How to Choose an In-Home Care Agency
You will need to “shop around” to find a In Home Care provider in your community that has the correct licensure, experience and knowledge to provide the care you or your loved one will need. Costs for care giving services are, in general, the same across In Home Care providers in a given geographical area regardless if they are licensed to provide non-medical services only or are able to provide medication management, skilled care giving, case management & nursing services as well.
We hope you find this guide helpful as you go forward in search of the right In Home Care Provider in your community:
1). Do your homework:
Before you make your first phone call, thoroughly consider what the care needs are. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do we need assistance with companionship, cooking and light housework?
- Do we need someone who can provide hands-on care? For example: assistance with bathing, dressing or mobility.
- Do we need a caregiver that speaks a particular language?
- Do we need a care provider who can drive?
- Will your family have the support of a Home Health Agency or a Hospice Agency that the In Home Care Provider will need to work with?
You will need to contract with an agency who has the ability to provide the services needed now and those that can be reasonable anticipated in the future.
Non-medical agencies cannot remind or assist with medications for client's who have a memory loss or dementia diagnosis. Further, in order for any In Home Care Agency to remind or assist you with medications, you must be able to tell the representative of the agency what, how much, when and why you take each of the medications your doctor has ordered you to take. In other words, you must be assessed competent to "self direct" the caregiver who will work with you. If you cannot do this, you must contract for In Home Care services with a full service agency.
Starting care with an In Home Care Agency that is strictly non-medical means that if your needs increase, the agency will not be able to progress with you to provide the needed services. This will force you to establish a new relationship with a more qualified agency, all at a time when you or your loved ones health is declining.
To determine if you need a full service agency now, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a memory loss diagnosis such as: short term memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or is the client becoming more confused & forgetful?
- Do we need skilled medical assistance for things like blood pressure, blood sugar testing, medication administration, wound care or tube/drain/bag maintenance?
- Do we need a care provider trained to perform a special task of nursing, to use special equipment, to assist with transfers or ambulation, to manage medications, tube feeding or provide end of life (Hospice) comfort care?
- Do you need case management services? The services provided by a case manager are outlined on our services page, under the special services tab to the left of the main text.
2). Evaluate the In Home Care Agency Candidates:
Now that you have an idea of the services you or your loved one will need, its time to call each agency and ask each In Home Care Agency Representative these questions:
- How long has the agency been in business in this community?
- Is the agency a local private agency or a franchised agency?
- Is it possible to interview a caregiver to determine compatibility prior to the caregiver working for me?
- Does the agency employ the care giver and act as the employer of record?
- How are the caregivers who work for the agency screened, trained & supervised?
- Does the agency have a nurse on staff who provides service planning, over site and training?
- Is the agency licensed to provide medication and nursing services as well as non-medical services?
- Does the agency provide bonding & workers compensation insurance?
- How much will the needed services cost?
- How much notice & what is the process for starting services?
- How does the agency assist me to bill and receive payment from my insurance?
- What happens if I don't find the provider the agency sends acceptable?
- What if I need to speak to the agency representative after hours?
3). Make the right choice for you or your loved one:
Based on the answers to the above questions & your conversation with the agency representative, ask yourself these questions:
- Was I satisfied with the answers to the questions I asked the agency?
- Was I satisfied with the reviews I found on-line and/or the testimonials I found on the agencies web page?
- Did I feel comfortable with the experience, knowledge and ability of the agency to provide my services?
- Did the person I spoke to follow through with any promised information request?
- Is the agency licensed to provide skilled care giving, case management & nursing services, as well as non-medical services?
- Is the agency available by phone at all hours for assistance with any issues I have that may need immediate attention?
- Is the cost for services appropriate to the level of care I will receive?
We hope this guide was helpful in making an informed choice for In Home Care Services. Please call us at 503-371-1495, if we can further explain any information in this article or answer any questions about In Home Care and the process of selecting a good fit for your family.