Home health services are the sort of service that can be invaluable and can help seniors live in their own homes far longer than they might otherwise be able to. But because there is such an overwhelming demand for in-home services, recent years have seen a proliferation of providers– legitimate and otherwise.
For that reason, you should be cautious when you’re looking into assisted care for your parents, especially in-home assisted care. After all, you’re inviting people into your home and entrusting the care of a vulnerable loved one to them.
Most companies providing in-home health care are reputable and reliable. But how can you be sure that the ones you are considering are reliable?
Start your search for information with a person that you already trust. That might mean consulting a medical professional like your parent’s physician or specialist. But sometimes, you can find more information than you might imagine by speaking with others who have been in a similar situation— friends, neighbors, or coworkers.
Treat in-home care as you would any other service.
Do your research.
Call a city agency that acts as an advocate for seniors. Or an agency that deals specifically with consumer issues. Read about in-home providers on the internet, but don’t be wooed by a beautiful web site. Anyone can pay for a lovely design. You’re looking for quality of care.
And you can start with making sure that that the agency in question is licensed by the state and recognized by Medicare or your parent’s insurance provider.
Another good indication of the quality of care would be certification or membership in a national (or international) recognized regulatory organization like the National Association for Home Care & Hospice or CARF.
While you may be focusing your attention on providers that are fully licensed and authorized to provide limited medical care, you shouldn’t overlook franchises that provide homemaker and personal care services. Some of these providers may offer exactly the limited, unobtrusive in-home assistance that your parents are looking for.
One of the most wide-spread of this particular brand of provider is Home Helpers— which has multiple locations in Greater Cincinnati.
Like many providers in the field, Home Helpers provides everything except medical assistance. Sometimes, people merely need help with various chores around the home or with shopping or correspondence.
Cut through the clutter.
The more you look, of course, the more providers you’ll find. And the more confusing the search may feel to you. You’ll find groups like our own partner Home Care by Blackstone – but the list is dizzyingly long.
Whether or not you end up dealing with an organization aligned with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, you might want to take a look at the group’s Code of Ethics. It has all the things that you should be looking for – demanding, in fact – from a home health provider. Be sure to read through the section that lists Patient Rights and Responsibilities.
Here are a few things that are especially important:
- The patient has the right to appropriate and professional care relating to physician orders.
- The patient has the right to receive information necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment.
- The patient has the right to receive a timely response from the agency to his request for service.
- The patient has the right to be informed within reasonable time of anticipated termination of service or plans for transfer to another agency.
- The patient has the right to voice grievances and suggest changes in service or staff without fear of restraint or discrimination.
These are the sorts of things that you should be inquiring about with every provider of assisted care. And they are, most definitely, among the things that you should expect from a reputable provider.
Do your homework. Lots and lots of it. This is a huge decision you’re considering.
You will never regret the time you spend in making the right decision.