What to look for in a home care provider first depends on what you need their services for – are you recovering from a surgery? Do you or a loved one have a chronic illness? Are you or someone that you love aging and unable to completely care for themselves? You may have different needs in each of these situations. If you or a loved one is experiencing an illness or a recovery that requires nursing care, you will want to be sure that the home care provider you select has quality skilled nursing care.
Many needs from home care professionals will be similar regardless of the reason for the need for the services, such as needing a ride to the doctor’s office for regular checkups or illness related medical care, or a little help with household chores or cooking. Since many of the services necessary for someone considering home care providers will be the same, the following is a generalized list of services and requirements to look for when looking for a home care provider:
- Is the agency state licensed? You should check with the state health department to confirm this.
- Does the agency accept Medicare for payment? If so, are they certified by the federal government and do they meet all health and safety requirements?
- Does the provider screen their employees?
- Do they require their caregivers to be licensed and insured?
- Can they provide references from doctors, other professionals or hospital discharge planners who have coordinated with them professionally before?
- Does anyone you know have a good recommendation for a great home care provider? Word of mouth is always a great way to find a reliable business.
- The Joint Commission is a governing agency that evaluates and accredits health care organizations and programs that voluntarily request a review. Ask if the home care provider you are looking into has requested a review from such a group and request a copy of any such review.
- Find out if the agency trains their care providers when they hire them and continue to train them while they are employed for the agency.
- How do the employees make you feel when you call the office? Are they helpful and polite? Trust your gut.
- Be sure that the company you are calling already serves people in your area. Ask how far they require their care givers to travel. If they require too much for too little from their caregivers, it may bring down the quality of your care.
- If you need help with cooking meals, be sure to ask for a home health aide with the ability to do so. There are companies that hire people without cooking skills because they are qualified in other areas, so being assigned such a health aide will lead to you being dissatisfied with the services you receive.
- Will your insurance cover the entire cost? You need to know this to plan ahead accordingly.
- Discuss how your prospective agency handles problem situations or employees. You want to be sure that they have handled problems before in ways that will not affect your quality of care.
There are many quality home care providers available. Follow the above checklist and you will be sure to find one that fits your needs.