Updated July 2022

Part 2 in a two-part series

Now that you have decided that you or a loved one needs help at home and the type of care required, it’s time to find the right provider. While it’s hard to admit that assistance is required, choosing a healthcare agency you trust to provide the highest care possible can be even more challenging. That’s why it’s crucial to perform your due diligence and follow the steps that FirstLantic outlines below.

As we described in our blog last week, 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 Alzheimer’s. So, whether you need an aid for several hours a day or a full-time nurse, there are options that can meet your specific needs.

The first step is to assemble a list of providers in your local area. Ask for recommendations from friends, doctors, nurses, and community leaders. Also, you can go to Eldercare.gov; a public service provided free of charge by the U.S. administration on aging. Once you have created a list of providers, there are questions that you should ask each of the home healthcare services as well as other individuals who may know about the provider’s track record.

  • How long has the agency been in business?
  • Does the State license the agency?
  • 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 their family members in developing the care plan? 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 plan copy, and do the caregivers update it as changes occur?
  • Does this provider take time to educate family members on the care plan?
  • 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 home care’s costs and payment plan options?
  • 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?

After going through the list of questions and narrowing down the list of agencies, ask each provider to supply you with a list of references, such as doctors, discharge planners, patients, or their family members.

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?
  • Are you aware of any complaints that have been raised against the agency?
  • Why did you choose this provider as opposed to other ones in the area?
  • Do you know of 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 your relative’s needs, the right senior home care option does exist, but it does take time to find the right one. However, you will never regret doing your due diligence upfront, as this is one of the most important decisions you or a loved one can make.

To find out more about FirstLantic’s home healthcare options, click here.

To read more Firstlantic blogs, click here.