Home Care Tips

TIPS FOR CHOOSING HOME CARE

The scope of Home Care services is very broad. Selecting a home care or private duty agency isn’t always easy. Here are some tips to help you select the right Home Care provider.

1. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SKILLED HOME CARE AND PRIVATE DUTY HOME CARE

Determine whether or not your family member is being discharged from a hospital and has the need for skilled nursing/therapy at home, or if your family physician recommended skilled home care services to help your loved one regain strength or recover from an illness. If the care you need is considered to be more custodial in nature. For example, a private duty caregiver could help your loved one with bathing, dressing or meal preparation. These services are not covered by Medicare.

2. FIND OUT HOW THE HOME CARE SERVICES CAN BE PAID FOR

Medicare will pay for home care for patients considered to be home bound if they are under a physician’s care. It is OK to ask your physician when you begin shopping around if he or she thinks your loved one would meet the criteria.

3. KNOW WHAT YOUR CARE NEEDS ARE NOW, AND PLAN FOR WHAT YOU FUTURE CARE NEEDS WILL BE

What this means is that just because your family member will be receiving skilled nursing services now, doesn’t mean they won’t need private duty services in the near future. It might be easier to select an agency that provides both. These agencies tend to have staff with a greater degree of medical training and skills. The drawback is that the private duty services are usually more expensive than an agency that only deals with personal care and homemaker services. You will need to balance those two factors when making your selection.

4. CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR WHEN THINKING ABOUT HOME CARE

If your loved one is being discharged from the hospital with home health care, ask the social worker or discharge planner about the agency. Have they had any complaints about them? Have they used them before? Also ask who owns the agency. Is it owned by the hospital? You have choices in providers, but you sometimes aren’t aware of that. The hospital agency might be the best one in town but don’t make that assumption. Ask the discharge planner who else they use and who else has a strong reputation for care. Remember, this agency will be coming into your loved one’s home for a least a few weeks. Investigate more than one agency before making your choice.

Your family physician’s office can also be a good resource. Call them and ask them about your top Home Care agency choices. Have they used any of them before? Also ask your family physician if they will still be involved in oversight of care when your loved one is receiving home care.

5. MEET THE CAREGIVER FROM THE HOME CARE AGENCY BEFORE THEY ENTER THE HOME

Most agencies have liaisons or nurses that can come to the hospital or to your home to explain their services. Take them up on that service. Meet with a few agencies. Interview them just like you would a potential employee. Does the caregiver and agency have the right credentials? Be sure to use the SeniorLiving.Net checklist to help you know what to ask. After you meet with a few agencies, your choice will probably be a little easier.

6. FIND OUT HOW MUCH THE HOME CARE AGENCY COSTS

If your loved one meets the criteria for Medicare home care services, the care will be covered. Make sure the agency agrees that they do meet the criteria and they will be billing Medicare for these services. If the services will be private duty, clarify all of the charges up front and get it in writing. Be sure you ask if there is a minimum number of hours per visit, and when the clock starts running. Are you charged from the time the caregiver arrives at your house or from the time they leave the office? Same on their departure. When does the clock stop? Are there any chores or personal care that requires additional fees? Make sure you have a written list of fees for any of these types of services.

Concerned that you need more than just home care? Call your local Care Advisor at  (866) 510-9738 to learn about other senior living and senior care option in your area. Your Care Advisor will find the best community for the level of care you or your loved one needs, that has the desired services and amenities that each community has and is within your monthly budget.