Choosing the Right Home Health Agency for You.
If you are a caregiver, in charge of caring for a loved one at home, then you have probably been thinking about how nice it would be to have some help. A home health care agency can provide services for you and your loved one at home. Nurses, therapists and bathers and more can be provided for you. Medicare patients can have Medicare pay for these services.
There are many of these agencies and most people can decide for themselves who they will use. But choosing a home health agency can be confusing for someone who has never had to choose before.
Where to start? Simple. Ask for help.
Start by asking advice from a trusted physician or nurse who knows the patient and your family, and who knows local home health care agencies. It is likely that a local health care professional knows the directors of local agencies and can give you contact information.
You might also seek a referral from the social work department at your local hospital. Social workers often help patients prepare for their return home from a hospital stay. They’ll know the state departments which certify and license home health care agencies in your state, and they probably have a list of local licensed home health care agencies available for patients.
Another source is the by NAHC (the National Association for Home Care & Hospice) which provides the Home Care & Hospice Agency Locator via their website online. They are a trade association for home health care agencies.
The Home Care & Hospice Agency Locator database has a catalog of more than 33,000 home care and hospice agencies. All are members of the NAHC. They are arranged by location. When I searched for “home care”, selecting a 10 mile radius from our zip code, it listed three agencies. (16 within 20 miles)
Using their database tool, you can easily identify agencies which are Medicare certified, state-licensed and accredited.
The accrediting agencies are;
- Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc.
- Community Health Accreditation Program
- Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
Using this information will help you have the assurance that the agency you’re interested in is professionally managed, licensed, and is part of a professional association of home care agencies.
Once you have collected several possible home health care agencies you’ll want to determine if they offer precisely what your loved one needs. Still, the original mission remains – Choosing a Home Health Agency. You need to ask the right questions in order to make your best choice.
We’ll provide you with a suggested list of questions in our next article, “Questions to ask a Home Healthcare Agency”.
Your thoughts are welcomed –