It's hard enough to make the decision about the care of an aging relative. But it becomes especially challenging when you don't know where to begin. It's important to know what to look for and questions to ask an in-home care agency to find the right one.
There are many reputable home care agencies. But their range of services is not the same. Finding the right in-home care agency requires thorough research. More than the type of services they provide, you also need to assess their reliability and trustworthiness.
The right home health aide will be like a friend or companion to your aging loved one. You can rest easy that your loved one is in good hands.
What Type of Services Does an In-Home Care Agency Offer?
But some agencies offer all three types of services.
So what's the difference between these services?
In-Home Senior Care: Homemaker companions provide assistance for your loved one. They will help with house duties and meal preparation. Additionally, they will ensure the safety of your loved one while at home or when going to other places.
Home Health Aide: They provide physical assistance with daily activities like bathing, toileting, eating, dressing, and exercising. Look for a home health aide who has met the state certification training requirements to perform these duties.
Skilled Nursing Care: This is the only in-home care service type that requires an order from a physician. Any service performed will follow the prescribed protocol and be conducted by an RN or LPN.
An in-home care agency with skilled nursing care is perfect for:
Aging seniors with health issues or those who need specialized medical care
Those who require post-hospital rehabilitation at home.
People who are recovering from an injury or medical condition
Long Term Care: This includes a broad range of medical and non-medical services. The goal is to help patients maintain quality of life and achieve a level of independence.
Understanding the different services offered by health aide agencies is the first step.
So what's next?
Getting Started: Finding the Right In-Home Care Agency
Know What Services You Need
First, have a good idea of what you need.
For instance, if you're looking for companionship and assistance for your aging relative, consider these questions:
Do they need help with daily activities?
Do they need assistance with taking their medications?
Can they still take care of themselves but simply needs help with house duties?
If you're unsure, don’t let this slow you down, any reputable home health agency will perform a complimentary in-home care assessment by a registered nurse. Doing so will help you decide what's best for your loved one.
Check Staff Credentials and Conduct Background Checks
You will be entrusting your loved one in their hands. So it's important to be extra careful.
Find out whether the agency performs a background check on their in-home caregivers and registered nurses. Make sure that the agency has proper screening procedures.
Most importantly, the in-home care agency must meet training and certification requirements. Some of the basic certifications you should look for include CPR and First Aid.
Will The Caregivers Be Supervised?
One of the most common concerns is the lack of supervision. So ask how the agency supervises their caregivers.
Many seeking care aren’t aware that many agencies will send caregivers that are independent contractors or from a staffing agency. By law they can’t have the same level of supervision over a contractor compared to a W-2 employee. So ask about this.
Will their supervisors drop in for visits? Will they have home care software that will help manage home care plans?
Top Questions to Ask an In-Home Care Agency
Is the agency accredited by the state? Ask to see their current licenses and registration.
Are the employees licensed and insured?
Does a supervisor drop in for a visit?