Finding Home Health and Home Care Agencies
Although care agencies are the safest and most straightforward means for hiring a home health aide, it’s wise to do your research on any agency you’re interested in working with, as not all agencies are created equally, varying in services offered, reputation, and rules.
One way to locate and learn more about health or home care agencies is by asking the experts who are already part of your loved one’s medical team for their recommendations. They work with patients going through this kind of thing all the time. For a more comprehensive list of groups, your best bet is to check with your state or local health department, social services, or agency for the aiding, either online or over the phone.
Friends, family members, and neighbors are also excellent sources for finding reputable home care agencies in your area. Once you’ve amassed a list of potential home health agencies, narrow it down by visiting their websites for information on their services and fees.
Checklists and Beyond
After you’ve narrowed down your choices to a handful of agencies, it’s time to conduct interviews. Going into interviews with a specific list of questions can help ensure the agency addresses all of your concerns.
Below, I’ve included a handful of questions I encourage friends and family to ask when speaking with care agencies:
- Can you provide me with a written breakdown of your costs?
- What is the availability of your caregivers? (weekdays, weekends, holidays, live-in, etc.)
- What services do you provide? Which options, if any, cost extra?
- Are your caregivers bonded (insured for theft or loss to home) via the agency?
- Is the agency Medicare/Medicaid certified?
- What is the system for resolving client problems? Can we request a different home health aide if we are unhappy?
- Do your caregivers receive ongoing training?
- What are your quality of care standards?
- What type of employee screenings are done?
- Is your agency licensed by the state? What other evidence do you have that supports a positive agency reputation?
Given the risks associated with hiring someone independently, I’ve developed the remainder of this guide as if you are hiring via a care agency. I can only recommend independent hiring on a case-by-case basis.