8 Tips To Find A Good Medicare Approved Home Health Care Agency

8 Tips To Find A Good Medicare Approved Home Health Care Agency

At some point in life, many seniors will be faced with complex decisions about their ongoing healthcare. Acute and chronic medical conditions as well as post-surgical periods inevitably creep into our lives via the aging process.

Part of our healthcare needs may at one time or another will include rehabilitation or recovery.

To minimize confusion, let’s define home healthcare. The overall goals of home healthcare services are to help clients restore function in their lives after illness or injury in the comfort of their own home.

Hospice or palliative care is not necessarily included in this umbrella of services since the goal is to provide quality of life for end-of-life situations such as terminal illness.

Medical and rehabilitative staff make scheduled appearances in their clients’ homes and carry out a methodically developed treatment plan.

Home health services provide multiple forms of medical and rehabilitative care, depending on what clients are in need of. Clients and caregivers can take proactive steps to ensure they are getting the care that they require before home health employees walk through their door.

Here are a few simple tips for finding a high-quality home healthcare agency that suits your needs:

  • Conduct your own research: While patients are in the hospital and are preparing for discharge, medical staff will usually recommend home health services when and where appropriate.

    Additionally, some hospitals will offer patients home healthcare agencies’ information and go as far as setting up services at home before the patient even leaves the hospital.

    This is meant to add some convenience to the transition home for recovery.

However, patients and their family members/caregivers are welcome to perform their own research pertaining to home healthcare agencies available to them in their residential area.

More than likely, each agency will have a website, email, and phone number available to set up consults and to provide information about their company and services.

  • Examine insurance and finances first: 

    Amongst the listed research items should be health insurance coverage. Patients should inquire about what insurance plans home healthcare agencies will accept first.This includes the amount of coverage, for what specific services, and for what duration.

    Service duration is often determined by the type of medical condition(s) the client has, but financially speaking it is health insurance that is the main contributor.

 

  • Get a feel for communication style and effectiveness: 

    When talking to representatives and employees of prospective home healthcare agencies, take note of how well they communicate with potential clients. What is their style?Do they primarily communicate through email, phone call, text? Are they readily available during the day if needed?

    If you have to leave a message, do they respond in a timely manner?

Aside from basic customer service manners, think about how employees will communicate with clients in their homes and about their medical needs.

Will staff provide a heads-up to the best of their abilities if appointments are cancelled or postponed?

How well do employees communicate across disciplines (i.e. doctors, nurses, CNAs, therapists, etc.) to make sure the client is on the same treatment plan?

 

  • Observe rapport building strategies: 

    Consider how well medical staff make attempts to creating healthy relationships with their clients.One simple way agencies can do this is to send in the same employees over and over again for each individual service.

    This provides clients with consistency, but also gives them opportunity to develop trust and appropriate friendships with staff members.

    On the other hand, if there is a clash between employees and clients, assess whether or not the agency is quick to addressing the issues and possibly switching out employees.

  • Assess your individual medical conditions: As a potential client, what do you actually need from a home healthcare agency?

    If you are coming home directly from the hospital, your primary physician may have already made recommendations for the types of services you require.

    The goal of home health is to provide specific care at home in order to help the client make a full recovery so as to function as safely and independently as possible.

Depending on the hospitalization, recovery plans will look different for each client.

If someone is recovering from a total hip replacement, the doctor may require occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing services at home.

If another patient is sent home after a bout of acute illness resulting in respiratory failure, the doctor may recommend similar services as well as respiratory services and relevant equipment (O2 tanks, ventilators, CPAPs, etc.).

 

  • Analyze services available: 

    In the United States, home healthcare agency services are almost universal.Services frequently include: nursing, home health aides, in-home doctor visits, social services, respiratory care, transportation, rehabilitative services (physical, occupational, and speech therapy), pharmaceutical services, in-home lab and x-ray visits, nutritional care, and volunteer care.

    It never hurts to double-check what services are actually available to clients through prospective agencies.

Many senior clients will not necessarily require all medical and rehabilitative services available.

As mentioned previously, primary physicians will aid in developing a plan-of-care that includes services relevant to the client’s needs.

 

  • Ask about hiring processes for employees: 

    For security and safety reasons, many seniors and caregivers would like to know who is actually coming into their home.Consult with home healthcare agencies to determine what the hiring process is like for new employees including qualifications, screening processes, and background checks.

    Learn about company policy pertaining to dress requirements such as uniforms and nametags so as to prevent complete strangers from entering the home.

On top of managing new illnesses, surgical operations, or injuries, finding a home healthcare agency can be an intimidating ordeal for first-time clients and caregivers.

More than likely, if you are discharging home from a hospital setting, the majority of those affairs associated with your home healthcare plan will be recommended or set up by the hospital staff prior to you leaving.

If you prefer to have more control over your home healthcare plan, feel free to use our suggested tips to get started.

Author: Samuel

Samuel is a physical therapist with over 20 years medical experience. He has extensive knowledge in functional rehabilitation in the acute care hospital and in-home care settings. He has spent most of his career helping seniors transition from hospital or rehab care to living independently at home. In his free time he likes to travel and read autobiographies.

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