The move to using a home health care provider is a big one. Seniors may be reluctant to open their doors to people they’ve never met before; however, families with an aging loved one may not be in a position to provide all the assistance needed themselves. A home care agency is the perfect solution for seniors wanting to stay in their homes and continue to live happy, healthy, engaged lives.
Where to start? It’s a great idea for families to take the time to educate them upfront. There may be services and options available that you didn’t know of, and things to consider that you never stopped to think about. Below are some questions you can ask to maximize the chances of finding the perfect fit in a home care agency.
What are your needs?
The first thing a family needs to look at is both what their seniors’ needs are today, and what they might be in the future:
- How much hands-on care do you need? Care can be as simple as some part-time companionship, light chores, laundry and meal prep. Others may need someone available 24hrs a day because of mobility issues or other more-serious health conditions.
- Will you need concierge services? Someone to arrange appointments with healthcare providers and transportation to and from their offices — or to social commitments and activities.
- Will your parent need visits from a nurse? Clients who’ve recently had surgery may require dressing changes. Others may need to receive fluids/medications intravenously, ostomy care or palliative care.
- Is your parent showing signs of Alzheimer or Dementia? Unfortunately these conditions are degenerative; caregivers should be educated and trained to meet your parents’ specific needs.
About the Home Care Agency
Once you’ve zeroed in on what you’ll need from a home health care provider, it’s important to do a little ‘due diligence’ on the agency:
- Is the Agency licensed, bonded, and insured to operate in your state?
- Have the caregivers undergone a reference check, criminal background check, and been assessed by a Registered Nurse?
- What’s the home care agency’s reputation? Do they have a positive track record with other clients/families in the area?
- How long has the agency been in operation? Who are the owners?
- How is their customer service?
- Do they offer a free consultation to determine the best care options for your parent?
- Can they help you with care billing through insurance, public programs, and any out of pocket costs? Can they give you a breakdown of these costs in writing?
- What’s their system for responding to and resolving client problems or complaints?
- What about the caregiver themselves?
- How often does care staff communicate with you and how do they do it? (telephone calls, written reports, etc).
- Do you get the same person every time or are they regularly swapped?
- What’s the procedure if someone doesn’t show up?
- What if you ask for a different caregiver because you are unhappy with the person the agency sent?
- Are they getting ongoing training?
Home health care agencies understand 100% the need for these types of questions and they expect them. The agency will be happy to give you all the information you need to make the right choice for your family.