Selecting a home health care provider agency can be difficult. You want to make sure you choose the agency that can provide the best, most appropriate care for you or loved one. You also want to choose an agency that can identify a client’s changing needs and can meet those needs before a crisis occurs.
Ask for a referral – Your best source of information is a referral from a medical professional, or a friend or family member who has used the services of the home health care agency you are considering.
Length of time in business – Is the business a new start-up, or has it been in business for several years? New businesses can provide excellent care, but you’ll want to confirm that administrative staff have significant experience.
Employee Screening – The home health care agency should require a state police background check, driver’s license and driving record background check, current Tuberculosis screening, recent physical, verification of current state certifications for all in-home caregivers, and complete verification of former employment. Criminal background checks should be repeated annually.
Personalized Services – Make sure you can choose to purchase the services that you need, and are not required to buy a package of services that you don’t need. The agency should be willing and able to help put together a care plan that meets your specific needs, and not one that works for
RN Oversight – Choose an agency that has a full-time RN on staff to provide oversight for every case. While you or your loved one may not anticipate having a need for nursing care, having an RN oversee all cases makes sure that minor health concerns are addressed before becoming more serious in
Licensure and Certifications – Depending on the types of services offered, make sure the agency you choose is licensed, insured, and bonded as required.
References Provided – Any home health care agency who has been in business for very long should have a list of previous customers who are willing to speak to you about their experiences with the agency.
Efficiency – Some home health care agencies will do a better job than others. Call each agency you are interested in and ask for their quality measures. If they don’t track patient outcomes, then you may not feel comfortable choosing that agency. For example, if you or a loved one is having hip surgery and will need rehabilitation, you would want to know how the agencies compare to one another and to state and national averages when it comes to:
- Percentage of patients who get better at walking or moving around
- Percentage of patients who get better at getting in and out of bed
- Percentage of patients who have less pain when moving around.
Communication – Is there a system in place for the home health care staff to talk with the client’s family and physician? Keeping everyone “in the loop” is the best way to make sure that the client’s medical, emotional and social needs are being met appropriately.