Choosing someone to care for your family member can be one of the most difficult and stressful decisions you have to make. After all, you want the very best for your loved one, and navigating your way through the options, levels of care and providers available can be overwhelming.
For many older adults, hiring an agency to help with home care is a practical option that can meet their needs, and help them stay independent longer.
What is Home Care?
Home care is assistance in the home that maintains an older adult’s quality of life. It assists with non-medical tasks that they are no longer able to safely and effectively do by themselves.
Home care can include:
- Preparing meals
- Light housekeeping
- Transferring from a bed to a chair
- Assistance using the bathroom
- Running errands
- Reminders to take medicines
Businesses that offer home care, personal care and companion care services to those that need it in their home are commonly called home care agencies.
How Do You Choose a Home Care Agency?
If your loved one could benefit from having a trusted caregiver in the home, a home care agency might be right for them.
When doing your research on home care agencies, here are 10 things you should look for:
- Qualified employees. Home care agencies should hire caregivers that have the appropriate experience and/or certifications necessary to take care of your family member. Many agencies employ state tested nursing assistants or someone certified in first aid and CPR. Ask to be sure the level of care they offer is what your older adult needs.
- Background checks and training. Reputable home care agencies have a solid system in place for hiring employees and checking references. Many conduct competency checks, reference checks, drug screens and tuberculosis tests. Look for an agency that does its homework before hiring someone.
- Nursing oversight. While you won’t need a registered nurse to provide direct patient care, your family member’s plan of care should be written and overseen by a professional nurse.
- Liability Insurance. A trustworthy home health agency will be bonded and insured, and their employees will be covered by worker’s compensation.
- An individualized plan of care. Your family member’s plan of care will be specific to what he or she needs. It will be reviewed on a consistent schedule, and adjusted as needed.
- Documentation and literature. Look for an agency that has business cards, fact sheets, brochures or a website. These items should include a description of their services, contact information and a patient’s bill of rights.
- Family centric. Family is a vital part of an older adult’s care and support. A home care agency should encourage family members to be involved in the plan of care, reporting progress, and discussing outcomes.
- References. Positive reviews from other satisfied clients will make you feel confident in your decision. Ask for references, testimonials, or recommendations from other clients. A reliable home care agency will be able to give you the reassurance you need.
- An initial assessment. A home care agency will want to meet you and your family member before the first visit, assess the home and determine the level of care needed to provide the highest quality of care possible.
- A schedule that accommodates you. Maybe your loved one needs help only in the morning. Or maybe he or she needs assistance throughout the day, on certain days of the week, or only at dinnertime. Ask the home care agency about their hours, including weekends and holidays. A customer-focused home care agency will make every effort to provide care at a day and time that is most convenient for you.
Home care agencies are plentiful, and it can be challenging to narrow down your options. But when you know what you need and what to look for, it becomes easier to identify the home care agency that is right for your family member.
Advanced Home Health Solutions provides home care and personal care services to seniors in and around Columbus, Ohio. We pride ourselves in being an extension of your family, providing care, comfort and support when you need it, where you need it. For questions about choosing a home care agency or to learn more about our services, send us an email, visit our website or contact us at 614-340-9541.