How to choose the right home health care provider for you
Inviting a private-duty, home care clinician into your home is one of the most profoundly personal decisions one can make. The right choice can have a huge impact on the quality of care received, the health outcomes achieved, and the level of comfort, trust, and personal connection between your loved one and the care team.
What is private-duty home health care?
Private-duty home health care can be a great way to allow seniors or people with disabilities to remain safely in the familiar comfort of their own home. Non-medical home health care services may include companionship, meal preparation, and light housekeeping. Home health care aides help with tasks such as bathing and personal care as well as transportation to doctors’ appointments, shopping and meal prep, and other activities inside and outside the home.
How to begin the search for a home health provider
Choosing a home health care provider can seem daunting. There are lots of choices, but how do you know which is best? As a place to start, here are five things you should look into about any home health care provider:
1. Their full range of services
2. Their track record and trustworthiness
3. Certifications and quality of care
4. How their care services work
5. How payment will work
If possible, meet with a representative face to face, and don’t be intimidated. Home health care professionals are some of the most compassionate, dedicated, and caring people you’ll ever meet.
Asking the right questions to get the right care
There are no wrong questions; this is about having someone you don’t know come into your home to care for a loved one. But there are matters you especially want to be informed about, and questions you definitely want to ask. Below are a few areas to consider in your screening process.
How do care services work?
Ask about the day-to-day operation of their care services and whether you can meet the aide or nurse before they start. Can they customize care? Can they clinically manage and integrate multiple services into one care plan? This will help you determine whether that provider can meet your loved one’s needs both now and as they evolve and change.
Do they offer any guarantees?
While no one can guarantee health outcomes, you should be able to find out whether a provider offer services without contracts. Is there a no-cancellation-fee policy? Are their caregivers employees of the company or freelance contractors? Are they fully insured for liability and have worker’s compensation? In other words, what is the relationship between the provider and the people they send into your home—and do they take responsibility for them?
What are their credentials?
A provider’s credentials are a good predictor of the quality of care your loved one will receive. You should ask, for example, whether they are nationally accredited. Or whether they are state licensed and fully insured. Are there written standard procedure and policies?
What are their hiring and training standards?
Obviously, it’s critically important who your caregivers are. Do you get to interview candidates? Is their competency evaluated by a registered nurse? Does the provider do background checks, and ensure their education and skills? How long has the provider been serving the community? Make sure to ask for references from clients and families.
What kind of documentation will they share?
Reputable home nursing providers will be happy to share with you a listing of clients’ rights and of their responsibilities. Also, you’ll want to know, and see proof of, what standards of privacy they adhere to.
What do they offer as far as customer service?
This is, after all, a service business. You’ll want to know whether a prospective provider will help you with insurance by billing insurers directly. Will the offer payment options for clients who pay privately? Are they on call 24/7? You’ll also want to assess their reliability and communication by asking questions like who will be your point of contact and what would happen if a caregiver calls out or if you need to reach them after hours. Do they care enough about your satisfaction to conduct ongoing surveys about their performance?
How do they handle the matter of payment?
Payment, of course, is a critical concern. Find out if a provider will accept your health insurance, and whether they process payment directly through them? If you pay privately, what forms of payment do they accept?