Choosing A Homecare Agency
You don’t take chances when it comes to your health or the health of a loved one. So when your or their health is compromised, all of the treatment options can seem overwhelming. Luckily, there is a solution – in-home care. Regardless of their situation, many patients find that they prefer to stay in the familiar surroundings of home. Whether 24-hour clinical care is needed or just assistance with things around the home, homecare providers can help.
Homecare services are an excellent option for individuals who need medical attention or even non-medical assistance with daily activities, but would rather receive this care in the comfort of home. Coordinating home medical equipment, attending to disabilities and chronic illnesses, and performing personal care are just a few of the tasks that caregivers can perform in the home. Caregivers are often available on an as-needed basis, with no minimum time constraints. These services are a particularly helpful solution when a family caregiver is unable or unavailable to assist with the patient’s needs.
Whether it’s you or your loved one that requires home healthcare services, choosing the right homecare agency to fulfill your specific care needs is essential. Once you acquire the names of several providers, you will want to learn more about all of the services they provide and the reputations they have developed as a result.
Reputation, Licensing, and Accreditation
When it comes to choosing a homecare company, there are many facets to consider. First and foremost, you should ensure that the company employs highly trained and professional caregivers. After all, the company you select is going to supply you with a caregiver who will have direct contact with you or your loved one. You want to make sure that your caregiver is compassionate and trustworthy, and above all, compatible with your needs. So insist that you meet him or her prior to hiring. Ask about qualifications and credentials, as well as previous homecare service experience.
In addition to providing thoroughly screened and qualified caregivers, reputable homecare companies have the proper certification and accreditation for their state and types of services offered. Inquire about these certifications and services to guarantee that your needs will be met.
Working with a home healthcare company that is licensed in your state, and/or accredited by a national body, is an indicator that they are a trusted homecare provider that is held to higher standards than what is required by the state or federal government. In some states, licensing is not required for companion (non-medical) services. If a company is not licensed for that reason, be sure to ask that company if they follow rules and procedures similar to licensed medical providers. All Maxim offices are licensed, as required, and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). Homecare organizations such as Maxim that have earned accreditation are more committed to maintaining the quality of services they provide.
Management of care
Verify to see if your agency not only hires the caregiver, but handles taxes, workers’ compensation claims, background checks, and other tests. If you select an agency with the proper insurance, including workers’ compensation, it can protect you should something happen to your caregiver while in your home. Maxim screens all of its employees with criminal background checks, DMV checks, and TB tests.
Also, be sure to ask the company if its caregivers are employees of the company. Some companies contract out caregivers for their agency. At Maxim, all caregivers are employees of Maxim Healthcare Services. This provides several advantages for our patients, including giving patients the freedom to not have to worry about insurance, taxes, and liability, as that is our responsibility. Companies that directly employ their caregivers are also more likely to work closely with those employees and offer you greater support.
Meeting your needs
Before hiring a caregiver, the first thing you should do is to write out a list of your needs. That way, when talking to a company you can compare your needs to what they provide. Talk to the provider about who is responsible for the care you receive. Are you overseeing the caregiver or does the home healthcare company provide a clinician or case manager to oversee care? Review all skills necessary for your care. If you are seeking skilled medical care, review all necessary skills that your caregiver may need and all tasks they may need to perform. This will ensure you are matched up with the ideal caregiver.
In addition, before hiring an agency, ask about the continuity of care. Do they offer an in-home visit? Do they work closely with the caregiver to help provide the best service? Will they supply a new caregiver should the one provided not suit your needs? Let’s face it, sometimes personalities don’t mesh well. It is important, as the patient, that you feel as comfortable as possible. Ensuring that a homecare company will work with you to fit your needs is extremely important. Don’t be afraid to ask a company how they handle these difficult situations.
Background Checks, References, and Reliability
When a caregiver comes into your home, you want to ensure it is someone you can trust. Therefore, it is advised to work with a homecare company that does thorough screening and background checks of its employees. Find out if the company you hire goes beyond basic certification checks and also does criminal background checks, skills tests, or verification of residency and credentials. Maxim Healthcare Services adheres to the highest standards for hiring our staff. Each candidate is carefully interviewed and thoroughly screened to ensure our patients have peace of mind that they are receiving the highest level of care available.
It is important to investigate what resources are available in an emergency. Should you need immediate service, or a replacement should your regular caregiver fall ill or have an emergency, ensuring continuity of care is vital. Therefore, it is essential to find a homecare company that can provide service 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, and will find a replacement for your caregiver should that be necessary.
Also, if your situation drastically changes, some homecare companies even provide caregivers to you or your loved one in an assisted living facility. The ultimate goal is to give you quality care in the environment that’s most comfortable. Determine this information up front to save you the trouble of finding a new company if you or your loved one ultimately needs more specialized care.
When searching for a homecare company, look for a company that provides training for its healthcare professionals and office staff. For example, Maxim provides training for and tests all healthcare professionals, but also provides training to its office staff on patient privacy, among other things. It is important to find a homecare agency that you can trust not only with your care, but also your privacy.
To learn more about what to look for in an agency, view our checklist of questions to ask home healthcare providers and other individuals who may know about the provider's track record. Their insight and experiences will help you determine which provider is best for you or your loved one.