How to Choose a Homecare Agency that is Right for You

Choosing the right homecare agency, along with making the decision that you needs help at home is difficult. Therefore we understand that choosing which Homecare Company can be even more daunting.

Platinum Select Nursing has helped thousands of families lovingly make these decisions. First, we highly recommends that you outline the needs of your loved one. This way you will know exactly what services will be required. Second, interview several companies before making your decision. It will be much easier to determine which company is right for you, if you know your needs.

Understanding your Needs Will Help You to Choose a Home Care Company that is Right For You

When choosing the right homecare agency, you will need to determine what level of care you or your loved one requires. Do you need in home non-medical care? This service can assist with everyday activities? Or do you need in home medical services?

Non-medical homecare involves personal care (including personal hygiene needs). These homecare services provides valuable social interaction, help with household chores, and assist with all activities of daily living including:

  • Meal Preparation
  • Laundry
  • Light Housework
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Toileting
  • Transportation
  • Ambulating
  • Medication Reminders
  • Driving/Errands/MD appointments

These services are provided by Home Health Aides (HHA), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) or companions.

Medical Home Health Care is more medical in nature and will need a prescription from a doctor. Healthcare professionals such as registered nurses (RN), and licensed practical nurses (LPN) provide the4se services. Certain patients might even require services that are provided by by physical (PT), occupational (OT), and speech-language therapists (ST).

Medical home health care provides skilled nursing services that include;

  • Administration of medication (including IVs and injections)
  • Monitoring Vital Signs
  • Wound care
  • Assistance with recovery from illness or injury
  • Monitoring of medical equipment
  • Expertise in specific medical conditions (like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia)
  • Cardiac Monitoring
  • Diabetic Management

Platinum Select Nursing overlaps into both realms of Home Health Care. We offer non-medical and medical services. This is extremely helpful if you identify the need for both types of household assistance in your home care plan.

Cost is an important factor, but not the most important in how to Choose a Homecare Company

“How much does it cost?” is one of the first question that most families ask.  Since Home Care services are personalized for each client, it is not an easy question to answer. Hence each “plan of care” is created around the clients personal needs. Therefore, a great deal of information is taken during the at home intake or phone consult. This is the only way an accurate quote can be given.

However a company should be able to provide a range of hourly rates to begin the conversation and learn more about the client and their needs.

Policy and Procedures

Understanding an agencies hourly rates is important. However you also want to find out what the companies policies and procedures are. One of the many benefits of using a licensed home care agency is that they must have a full time on-staff Registered Nurse. They oversee the client’s plan of care, therefore focusing on clients needs first and foremost The agency can assist you by managing your caregivers schedule and schedule changes.  The greatest benefit of working with an agency is that you have the ability to communicate with the RN that oversees your plan of care. This allows you to discuss any changes you may want to make. This way, the client can be involved as much as they want in directing their own care.

Care management and care advocate services are also available to assist navigate all your home care needs.

A few other questions you might want to ask to help you choose a homecare company that is right for you

  • What is your procedure to screen your caregivers?
  • After a plan of care is written for a client, how often do you evaluate and update it?
  • What is your policy on replacements caregivers if the caregiver cannot work a day or two?
  • How does your agency communicate with a client and their family members?
  • How do you match your clients with caregivers?

Insurance Questions –

  • How often will I be billed?
  • Determine the accepted types of payment and whether a credit card is required for a deposit for services.
  • Ask if the company will accept long-term care insurance and whether they will bill the insurance company directly. Will they take payment assignments of your claims or do they require you to pay up front and then seek reimbursement?
  • Can I reach your agency 24 hours in case of emergencies?

Time Minimums

Many companies have a minimum hourly requirement for visits. This can make it difficult if you need a care giver for one or two hours, one or two days a week. Each company is different so be sure to ask about their minimum hours of service they can provide.

Franchise or Privately Owned Home Care Companies

The size, ownership and business models of home care companies greatly vary. Most home care agencies are either privately owned or they are part of a larger franchise.  Each has pros and cons.

Franchised agencies are usually more recognized because of their large marketing and advertising budget. They may also rely on the franchisor for their policies as well as their caregiver training. This means that their procedures can be well laid out, but more stringent and less likely to conform to individual needs.

You are less likely to hear of a privately owned agency through marketing plans. However their word of mouth recommendations are more authentic than TV or print ads. They can establish their own policy, procedures and vetting process. They are more flexible than larger corporations. This allows them to work with you, and any special circumstances you might have.

Support Staff

Remember that you will be interacting with many employees of the agencies office staff. It is not just “your” caregiver that will determine if the core values of the company are a good match for you and your needs. Your decision may rely on the positive or negative contact you have with the company’s other employees. Above all, these interactions will give you an overall impression on how the agency operates as a whole.

Does Experience Count? Only if You Have It? 

When choosing the right homecare agency, it is important to find out about their experience and  history. You want to find out how long the company has been in business. In other words, how long have they been providing care?

Ask questions to find out if the owner or manager of the agency has experience in the home care field?  And if so, what is their experience?

Always verify that your Home Care Company is fully Licensed & Insured

Licensing laws will vary by state. If you live in a state that requires licensing, the agency should be able to show you documentation that all their paperwork is in order.

Platinum Select Nursing fully vetts, and fingerprints our Caregivers. They are also registered, licensed and insured as well as undergoing   Level 2 background checks.

As well, all home care companies need to have insurance coverage in place. Request a copy of the company’s “insurance declaration page” as proof of their coverage.

Check the Home Care Company’s Reputation

These days it is very easy to check the reputation of home care agencies. Social Media has made the job easier than ever. Yelp, Google and Facebook gives satisfied and unsatisfied clients and their family members a place to share. These reviews are usually the most honest and authentic. It is the best way to check out the company’s reputation.

Therefore, when you don’t personally know of anyone who has hired a home care company, consumer reviews and ratings are a great way to learn about specific companies in your area.

Establishing Trust and Making a Confident Decision

In conclusion, choosing the right homecare agency that fits your needs, has a great reputation around town, and answers all your questions can be overwhelming. Asking the right questions, is important. Yet, feeling comfortable with the answers and who is answering your questions, is just as important. Remember, this agency will be taking care of you or your loved one. It is extremely important to feel comfortable and confident with the entire office. Above all, it is important to be able to speak with “the one in charge” when your need arises.

Make sure the company you choose is available to you. As a result, this will help you create a positive relationship with them, hence establishing trust. Consequently, once you choose the right homecare agency, you need to feel confident in the decision you make. Creating a good lasting relationship between the agency and the client is the key to a successful home care experience.