Selecting a Home Healthcare Agency can be a difficult task. It's not your typical business transaction. We tend to think only about the actual caregiver that will be sent to your home. But like the caregiver, you must have some "chemistry" with the agency and the way they operate. They will work with you to make sure your parent, spouse, or loved gets the best caregiver for them-and it's often the office staff that you'll turn to with any questions or concerns you may have.
Here's a list of questions that I think you should know the answers to before engaging a company.
- What is the qualification of the aide? (you want to make sure the aide is qualified to perform the services your loved one needs)
- Is the Agency full insured? (Don't be afraid to ask for a copy of their insurance certificate)
- Is the Aide insured. Is she/he covered by Workman's Compensation Insurance should they be injured on the job?
- What kind of background checks do they perform on their caregivers?
- If they drive your parent, have they checked their driving record and the condition of their car, should they be using their own car?
Does the caregiver have a supervisor?
- If so, does she/he visit the home? How often?
- What does the caregiver do if she/he has a question or doesn't know what to do?
- What does the agency do if the caregiver is late, or sick. Do they have a policy in place that is followed?
What does the agency do if you want to contact after hours with a serious question or emergency?
- Is there a supervisor available 24/7?
- Do their telephone go to any individual or to a service?
What if you want to contact the agency during work hours?
- Is there someone available that will know who you are?
- If you live far from your parent, can the agency set up a weekly communication with you?
- Do they require a contract?
How do they bill?
- Do they pay the caregiver directly, or do you?
- Do they have a tipping or gift accepting policy?
- Can your parent (or other loved one) and/or you interview the potential caregivers and provide input?
- Can they provide you with references from other clients?
- Do they accept Long-Term Care Insurance?
Are they Medicare approved, or do they work with Medicare Approved Agencies.
- (This is important if there has been a recent medical event or hospitalization that requires specific in-home care prescribed by your physician. Typically this would provide a limited amount medical services that would be covered by Medicare). Non medical care is an out of pocket expense (or covered by a Long-term care insurance policy) and not paid for by medicare. Often an agency providing non-medical prescribed home care will work with you to coordinate any services that could be covered by Medicare.
Please see other related posts for more information on Home Healthcare.
Helping A Parent Find A Home Companion (this is particularly helpful if you live far from your aging loved one)
Tips on Getting A Parent Receptive To Help (provides help for discussing the need for home care)
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