How to choose home care services
First step is to determine the level of care needed. To answer the needs there are two types of home care services. One of them is skilled care which is suitable for medical needs. The other one is custodial care which means help with housekeeping etc., also called environmental care or personal care that includes bathing, dressing, feeding.
Organizations for home care include home care agencies; home-care aid (HCA) agencies. Also, they gather staff and private-duty agencies, companies specialized in medical equipment and supplies etc.
After one determined the service needed, create a list of suitable agencies and compare them. The following list of questions may help you to choose a suitable one:
- Does the provider offer at my disposal information explaining its services, fees, eligibility requirements and funding sources?
Most agencies provide a detailed "Patient Bill of Rights" that states the rights and obligations of the providers and other similar caregivers.
- How many years has the agency been on the market? Is it Medicare certified, and it has a license given by the state? What insurance will cover and what do you have to pay?
An agency should be able to supply a history record and being able to provide references upon request.
- What are the home care services that the agency provides? Do they provide the specific services (e.g. physical therapy) or any special needs (e.g. language preferences)?
- How are the employees selected and trained? Does the staff have a background checks? Can you find written personnel policies, malpractice insurance, and benefits packages?
- Are your loved one's home care needs evaluated by the nurses or therapists? If yes, will they consult with his physician and family members?
Certified medical care agencies are required to communicate effectively between them.
- Is the client and his family included in developing the care plan, making changes in it? Does the course of treatment get to be documented, detailing the specific tasks for each professional staff member?
- Is the quality of home care received overseen by supervisors? If the answer is affirmative, what are the visits made by these individuals? Who is the person of contact for the family members to call in case of a complaint? Does the agency call back and resolve problems? If they do so then how?
- Which are the financial protocols?
- What is the procedure to handle emergencies? What are the work hours of the caregivers?
- Ask for a list of references (doctors, discharged clients or their family and community leaders acquainted with the provider's quality of service).
Ask these references: Do you frequently recommend this agency? Do you have a contract with this agency? What is the feedback given by of the agency? Did you receive it on an informal discussion or through a formal survey?