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What Do You Need To Know Before Hiring A Home Healthcare Agency?

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Does your aging loved one need home healthcare? Before you hire a home healthcare agency, take a look at the top questions to ask.

What Services Do You Offer?

Different patients have different needs. This means you may only need one (or a few) services for your aging parent, grandparent, or relative. But, depending on their physical and mental status, your loved one may require extra care or help around the home.

Services to look for include the following:

  1. Help with activities of daily life. These include dressing, bathing, moving positions, hygiene activities, or other activities your loved one does every day.
  2. Basic medical care. While a home health provider won't offer the same service that a doctor would, they may take vitals, administer medications, or provide physical/occupational therapies.
  3. Cleaning and homecare tasks. Some home health providers also help patients to clean their homes (typical surface, not in-depth, cleaning) or with other similar tasks.
  4. Shopping. Can your loved one go to the store by themselves? If not, the healthcare provider may assist with these activities.
  5. Coordinating care. The agency may help to coordinate care between the home health care worker and doctors, nurses, therapists, or other medical professionals.

Additional services vary by provider. If the agency doesn't offer everything your loved one needs, you may have to combine providers or look elsewhere.

What Are Your Qualifications?

Does your loved one require skilled nursing care, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or physical therapy? If they have specific needs, you need to hire a provider who has the experience and expertise to truly help. Along with these qualifications, the agency itself should meet your standards.

Qualifications to look for include the following:

  1. Professional credentials. Anyone who calls themselves a nurse or a therapist (occupational, physical, psychological) should have a license or professional credential.
  2. Educational background. Professional healthcare providers should have a degree in their field. This may include anything from a diploma or associate's degree to a master's degree or PhD.
  3. Employee screening. Home healthcare agencies should screen all employees. Ask about the screening process, clearances, and background checks before you hire anyone to come into your home or a loved one's home.
  4. State licensing. Does the agency have the appropriate and necessary state licensing to operate in your area?

Any reputable healthcare agency should provide you with staff qualifications and related information. These can help you to make an informed decision and, along with the answers to your other questions, can help you to get the best care possible for your aging loved one.