One of the most challenging decisions that an aging person’s relative can make is determining if and when to get help with their care and how to choose the right provider. As hard as it is to decide to get assistance, it can often be the best decision for both of you. It doesn’t mean that you are abandoning your loved one but rather that you are helping to ensure that they can remain in the comfort of their own home while also staying safe. However, you must perform your due diligence to make sure that your family member gets the right level of care and that you choose the best provider.
First of all, there are many options regarding the type of help you can get. Home healthcare can range from aids that assist with daily tasks such as cooking, transportation, and even companionship to skilled nurses who can monitor patients who have medical conditions such as dementia or Alzheimers. So, whether you need an aid for several hours a day or a full-time nurse, you have options that can meet the specific needs of your loved one.
Once you have determined the type of care that you need and assembled a list of providers, there are questions that you should ask of the home healthcare service as well as other individuals who may know about the provider’s track record. This insight will help you determine which provider is best for your loved one.
- How long has the agency been in business?
- Is the agency licensed by the State?
- Does the agency meet federal requirements for health and safety?
- Are employees licensed and insured?
- What’s the agency’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating?
- Does the agency service veterans?
- Does this provider supply literature such as a detailed “Patient Bill of Rights” that outlines the providers, patients, and caregivers’ rights and responsibilities?
- How does the provider select and train its employees? Does it protect its workers with written personnel policies, benefits packages, and malpractice insurance?
- Are nurses or therapists required to evaluate the patient’s home care needs? If so, what does this entail? Do they consult the patient’s physicians and family members?
- Does this provider include the patient and his or her family members in developing the plan of care? Are they involved in making care plan changes?
- Is the patient’s course of treatment documented, detailing the specific tasks to be carried out by each professional caregiver? Do the patient and their family receive a copy of this plan, and do the caregivers update it as changes occur? Does this provider take time to educate family members on the care being administered to the patient?
- Does this provider assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care that patients are receiving in their homes? If so, how often do these individuals make visits? Who can family members call with questions or complaints? How does the agency follow up to resolve problems?
- 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 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
- How does this provider ensure patient confidentiality?
- Also, ask the home care provider to supply you with a list of references, such as doctors, discharge planners, patients or their family members, and community leaders familiar with the provider’s quality of service.
Contact the references provided and ask the following questions:
- Do you frequently refer clients to this provider?
- Do you have a contractual relationship with this provider? If so, do you require the provider to meet specific standards for quality care?
- What sort of feedback have you gotten from patients receiving care from this provider, either on an informal basis or through a formal satisfaction survey?
- Do you know of any clients this provider has treated whose cases are similar to mine or my loved ones? If so, can you put me in touch with these individuals?
No matter the needs of your relative, the right senior home care option does exist. However, it takes time to evaluate all of the options available and to determine the best fit.
That’s why FirstLantic wants you to be prepared as possible before making such an important decision. We have been dedicated to providing the highest caliber of home healthcare for over 20 years and we can help you find the right solution, whether it’s hourly, daily, or overnight care.
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