Questions To Ask When Comparing In-Home Care Agencies


13Many companies now claim they offer in-home care for seniors. Turn on the TV and you’ll likely see an ad for one of these agencies. It’s easy to pick up the phone and call a company that advertises on TV, but is this the right choice for your loved one? Don’t assume these companies are reputable simply because they are everywhere you turn. Following are seven questions you should ask of any company you or a loved one are considering using for in-home care.

  1. Is your agency certified by Medicare? If the answer is no, continue looking, as Medicare only pays for services provided through agencies they have approved. Take this a step further and ask if the agency is also certified by Medicaid. Although this may not be a concern at this time, circumstances change, and you or your loved one may find Medicaid is needed in the future. If you know now that a company is certified by both Medicare and Medicaid, new providers won’t need to be located if you or your loved one becomes eligible for additional financial assistance. Medicare and Medicaid only pay for certain services, so there may be times when this isn’t an issue, such as when you are hiring someone simply for personal care tasks. It’s best to ask now, however, to ensure the same agency may be used in the future for services paid by these agencies.
  2. What services do you offer? Some patients need skilled nursing services, yet others need more than this. Determine if the agency provides physical, occupational or speech-language pathology services, as these services may be covered by Medicare, as long as all conditions are met. In addition, the insurance provider also covers personal care services in certain cases, so ask if they offer these as well, if you or your loved one currently doesn’t need them, as mentioned above.
  3. Many patients need additional services not covered by Medicare, such as meal delivery. Ask if the agency helps to coordinate these “additional” services or if this will fall solely on the patient, his or her family and caregivers. Some agencies now make recommendations on support services and help to coordinate care, as they know what the patient will benefit from through their work with him or her.
  4. What happens in the event of an emergency? Does the in-home care agency maintain support staff available for situations such as this? It’s best to select an agency that has staff on call nights and weekends, as problems often seem to arise when the primary care physician and other professionals cannot be reached.
  5. What services will be covered by Medicare and what will we be responsible for paying? The agency needs to provide this information in writing as well as verbally. This ensures there are no surprises in the future when it comes to medical bills.
  6. Are background checks conducted on all members of the staff? Sadly, elder abuse is a problem that we hear about all too commonly. You can never be too careful when it comes to your safety or that of a loved one.
  7. What type of training do employees receive? Are they required to undergo continuing education? Furthermore, make certain the caregivers are monitored and supervised. Again, safety needs to be the top priority.

You may have other questions you wish to ask. Make a list to be sure you don’t overlook anything during the process. If any agency refuses to answer these questions, continue looking. You want the best care at all times, and these questions help to ensure that is exactly what you get for you or your loved one.

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July 16, 2018 |

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