When the decision is made to provide a senior citizen with assisted care, there are a number of questions that should be kept in mind when talking to the various available home care agencies. Here are five questions to ask home care agencies in order to help you find the best match for your situation:
1. What are the home care agency’s qualifications?
Home caregivers should be trained and certified in the areas of assistance that the patient needs. For example, if the patient has Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll want to make sure that the home care agency you’re talking to has home care professionals that are trained to help senior citizens with that particular disease. In addition to putting the patient at ease, having an amply qualified professional helps reduce the worry and stress of relatives and other loved ones who may be sharing the responsibilities of caregiving.
2. Does the home care agency assign each patient with his or her own dedicated caregiver?
It’s hard to receive personal and appropriate care from home care agencies when the caregiver changes from week to week. While employees can change, each senior should have a dedicated caregiver who knows their needs, their desires, and their personalities to give them the best experience possible.
3. How much does it cost compared to other home care agencies?
Every agency handles billing differently, and people considering home care need to know what sort of fees may be associated with it. It’s important to find out if the agency payments are covered by Medicare in whole or in part, what payment plans are available, and what additional charges could crop up at a time of emergency. For in-home care it’s also important to know if the home care agencies pay their caregivers or if they expect payment from their patients directly, particularly for sick days, vacations, or other missed days of care.
4. How does the home care agency handle emergency situations?
Patients and their loved ones both deserve fast, accurate, and knowledgeable communication between the patient, agency and medical practitioners involved. Having a medical emergency and having your family waiting on hold with an agency receptionist is stressful for everyone involved. Whether dealing with a genuine health emergency or a false alarm, both need to be taken equally seriously and dealt with quickly, keeping all parties informed and as calm as possible.
5. Can you access some of the home care agency’s references?
Asking potential home care agencies for references is important so that potential patients can get a sense of how previous patients have been treated, how their families were treated, and how they interact with hospitals and other medical professionals. If possible, a good home care agency should have a doctor or hospital willing to vouch for their quality of care, as well as previous clients who are willing to answer questions about their services.
When it comes to the quality of care that is provided for your elderly loved ones, many would spare no expense. However in these tough economic times it isn’t always an option to be picky. It’s important now more than ever that you choose a home care agency that can provide excellent service without overcharging or causing unnecessary stress. Hopefully with these questions in mind, that decision will be made much more easily.