You and your family have decided that it’s time to bring in external support to help with the care of your family. Of course, you want them to feel comfortable, safe, and independent. You’d like them to live in their own home for as long as possible.
In this case, an in-home caregiver or home care agency is the best option to assist your family in need.
But, choosing the best home care agency is a big job. You’ll want to select a provider that offers the services required by you and your family in a kind, friendly and caring manner.
If you need help choosing the best care for your family, we’re here to help. Here are our five tips for selecting the best home care agency for someone important to you.
1. Get Recommendations
If you’re not sure where to start looking for a home care provider or agency, try to source recommendations. Speak to trusted professionals and community members who may have experience using a home care agency.
Your doctor, financial advisor, attorney, friends, or family members may know some local companies that do a great job.
If your peers don’t have any recommendations, a list of home care providers is usually accessible from your local area agency or hospital. But, these places don’t often make specific recommendations.
2. Determine What Kind of Care Is Needed
You’ll also need to decide what type of care is required. In-home care splits into two categories — skilled nursing care and therapy or non-medical support from a care professional or certified nursing assistant.
Skilled nursing or therapy relates to medical care and assistance prescribed by a doctor, so this is specific treatment directed towards an underlying health condition or long-term illness, or for people recovering from operations or other injuries that require medical attention.
Non-medical support, from a Care Professional or Certified Nursing Assistant involves help with the day-to-day life of a patient. This could include helping with tasks that your family is unable to do. For example, assisting with mobility, showering household maintenance and other activities of daily living.
Both these types of services can work together as part of an overall solution. Once you determine what home care services are needed, then you can look for agencies that offer this type of care.
Once you have a list of agencies, you should make further research on the services they offer. Ask about the selection of services they provide. You may not need them all, but a great home care provider usually has the versatility to provide many layers of comprehensive health care.
If the health care provider offers customized service, this can be a good indication of their quality.
Be sure to ask about the services they offer that are most important to your specific situation. Lots of services will likely be provided, but are these the ones your family needs? When asking about services, be as specific as you can about your situation.
Be direct when asking questions to home health care providers.
3. Research Home Care Agencies
Once you understand what types of home care services you need, you can decide which agency best suits your needs. Then, it’s time to research the provider to make sure your family receives quality care.
Start by asking the agency how long they’ve been providing care. This helps give you an idea about their experience and success, as home care and home health can be very complex.
Those that have been around for a while will likely have learned to address the most important issues. Keep in mind, the age of the home care agency does not necessarily assure you of quality.
In some cases, the newer home care agencies may have more innovative solutions including use of more advanced home health technology. It is simply an indicator, and you do want to know they have had the requisite amount of experience as somethings can only be learned through practice.
Most providers offer reading materials such as leaflets and catalogs. This literature is a great way to read up on the nature of the care provided.
It may also be helpful to ask for references to learn about other client’s experiences so you can identify the best home care agency based on your specific needs….
4. Ask For References
Collecting references is an integral part of the process when choosing a home care agency. When you have a good idea of the provider you’d like to choose, ask them to supply you with a list of references to review. The list may include doctors, discharge planners, patients or their family members, and other industry leaders who understand the importance of quality when assessing home care.
Get in touch with these references and ask them the following questions, along with any others you may have:
- Do you often refer clients to this agency?
- What type of feedback have you received from clients receiving care from this agency?
- Describe the experience and how it might apply to your situation
References allow you to get a feel for the experience and quality of care home care providers have given in the past, including from relatives and clients themselves.
5. Consider Innovation
You should also research the provider’s current monitoring and communications technology. Internal communication is critical to high quality care, and documentation can be a good indicator that you are dealing with a professional, high quality agency who is focused on the key needs.
How much direct, proactive oversight is involved in the care? You don’t want to simply be hiring the home care agency simply for their staffing capability.
How will the home care agency communicate with you, to make sure you are aware of everything you need to be, without it placing a burden on the family to feel they need to be managing the situation and the care professionals, instead of the home care agency.
This can be particularly helpful in more clinical cases, where high quality agencies can also help to communicate with your family’s healthcare network so they are aware of pertinent information.
Choosing the Best Home Care Agency
Remember, choosing the best home care agency to suit the needs of your family is crucial so they can receive quality care. Take the time to carefully plan and vet your choices before deciding on a provider.
This is the long-term care for someone close to you, so quality matters. And quality can vary dramatically so you want to make sure you do your research.
To learn how we provide the highest quality home care in Chicago, get in touch with us today. We can discuss your needs and how we can come up with a customized plan to meet your family’s specific needs.