By Tina Costa, RN, Area Director Operations, Arcadia Home Care & Staffing
Home care providers are companies which provide services to home bound clients who need assistance in order to live independently. Services include assistance with activities of daily living such as meal preparation, shopping, laundry, medication reminders and transportation. For many home bound elderly, it is the companionship of regular visitors to the home that provides the greatest lifeline to safety and wellness, both physical and emotional.
While there are many home care agencies in existence these days that offer similar services, it is the differences from one company to the next that should considered when navigating through the selection process. An investment of a little bit of time on the front end of the selection process is vital to securing a genuine sense of confidence in the choices that are made.
It probably seems obvious, “a no-brainer” of sorts, to look at providers that have been in the home health industry for a number of years, are licensed, bonded and insured as well as have a proven record of quality customer service. Well, that could not be more critical, especially when it comes to inviting people into your client’s lives and their homes. A proven track record and how a company values their employees can speak volumes in terms of credibility.
How does the agency recruit, screen, hire and train their professional caregivers? Clearly, there are laws and regulations in place to help direct minimum requirements with regard to this aspect of home care, but what else does the company do? How do they go above & beyond? Will they schedule caregiver interviews for new clients? Meeting expectations is good, but when it comes to caring for those we love, isn’t it important to exceed expectations?
You can assist your clients in the selection process by sharing with them this list of things to consider:
• How long has the agency been serving the community?
• Are caregivers employed by the agency?
• How does the agency screen potential caregivers?
• Are caregivers offered ongoing training?
• Are caregivers supervised by health care professionals? In what manner and how often?
• Are services available based on the client’s needs with no minimum requirement?
• Is the agency staff available directly 24 hours?
• Does the agency offer a free in-person consultation to meet the customer and family?
• Is care management available?
• Is the caregiver provided with a written service plan and clear direction?
• Is the agency licensed or accredited?
• Does the agency specialize in any particular service?
• How are services billed?
Clearly, the economy and the resources of each client must be factors in not only the selection of a provider but also with respect to the extent of services to be provided. The key is to find a realistic balance between quality service, safety and cost. There are so many incredible resources at your client’s disposal; each client should be encouraged to ask questions and ensure that decisions are made only after obtaining a full understanding of what will be provided, by whom and at what cost. The best defense against potential “bad guys” is a creative and educated offense.
If any Lifelines Network member would like to gain a better understanding of home care services, I encourage you to contact me with your questions. Visit my profile to obtain my contact information.