Many elderly individuals struggle to manage daily tasks, or they may suffer from a medical condition that requires constant care and attention. For their family members, the time demands and emotional pressure associated with providing this care can often be too much to handle, especially in light of their other responsibilities.
As a result, the natural impulse is to turn to a home healthcare provider which can furnish experienced caregivers to assist your loved one. Of course, you don’t want just anyone to take care of a parent or grandparent.
Finding the right home healthcare provider starts with asking the right questions.
To better understand what you should look for when choosing a home healthcare provider, I spoke with Jason Bliss, co-founder of Healthy Living Network.
Here are some of the most important questions he recommends you ask as you start your search:
1) What Services Do You Provide?
“No two patients are exactly alike,” Bliss says.
“Because of this, you need to be sure that your home healthcare provider is able to meet the unique needs of your loved one. Some individuals might need help monitoring an acute condition and taking care of household chores; others might need assistance with basic tasks like dressing and bathing. Make sure the provider’s options match your needs.”
The severity of your loved one’s medical condition should always be on your mind as you get information on the services provided by a home healthcare team.
Some individuals require live-in care where someone is present and able to attend to their needs 24/7 — and not every provider has the resources to handle that. Some providers can even assist with hospice care, allowing your loved one to stay in their home until the end of their life.
2) What Are Your Company’s Credentials?
It’s not enough to provide the right type of service — a home healthcare provider must also be able to provide high-quality care that you can trust. During your research, it is essential that you limit your search to agencies that are licensed, federally accredited and Medicare certified.
To qualify for federal accreditation, home healthcare providers must demonstrate a high level of competence, with special emphasis on providing safe care. This process can be quite intensive, with on-site surveys by qualified professionals to carefully evaluate overall performance.
Similarly, the process for obtaining and maintaining Medicare certification requires expert inspections and proof of competent service.
3) What Are Your Caregivers’ Credentials?
Though an organization’s official credentials are a good start, Bliss notes that it is even more important that you can trust the people who will be directly involved in your loved one’s care on a daily basis.
“You should always double-check that a home healthcare provider investigates the credentials and backgrounds of its caregivers. Naturally, they should verify all licenses and qualifications to ensure a person is well suited for the job, but they should also perform a thorough background check. This is the best way to guarantee a patient’s safety and well-being.”
Generally speaking, patients are also better served when caregivers are employees of the parent organization, rather than temporary contractors. This lends itself toward more consistent care and proper bonding and insurance of each caregiver.
Meeting a caregiver in person can also help you determine if they’re a good fit.
4) How Do You Ensure Quality Care?
Even if a home healthcare provider and its employees have the right background, you will still enjoy much greater peace of mind if the company takes additional measures to ensure quality care for your loved one.
“It’s often the little things that make the difference,” says Bliss.
“It’s not easy to receive high-quality care if a different nurse is coming to the house each week. Continuous care from the same nurse — or group of nurses — is crucial for quality outcomes. The provider itself should also take steps to properly oversee caregiver performance through calls or in-person visits. An accountability system will ensure that all needed care is handled properly.”
5) What Are the Financial Costs?
The expenses associated with a home healthcare program can loom large in the minds of patients and their family members. “You never want to be taken by surprise when it comes to home healthcare costs,” Bliss advises.
“If you have any doubts, ask about them! This is especially important in regards to insurance. Knowing which insurance plans are accepted, whether care will be covered by Medicare Part A and which expenses won’t be covered will help you budget properly.”
When not all care will be covered by insurance, understanding the differences between available pricing options from the provider is crucial. Pricing often varies based on the type of care needed as well as the caregiver’s experience level.
Plan appropriately so you can better afford this service.
Your loved one’s caregiver will have a direct impact on their quality of life in their declining years. By conducting adequate research and asking the right questions during your search, you will have confidence in your home healthcare provider selection.