hospital discharge planner, as well as your social worker, may also be able to give you a list of local caregivers.
Once you have a list of several providers, it’s time to find out more about the services they they offer, as well as their reputation in the community. The following list of questions to ask a home care agency will help you select the right in-home care for your family member:
- What type of home care services can the agency provide? Ask the agency about the range of services they offer, and pay attention to special needs such as language and cultural preferences.
- How long has the agency been in business?
- What type of accreditation does the agency hold? Is it licensed by the state?
- What are the costs associated with the home care services that you need? What payment options do you have?
- Will the agency develop a plan of care for your loved one? Is it documented? Will the patient and the patient’s family be involved in planning the home care services?
- Who will be providing in-home care for your loved one? It is important to ask about the qualifications of the caregivers that will be serving your family member. Here at Start of Care home Health, we require all our caregivers to hold a First Aid and CPR certificate. Additionally, they must also have one of these certifications: home health aide (HHA or CHHA), certified nursing assistant (CNA), registered nurse (RN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN).
- Who will be overseeing the quality of care that patients receive? Does the agency appoint supervisors?
- How does the agency hire its staff? Do they perform background checks? We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring your caregiver is a person you can trust. You wouldn’t want to take any risks with the health of your loved one! Our agency, for instance, goes beyond simple screening procedures. We perform background checks, criminal records checks, license checks and skills assessments.
- Does the agency have well-established emergency procedures? Can it provide in-home care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
Finally, once you have settled on a home care agency, ask your agency of choice to provide you with a few references. These should be people who are familiar with their services, such as former patients. Contact each reference and ask for their honest feedback.