How to Find the Right Home Care Services

There Are Two Types of Support You Can Have in Your Home– Home Health and Home Care.

They sound similar but are actually quite different. After a stay in the hospital, a doctor might require someone to be cared for at home on a short-term basis. The request for home health services could be for an RN to monitor medication, vital signs, and wound care among other things. There can also be requests for an at home physical therapist, occupational therapist, or nutritionist. Home health is paid for by Medicare and is arranged by a doctor or a hospital.

Home care services are those paid out of pocket or through some private insurance; they may not necessarily be ordered by a doctor. There are several categories of home care services, such as personal assistance, companion and sitter, Alzheimer’s & Dementia, wheelchair escort, and home support services. When looking for home care services, it is important to ask the right questions.

Ask About the Organization’s Employees:

Make sure the nurses are licensed in the state you live and the aides are certified.

The initials after a person’s name designate their licensure or certification. For example, RN is for Registered Nurse. LPN is for Licensed Practical Nurse. PT is for Physical Therapist. CNA is for Certified Nursing Assistant.

CHHA is for Certified Home Health Aide.

Ask About the Hiring Practices:

• Does the home care organization verify previous employment?

• Do they conduct social security verification, criminal background, and National Sex Offender checks?

• Do they perform employment eligibility verification?

• Does the home care agency employ its workers? Do they deduct taxes, provide benefits, workers compensation and professional liability insurance?

It is important that the company provides workers compensation insurance for their employees. This protects your assets if an employee gets hurt on the job while providing services for you. Professional liability insurance protects the employer from potential catastrophic law suits caused by charges of professional negligence or failure to perform professional duties resulting in physical harm or non-performance of an employee.

Ask About the Supervision of the Employees:

• Are the caregivers supervised by a Registered Nurse and how often will the nurse visit?

• Is there a Nursing Assessment and Home Safety checklist performed prior to starting services with a plan of care outlined by the Registered Nurse?

• Are there competency testing and skills checklists completed before employment?

• What type of orientation is done for all new employees and what mandatory in-services are done on an annual basis?

• If the employee does not show up for work, what happens?

• Do you have 24 hour daily access to a manager?

• Can you meet the caregiver before they start?

• If it’s important that you have the same caregiver over a period of time, confirm that it is possible.

Ask About Anything Else That is Important to You:

• Ask about the owner(s) of the company; how long have they been in business? If you want to meet the owners, how difficult would that be? Do they have a background in healthcare? If so, what experiences and in what areas of health care?

Your browser may not support display of this image. • Ask for references from current and past clients.

• Ask if the company is licensed by the state where it’s doing business and if it’s insured and bonded.

• Request a copy of the grievance policy, as well as who to contact in your state if you need to lodge a complaint.

Above all else, make sure that you choose home care carefully so that you receive the quality services you deserve.

Do not be afraid to ask questions.


Article written by Cecile E. Sutherland

On October 7, 2010, posted in: Health Care Issues, Senior Home Care by

Leave a Reply