Entrusting someone with your daily care can be difficult, especially with differing opinions and experiences to consider. The number of agency choices can be overwhelming in larger cities leading to decision paralysis. Or for those loved ones that are seeking out an agency to care for their elderly parent or grandparent, it can be a heavy mental load to do all the research and information digging. Here is a quick guide to the 10 things to consider and what questions to ask when choosing a senior home care agency to provide care.
1. Explore the different types of in-home care companies.
Franchised Agencies – these agencies have a more recognizable brand and reputation from their large marketing and advertising plans. They usually have pre-established policies, procedures, pricing, and staff training standards.
Independent Agencies – these agencies have independent operators that have the ability to establish their own policies, procedures, pricing, and staff training. Make sure to ask about the agency’s history and who owns and operates the agency.
2. Ask around to get familiar with recommendations and satisfaction.
Talk to family, friends, doctors, and community members, or simply do a quick Google search to see reviews about the agency. This should give you some direction on which agencies to avoid entirely and which to proceed with the investigation process.
3. Decide what services you need to live independently.
Skilled Nursing Care – this care relates to medical assistance that your doctor prescribes. This is usually due to an underlying health concern or condition that needs monitoring.
Non-Medical Support – this care relates to activities of daily living which can include light housekeeping, transportation, general hygiene, medication management, and meal preparation.
4. Browse services offered.
With your needs assessed and noted, check agencies for their services. If care needs are specific or complicated, most home care agencies can work alongside other care facilitators like hospice or home health care.
5. Do a background check.
Make sure to check the agencies’ history, background, licensure, insurance, and bonds. These are all important factors that will protect you if you choose their services. Each state has its own set of rules that home care agencies must follow, make sure to check with your state’s regulations.
6. Check for staff qualifications.
Ask about the hiring process for caregivers and how the company determines they are qualified for the position. Ask about drug screening, criminal searches, qualifications, and continual education/training.
7. Check the availability of caregivers for scheduling.
Caregiver availability can sometimes be a pain point for senior home care agencies, make sure to ask how caregivers are paired with clients and what schedules are chosen. Also, ask about what happens if your caregiver needs a day off and you are still scheduled for care, who fills in the shift?
8. Ask about care management procedures.
Does the agency create individual care plans for each client? Check on the frequency these care plans are reviewed and updated and how changes in health or needs are communicated/handled.
9. Ask about time minimums.
Many companies have a minimum hourly requirement for senior home care between 2 – 4 hours. Ask about cancellations and how billing works if you cancel a visit. Determine how adjustments to the number of hours needed will be handled.
10. Understand your budget.
Prepare your budget and understand what perks your insurance may have that can cover some of the senior home care expenses. Each agency will have a different set of rates, and it is pertinent to find one that operates within your budget to ensure the longevity of care.
Looking for a senior home care agency can be stressful, especially if you’re trying to find care during a crisis incident. Consider leisurely browsing agencies to understand what home care may look like and having a conversation with your loved one before a crisis ensures to relieve some of the added stress. Use our guide step by step to consider each of these 10 things, and you will have a more rounded view of the home care agency to decide with confidence. If you have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We are your resource.
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