Preserving independence is a primary concern for senior citizens and people with disabilities, yet they are often reluctant to admit they need assistance to remain at home. Often, help from family may be unavailable or unsustainable, and living facilities may be cost-prohibitive or undesirable. For many, the solution has been private duty home care.
How does private duty home health care help?
Non-medical home health care services may include companionship, meal preparation, and light housekeeping. Home health aides can assist with tasks such as bathing and personal care as well as transportation to doctor’s appointments and assistance with shopping and other activities inside and outside of the home. Having the one-on-one attention of a trained and competent caregiver can help people remain living safely at home—where they want to be.
Although you’re likely to find a wide selection of home health care providers—from small, privately owned companies and franchises to large, full-service organizations—not all of them offer the same level of quality care services and competent staff. How do you know which is best? Doing your research, asking the right questions, and getting complete, honest responses will help you feel more confident in your decision.
Asking the right questions
Knowing how employees are selected is crucial because they will be coming into your home. Look for providers who employ stringent hiring standards and thoroughly check references, criminal background, and work experience. Consider credentials, range of services, and reputation. Getting references is always a good idea.
When researching providers, here are some key questions to ask.
Do they offer:
- Both hourly and live-in services based on a client’s needs?
- Free, confidential assessment by a registered nurse (RN)?
- One-on-one, non-medical care services?
- Assessment-based care plans written by RNs in collaboration with client and family?
- Regular RN supervision and support of employees in clients’ homes?
- A wide range of services to help as needs change over time?
- Caregivers who are specially trained to help clients with specific diagnoses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Do they have:
- Services without contracts?
- A no-cancellation fee policy?
- Caregivers who are employees, not contractors?
- Employees who are fully insured for liability and have workers’ compensation?
- Accredited by a national accrediting organization (eg, Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP))?
- State licensed?
Hiring and training standards
Do they conduct:
- Personal interviews with caregiver candidates?
- Reference checks?
- Criminal background checks?
- Competency evaluation with a registered nurse?
- Ongoing education and training to ensure skills are current and appropriate?
Will they provide you with:
- Clients’ rights and responsibilities?
- Privacy notices?
- Willing to help with insurance by billing insurers directly?
- Offering payment options for clients who pay privately?
- On call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
- Interested in improving customer service by providing ongoing client satisfaction surveys?
Download our easy-to-use checklist, Choosing a Home Health Care Provider, to help you make informed decisions about private duty home care.