If you or your loved ones require additional support to remain safely at home, recover from surgery, or need long-term care for a chronic illness, you may be interested in home health care services provided by an agency.
Selecting the right agency is an important decision which requires research and time. When you invite someone into your home, you want to trust and feel confidence in that person.
Different home care agencies offer a variety of services that can range from non-medical care, such as meal preparation, housekeeping, medication reminders or running errands, to complex medical care provided by registered nurses or health care professionals.
It is important to compare the services different home care agencies provide in order to find the best provider for your needs. Before you interview an agency, consider what is important to you and what questions you want to ask to help ensure you receive quality assistance.
Here are some things you may want to consider when choosing an agency for you or a loved one:
1. What type of services does the agency provide?
Depending on your needs, check what variety of medical and non-medical services the agency is able to offer. Services may include housekeeping, meal preparation, medication management, bathing/dressing, personal grooming, transfers, full-time home care for a chronic condition, personalized rehabilitation or palliative nursing care.
A full service agency will also handle hiring, scheduling, and payroll so you and your loved one can focus on getting the care you need.
2. How long have you been providing home care services for?
Choose an agency with a proven track record that can provide references and testimonials. Take time to check the references thoroughly. Ask for referrals from clients, doctors, and other medical professionals.
3. Can you start immediately or is there a waiting list?
You or your loved one might be in need of care in a sudden emergency. Choose an agency that doesn’t have a waiting list and can provide services immediately.
4. Will you do an assessment and put together a personal care plan before service begins?
A reputable agency will send a nurse to meet with you, your family and attending professionals to make sure the resulting home health care plan is a perfect fit for you. The care plan should include details about specific care needs and medical equipment, input from the family doctor, and be updated frequently.
5. Are nurses available to supervise the care?
If so, how closely does the Nursing Supervisor evaluate the quality of home care? A big advantage of working with a reputable agency is that all caregivers should be supervised by nurses.
6. What qualifications do the caregivers have?
How does the agency hire and train health care workers? Does the agency provide continuing education? What type of screening is done?
Make sure you are comfortable with the level of training and experience the caregiver has. A good agency will screen, interview and train their caregivers. References and criminal records should always be checked by the agency prior to hiring.
7. Are the caregivers bonded and insured?
To protect you, caregivers, and the agency, a home care agency will only send caregivers who are bonded and insured to your home.
8. Is care available 24/7, if necessary?
Depending on your health need, you may require 24-hour care or to arrange care with very little notice. Make sure the agency you choose can accommodate your needs with flexibility and great service.
9. Is the agency inspected by an outside organization such as Accreditation Canada?
Accreditation Canada is a non-profit, independent group that provides health organizations with an external peer review to assess the quality of their services based on standards of excellence. If an agency is accredited, ask to see the results of the most recent survey.
10. What if I’m dissatisfied with my caregiver?
Make sure you or your loved one are comfortable with the caregiver provided. If you are dissatisfied, a reputable agency will provide you with a different caregiver.