How To Choose Home Care Services That Meet Your Needs

August 2, 2012 § 3 Comments

Making the decision to hire a service to provide in-home care for your loved one is an important decision that can be very difficult. If an illness or recovery from surgery requires nursing care or physical therapy, a doctor may order home care services. In that case, your decision is based on the medical needs prescribed by the doctor. But what if the family caregiver has to determine the extent of care needed without the help of a doctor?
Each home care situation is unique. Many times in the beginning, family or friends step in to help with simple tasks and support for elders who want to stay in their homes. As long term care needs progress, more time is required to manage those needs. Physical and mental conditions change with aging making usually routine hygiene and daily living activities difficult for the aging individual and their caregivers. Even with the healthiest of seniors, the ability to drive a car, shop for groceries or do general housekeeping may need to be turned over to another person.
Before starting your search for a home care company, determine what the care needs are and how much time each week will be required for assistance from the company. You may want to consult with the senior’s doctor, other family members or a care manager to help you determine what the needs really are. Most home care companies will also help you do an assessment at no charge. Once you have your list of needs compiled, you are ready to begin your search.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (http://www.nahc.org/home.html) gives the following guidelines for searching for a home care company.

  • How long has this provider been serving the community?
  • Does this provider supply literature explaining its services, eligibility requirements, fees, and funding sources? Many providers furnish their home care clients with a detailed “Patient Bill of Rights” that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the providers, clients, and family caregivers alike.
  • How does this provider select and train its employees? Does it protect its workers with written personnel policies and malpractice insurance? Does it protect clients from theft or abuse by bonding its employees?
  • Does this provider assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care clients are receiving in their homes? If so, how often do these individuals make visits? Who can the client and his or her family members call with questions or complaints? How does the company follow up on and resolve problems?
  • What are the financial procedures of this provider? Does the provider furnish written statements explaining all of the costs and payment plan options associated with home care?
  • What procedures does this provider have in place to handle emergencies? Are its caregivers available on notice?
  • How does this provider ensure client confidentiality?
  • If a home care company has not previously been recommended to you, ask for a list of previous clients and make sure to call and ask them for their experience with this provider.

Have you had to hire a home care provider? What lessons did you learn during your search? Let us know in the comments below.

The Law Office of Dawn M. Weekly, PC is located in Sandwich, Illinois and focuses on elder law and Life Care Planning for clients.  The office may be reached by calling 815-570-2334.

   Every day of every week, Weekly Law is there for you.

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§ 3 Responses to How To Choose Home Care Services That Meet Your Needs

  • Pat says:

    Hi Dawn:

    Nice article, don’t forget Elder resource networks like Silver Connections help families at no cost to them find quality service providers at all levels of care:)
    Pat.odea@asilverconnection.com

  • Mark says:

    Great post. Truly enjoyed while reading.

  • Cindy Marie says:

    Thank you for this invaluable information. I am just starting the task of searching for answers to my questions. This list has given me a starting point of what to ask perspective in home care companies. There is a lot of information out there and this is one of the best lists of questions to find answers to that I have found once again Thank You.

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