Important Points For Choosing Your Home Healthcare Provider

With reduced hospital stays and many older people choosing to age in place, the role of the home healthcare provider has increased in importance. Home healthcare providers fill the gap that modern society leaves when more people are out working during the day and cannot care for recovering family members or elderly family members. Choosing your home healthcare provider requires some research and an understanding of the needs of those who require this type of service.

Experience
A good home healthcare provider will have a track record over a number of years. They will have already learned some of the problems of the home healthcare situation and set into place policies to anticipate them. They will have a good relationship with previous clients and a record of referrals that make them a known quantity in the healthcare field.

Credentials
You should always check the credentials of the home healthcare workers to determine if they are adequately trained for the tasks they perform. While some home healthcare providers only deal in non-medical help in their clients’ homes, others may provide more specialized home health care, such as nursing care, physical therapy or social work. These agencies should have detailed information on the training and credentials of their workers.

Services
Matching the agency to the type of care needed by patients is of critical importance. Some patients may need the minimal care, such as help with housecleaning, cooking, laundry and transportation. Many older patients require socialization to keep their minds and bodies active. In these cases, a non-medical agency can fulfill these requirements for health care. However, other patients may require monitoring of their vital signs, assistance with medications, physical therapy or other medical procedures. In these cases, a provider with workers who are trained in nursing and other specialties is needed to provide home health care services.

References
A good home healthcare provider agency will be able to provide references of institutions and people that have worked with them in the past and have received satisfactory results. Though all home healthcare agencies must follow rigorous standards instituted by state governments, not all agencies are alike. Thorough research will reveal any problems the agency has had in the past or any violations of current codes of conduct. They will use social media and new technologies to increase their client base and attract referrals.

Specific Questions You Should Ask
A number of questions can tell you a great deal about the scope and professionalism about home healthcare agency.
· Does the agency do a criminal background check on all employees?
· Does the home healthcare provider have brochures that make it easy to see the services they offer and how much they cost?
· Is it an approved Medicare provider?
· Is the agency certified by a national accrediting body?
· Does the agency provide a Patients Bill of Rights to clients?
· By what method do supervisors oversee the care of clients?
· Is a written care plan provided to clients?
· Are staff members available 24/7 for questions or problems?
· What is the method for resolving problems?
· Is patient confidentiality protected?

http://www.carepathways.com/HC-types-of-agencies.cfm

http://www.eldercare.gov/eldercare.net/public/resources/factsheets/home_health_care.aspx

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