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What to Look for in a Home Healthcare Provider

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The task of choosing a home health care provider can be daunting. With so many choices and various services, it can overwhelm even the most healthcare savvy person.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the home health care sector is projected to grow rapidly, eventually accounting for approximately 1.3 million jobs through 2022*. This is a result of more and more American seniors looking forward to staying in their own homes as they age. It is about the convenience and cost differences, as well as the comfort.

Benefits of Home Health Care

Home care extends and improves quality of life.

Home care postpones institutionalization and prevents premature decline. By encouraging independence and self-directed care, home care keeps aging parents in charge of their own lives for as long as possible. Unlike other forms of health care, older adults heal faster at home. Home care helps extend life by eliminating stressors associated with aging. Home care also enriches the quality of your loved one’s later years.

It Provides Independence

In-home care allows those who may not be able to live on their own without help the option of staying in the home they’ve lived in for years. This allows them to remain independent while providing loved ones with the knowledge that someone regularly checks in and provides assistance when they can’t.

It Takes the Stress off Family

Family members often find themselves becoming caretakers to those in need, but this can put a large amount of extra stress on them, especially if they’re also working full time and have a family. The stress can manifest in several ways, including illness or anger aimed at the person needing care. In-home care reduces this stress, allowing family and friends to visit and be with their loved one without the additional strain of needing to act as caregiver.

Referrals are a great way to start your search, however, it is always important to ask the right questions when following up on referrals. No matter which type your needs require, below are important points to consider when researching and selecting a home health care agency:

  • Is the agency licensed by the state? Do they have any professional accreditations?
  • Do the services they offer align with my needs?
  • What qualifications and certifications do they require from their employees?
  • How does the provider supervise their employees to ensure proper care is given?
  • Is an in-home evaluation performed to determine the level of services needed? Is this done by a nurse or therapist?
  • Does this agency work with my doctor to develop my plan of care?
  • What is the agency’s reputation in the community?

Next, there are two primary factors to consider when selecting the best agency: the types of services you will need, and how you expect to pay for those services. Consider these points:

  • If you or your family member’s needs are medical in nature, or will involve personal care, you need a home care agency, not a companion care provider.
  • If you or your loved one has a specific disease or illness, ask if the home care agency has developed specialty programs around a given medical need.
  • If you have specific language requirements or cultural values that you wish the agency to understand, accommodate, and respect, make sure the home care agency you choose supports your need both through the office staff and nursing and aide staff.
  • If you will need transportation to appointments or events, using either your vehicle or their own, be sure the home care provider you select is willing to provide this service.

Once you have narrowed down your list and have these answers, talk to the people who you trust to give you good advice. This often comes from community members, doctors, financial advisors, attorneys, other medical care providers, friends or other family members who may have experience in this area or know someone who has. Often times, these people can help to guide your decision. It is also helpful to talk to current clients of in home health care providers to ask them about their experience as they can provide useful testimonials.

The types of services that are provided by various in home health providers are different. It is important that you find a service that provides the right kind of service for you and your family. CommandCare offers both nursing care services and personal care services. Nursing care gives patients the care that they need after medical procedures, similar to what they would receive in a hospital setting but in the comfort of their own home. Personal care services offer an opportunity for seniors to live in their homes, with the compassionate assistance of a health care provider. With personal care services, each applicant goes through an individualized evaluation to create a care plan that is tailored to that person.

If you believe that you or your loved one’s care will be covered by their insurance, it is important that you are working with a home health care provider that is covered by that insurance. If you have another form of insurance, it might be good to look into your long-term care policy, and ask your insurance provider about Assignment of Benefits that gives the ability for the insurance company to pay the health care provider directly.

When it comes to home health care, the patient must make the crucial decision as to whose “hands” they will entrust their health and home. CommandCare takes this decision very seriously and is always incredibly humbled and appreciative when patients place this trust in us.

We understand that in times of illness or injury, decisions and choices can be overwhelming, and it may be easier to leave some of the decisions to the professionals. However, we strongly encourage patients and families to be proactive and involved in determining who they welcome into their home, because it is their health and their trust that is of the utmost importance.

We encourage patients and families to question healthcare agencies and referral sources. CommandCare is always excited when patients and families request a meeting with us before selecting the best agency for them. It is important to know that the patient can and should voice their opinion when it comes to their care.

References: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Home Health Aides, on the Internet at Home Health Aides.

Staff Writer, Deirdre