Choosing a home health agency is a big deal. You want to ensure the safety and well-being of the person in need. Sometimes, you need in-home health right away and have little time to plan ahead, while other times you may be able to perform extensive research before deciding. There are many considerations, whether you’re in a rush or not. Below, we’re going to discuss questions you should ask, factors to consider, and places you can go for quick reviews.
Questions You Should Ask
There are several concerns to address before you hire a home health agency. If you can, interview or evaluate the agencies using the following questions:
- How long has the agency been in business?
- Is the agency licensed by the state and Medicare certified?
- Can the agency explain what the client will pay for services?
- What range of services are provided?
- Do they offer or partner with a group that offers specialty services like physical or occupational therapy?
- What cultural or language barriers exist within their agency?
- Are background checks performed on staff?
- Is family involved in plan making and informed of or involved in changes to the care plan?
- Will the agency furnish itemized statements explaining all charges and payment options?
- What emergency procedures does the agency have?
- At what times are the home caregivers available (not all agencies are 24-hour, so this is critical for anyone needing round the clock care)?
Factors to Consider
During the day, your loved one may need transportation to get groceries, go to appointments, or seek entertainment. While some home health agencies screen drivers and offer these services, some don’t. Assessing transportation needs and agency provision can save you from the headache of figuring it out later.
Needs & Hands-On Care
Write out a schedule that shows the daily life of your loved one, and from that make a checklist that shows care needs and meal and rest times. Also, note whether the needed service is companion-based or care-based and what activities the care recipient enjoys.
Many times, there are special circumstances that should be considered before choosing a home health agency. Language barriers, memory loss, and hours needed will affect what type of partner you can work with. Consider the particulars of your situation and the agency’s ability to meet your needs before committing to an agency.
Medication and Care Management
Start by writing down a list of medicines, dosages, and schedule for intake. Then check with the agencies on your list to see if their aides are trained in giving medication. Further, see what care management the aides can do. With some agencies, the aide is not responsible for appointment making, obtaining medication refills, and other important care steps. This may mean you need to hire a care manager.
Places You Can Go for Reviews
To start, you should obtain references for the agency. Ask the agency for references, and then call them.
Second, check Google reviews. Search the name of the agency and click on the reviews in the listing. Read through several reviews, but remember, in most cases, people only leave reviews when they have something negative to say.
Last, go to Medicare’s Home Health Compare website. Search in your area and you will see that each agency is rated by stars for quality of patient care and a patient care survey. 1 star is the lowest, while 5 is the highest. These metrics from a trusted source will help you assess the care with which you should expect from the agency.
Even if you are in an emergency situation, care should be given to picking a home health agency. You want the best for your loved one, so it is vital you find a partner in home health who feels the same. Whether you’re considering an agency or an aide, do as much diligence as time allows to ensure you’re making the right decision for you and your family.