When a loved one is ill and needs home health care from a professional agency, it is not always clear which one to contact. Sometimes the doctor will prescribe an agency that works with other patients of the medical practice. But if not, it is up to the family to find a health care agency that provides high quality care. To locate health care services that will benefit your loved one who needs professional assistance at home, here are five tips that may help.
🏥 Contact the local Medical Association.
Many areas have a city, county, or state medical association that provides referrals for physician specialists. They may be able to recommend names of reputable home health care providers, or at least the names of doctors who specialize in medical areas that frequently utilize home care agencies and can suggest the leading home care specialists in the community.
🏥 Ask a social worker.
If the homebound family member has recently been hospitalized or has spent time in a rehab facility or nursing home, the resident social worker may be able to refer you to a home care assistance program that will meet a loved one’s health care needs at home. If routine nurse checkups are needed, or if a nursing assistant can check vital signs and evaluate the patient for symptoms, a social worker will know which agency to suggest as a possible resource for specific homebound patient needs.
🏥 Check references.
When references are offered for nursing agency staff, it is always a good idea to check them before signing a contract with the agency. Have three or four questions ready for a phone conversation or email exchange concerning the quality of assistance provided, timeliness, bedside manner, and coordination with the doctor’s orders. If letter references are provided, make sure they are up to date, or ask for more recent ones.
🏥 Consult the Better Business Bureau.
The local Better Business Bureau maintains records of consumer complaints and agency response or resolution. Even if an agency does not have a file with the BBB, that does not necessarily mean they are fine to work with, but it does help to know if a complaint has been brought and how it was resolved.
🏥 Ask reliable sources for a recommendation.
Often, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and other relatives can recommend a home health care agency based on positive experience with the agency. Word of mouth is an effective way to discuss agencies to work with and others to avoid.
Hiring home care agency staff to help care for an ailing loved one requires thoughtful consideration of available services. Use methods like these to find the best fit for your family’s home health care needs.