As of 2016, there were 12,200 home health agencies in the United States. With this many options, how do you know which one is the best home care agency to care for your elderly parents?
Thankfully, choosing a home health care agency doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. All you need is a systematic approach.
This guide will walk you through the process of choosing a home health agency.
Reputation and History
Only consider companies that have a strong reputation and track record within the community. Start by asking friends and family about their experiences with home health services. Ask potential agencies these three questions to get an idea for their service.
- How long has the business operated?
- What outside organization performs operational inspections?
- Can you provide references?
Always ask if the home care provider is Medicare or Medicaid certified. This certification signals that the agency meets state and federal requirements. It also means that your loved one’s health care is covered, thereby reducing the out-of-pocket costs.
Specialized Home Care Services
You will quickly realize that agencies provide a broad range of services. You need to ask about the services that your loved one needs. Common services include physical therapy, skilled nursing, speech therapy, medical social work, education for caregivers, and occupational therapy.
Some agencies provide specialized care, such as COPD programs and heart failure programs. If your loved one needs special care, be sure to choose an agency that provides that specific purpose.
The team of individuals that the home health agency employs should have the required certifications and licenses required. Your home care worker is the one directly caring for and interacting with your loved one, so you should vet them thoroughly. Ask that they pass a background check, have a good work history, and receive ongoing training.
When do you need home health services? Life is not 9-5, so you need an agency that can provide services throughout the day. The best services provide on-call staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Ask about weekends, nights, and holidays. Ask about typical response times and who responds. The more coverage the service can provide, the better care your loved one can receive.
Breakdown of Costs
While the cost of home care can be expensive, this is not the time to look for the cheapest option out there. Check your loved one’s health insurance and ask, what does it cover? Then, ask possible agencies for a breakdown of their costs.
A reputable service should be able to provide you a written breakdown of costs. They should also be able to outline what insurance plans they accept and what costs you should expect to pay out of pocket.
Choose the Best Home Care Agency
Choosing the best home care agency to care for your loved ones is imperative to ensuring their health and safety. Look for an agency that has all of the necessary licensing and credentials. Companies with a long history and a strong reputation typically have a large suite of services and the skilled manpower necessary to provide around-the-clock service.
Check out our other articles for more helpful advice on managing your aging loved one’s finances.