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How to Select the Best Home Care Agency

How to Select the Best Home Care Agency in MarylandIf you or a loved one is recovering from surgery or needs long term care for a chronic illness, you may be interested in home care services. Home care agencies provide services that range from skilled care, such as nurses and therapists, to home support such as cleaning, cooking, running errands and companionship. Often, the best place to receive ongoing care may be in the comfort of your own home.

It is important to know what questions to ask the various agencies and registries while shopping for the best care for your needs. Below are some suggestions.

General Questions to Ask Your Home Care Agency

  • What services does the agency provide?
  • How long has the agency been in business?
  • Is the agency licensed and bonded?
  • Are the caregivers employees of your organization or are they independent contractors?
  • Do you have an RN who overseas your clients and caregivers?
  • Do you charge for an initial consultation?
  • What types of contracts or forms must I sign?
  • How many days or weeks in advance must I request assistance?
  • Will someone from your office come to our home, to the hospital, or another facility to do an assessment?
  • If I am dissatisfied with the caregiver, how is it handled? In general, how will my complaints be handled?
  • What happens in the event that the caregiver is sick or otherwise unable to work?
  • Is there an emergency number I can call after hours?

Home Care Agency Selection Process

  • What type of screening process of the caregivers does the agency perform?
  • How extensively does the agency perform background checks?
  • What geographical areas are covered in the background checks?
  • What level of experience or skill must the caregiver possess?
  • How long have your average caregivers been caring for patients?
  • Are your caregivers licensed and/or certified?
  • Are your caregivers experienced with illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease?
  • How does the agency determine which caregiver will suit the needs of my family?
  • Does the agency allow our family to interview the caregivers?

Home Care Scheduling Questions

  • How do I determine the most effective schedule to adequately care for my needs?
  • Are there a minimum or maximum number of hours of home care services per day?
  • Are caregivers available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if needed?
  • How do I make changes to my caregiver’s schedule in the event of an emergency?

Costs Related to Home Health Care

  • Will long-term care insurance pay for home care expenses?
  • Will Medicare/Medicaid pay for my home care expenses?
  • What is the hourly rate charged for a caregiver?
  • Does the rate change on nights and weekends?
  • What is the live-in or daily rate charged for a caregiver?
  • Do you accept credit cards?

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