There are many important factors to consider in choosing the best agency to meet your needs, the most important of which is to first determine the types of services you or your loved one will need.
If you chose a nonprofit home health care or agency, then you receive care regardless of your complexity of condition or ability to pay. Nonprofit home health care agencies also provide a variety of community-benefits and by using them you are also giving back to your community.
When selecting an agency, it is important to ask the appropriate questions during your initial meeting. Below is a list of sample questions:
- How many years has the agency been serving your community?
- Does the agency offer print material describing its services and costs? (i.e. brochures, flyers)
- Is the agency an approved Medicare provider?
- Is the agency accredited? In other words, has their quality of care been surveyed and approved by an outside accrediting organization (such as CHAP or Medicare)?
- Is the agency licensed by your state (if required)?
- Does the agency provide patients with a “Bill of Rights” that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the agency, patient, and caregiver alike?
- Is there a written plan of care for the patient’s treatment that the patient, physician and family participate in developing?
- Is this plan updated over the course of the treatment?
- Does the patient get a copy of the plan?
- Does the agency staff educate the family members on the care being administered to the patient and ways they can assist?
- Is the patient’s course of treatment documented, detailing the specific tasks to be carried out by each professional? (i.e. medicines, exercises, daily activities)
- Are supervisors assigned to oversee care to ensure that the patient receive quality treatment?
- Are agency caregivers available seven days a week?
- Does the agency have a nursing supervisor on call and available 24 hours a day?
- Does the agency ensure patient confidentiality? How?
- How are agency employees hired and trained?
- Does the agency require criminal record background checks and communicable disease screens for its employees?
- What is the procedure for resolving issues that may arise between the patient/family and home healthcare staff?
- Who can you call with questions or complaints regarding patient care, caretaker issues or general questions?
- What happens if a staff member fails to make a scheduled visit?
- What should the patient do in this situation?
- Who does the agency call if the agency caretaker cannot come when scheduled? (i.e. patient or family member)
- What is the agency caretaker required to do? (i.e. inform patient, reschedule)
- How does the agency handle billing? (i.e., will I be billed for services?)
- Will the agency provide a list of references?