10 Top Questions to Ask an in Home Health Care Agency

Finding the right in home health care agency that provides senior home care can cause stress and anxiety to a family caregiver. Many times the home health care provider is set up by the discharge planner or social worker at the hospital. There are also times when a family care giver wants to make arrangements for in home health care.

Many family members providing care for elderly in home settings find a need for outside help. Family caregivers are often reluctant to have inside help, because they fear that they will not be able to find good help. I think that it is important for family caregiver to understand that in home health care can be a blessing and give you peace of mind. Everything that has so many pluses also has some minuses. Education is the key to preventing mistake.

I am here to help you prevent making mistakes and enjoy the benefits of senior home care. I have created a list of over 30 questions to ask, I will share 10 of them with you today. I feeI I must first address that there are two categories of in home health care as determined by Medicare guidelines.They are skilled care or custodial care.

Skilled care requires a doctor’s order and refers to a medical or more intense need such as nursing, social services and therapy (physical, occupational or speech). Custodial care refers to help with bathing, dressing, and cooking, cleaning and shopping or even companionship. There is a different type of home health care provider for each level of service needed.

How is the agency licensed or accredited? I like to ask this question because accreditations are the organizations that set the standards for the industry. Many organizations must have these accreditations in order to receive reimbursement by long term care insurance providers. I will tell you not all agencies are accredited even though they meet all the requirements. Some agencies choose not to go through the process as it is time consuming and very expensive. I would not rule an organization out if the rest of the interview goes well.

More of the top 10 questions to ask an in home health care agency about senior home care

How long has the in home health care agency been in business? It is important that you deal with an organization that has a solid reputation and the people that work in that organization are individuals that belong and are know to the community.

What kind of criminal background checks are performed for prospective employees? Are employee references checked? How many? Are personnel files updated annually? These are very important questions. Too many times agencies hire employees and allow them to start work before their background checks have come back to meet the demands of the industry. This can be disastrous.

Are the employees bonded and insured? Does that protect the family in case of theft or accidents? What type of training does the company provide to employees? This is an important question if you have an aging senior with a disease specific diagnosis such as dementia, vision or hearing impaired, diabetes etc.

Does the agency offer a free home health care consultation by a registered nurse prior to start of service? If you are considering custodial services this may not be considered part of the services offered. When it is, consider it an extra bonus. A professional nurse adds a different perspective and may be able to recommend a higher level of care when needed.

Does the agency provide a plan of care in writing for clients? How much say does the family have in the plan of care? These two questions are very important on many levels. A written plan of care gives everyone goals and expectations. The family involvement in developing the plan of care gives the aging senior and caregiver a sense of control over the situation. This also gives the family a clear understanding of the expectations of the duties that will be preformed and something to refer to so that there is no confusion about those duties.

There are many questions to ask an in home health care agency about senior home care. Asking those questions Taking the time and investigating resources can keep the aging senior in your life at home for as long as possible.

8 Questions to Ask Your Home Health Care Agency Or Nurse

If you are in the process of finding a home care services agency or if you are considering hiring a home care nursing aide or a home health care physical therapist or occupational therapist, it is critical to find out their qualifications.

We assembled a list of 8 questions you can ask the home care agency to ensure that you are choosing the right provider for your needs.

1) What is the background of the home care company & how long have they been in business?

You want to find a reputable in home nursing agency that has been in business for a number of years and has a successful track record. Most newer home nursing care agencies haven’t been around long enough to build a proven track record or a list of red flags.

So, it’s important to find out as much information about the company as possible. You can do this by finding information on who owns the company and what role the ownership plays in the type and levels of service.

2) What are the home nursing care agencies qualifications, certifications, experience and training of their home care aides and nurses?

It’s extremely important to find out about the credentials of the home health aides and nurses that the home care company sends to your home.

Make sure their home health aides and nurses are certified and have received adequate training.

3) How does the home nursing care agency monitor care and can the family provide feedback?

Find out if there are any quality assurance measures in place. Many home health care agencies periodically visit the home of the client or make regular calls to gather client feedback.

If this is not the case, find out how a family member can provide feedback on the quality of care or who they may contact in the home care agency to have any questions answered.

4) Are there any home visits or assessments that take place prior to home health care services beginning?

Find out if there are any options available that allow the family members, client and the home care agency representative to meet prior to the start of services. Most reputable home nursing care agencies offer free consultations.

5) Does the agency have a current operating license in their respective state or city?

It is important to find out if the home health care agency has a current and valid license to operate in their respective city or state. This often overlooked aspect is the most important factor in choosing a home health care agency.

6) How does the home nursing care company work with your doctor in developing a plan of care?

Most agencies work directly with your doctor in planning for your care, especially if the client requires care that is beyond the scope of activities related to activities of daily living.

7) Can the home care company provide references or testimonials?

Most reputable home health care companies can provide references from doctors, nurses, social workers and even clients if requested. They may even have a page on their website that is dedicated to providing this type of information to potential clients.

8) What happens if a home health aide or nurse is absent from the agency on a particular day?

If the home health care provider is required to take a day off for illness or another emergency, what type of protocol is put in place by the home health care company to cover the absence?

There are usually plans put in place to ensure that the client receives that continuity of care in the event of an absence by their home care provider or nurse.