Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ask the Right Questions When Hiring Home Care in Montgomery County PA

Americans are living longer than ever before. While that is something to be celebrated in many ways, it nevertheless creates its own set of problems. As the population ages, more and more seniors are currently in need of support through homecare in city.

Home care Services” is a broad term that covers the gamut from professional live-in nurses to weekly services by cleaners. What help the senior needs will be determined by their own particular circumstances. Do they need basic help running the household? Can they cope with the cooking and cleaning but need help with errands, such as carrying groceries? Do they need constant in-home care by a trained health professional?

It might be useful to make a list of the specific tasks the home care provider will need to perform, in order to determine what type of service is appropriate. The patient, or his or her family, will also need to decide whether to employ an individual or whether to hire an agency to fulfill the role.

There are numerous agencies that provide in-home care and many of these specialize in elder care. But once a patient has decided what is needed and set up some interviews with potential candidates for the job, what questions should they be asking of the would-be care providers?

Will the home care services agency meet all the patient’s needs?

The patient should discuss his or her specific needs with the agency to ensure that all their requirements can be met. Preventing misunderstandings is crucial and many agencies will provide a written care plan to protect both parties. Some agencies specialize in elder care and it might be worthwhile to check those out first but, in any case, patients should ask lots of questions to determine which organization best meets their needs.

Does the home care services agency have a license?

Not all states require such agencies to be licensed, but most do - and that’s a good place to start. The state’s health department may even be able to provide reviews of the agency. In addition, it would be worth finding out whether Medicare has certified that the agency meets federal health and safety guidelines.

Who are the agency’s caregivers?

Patients should ask how the agency employs its staff. They need to ensure that the caregivers are all trained, licensed in their field, and insured. They should also find how the agency monitors its staff – are they evaluated often? If it’s possible, the patient should set up a meeting with one of the agency’s representatives. The patient needs to know that they could get along well with somebody who may be working for them in their home. The caregiver should be friendly and willing to answer questions.

Can the agency provide references?

References from doctors, other health professionals, and clients will prove invaluable. The agency should be able to provide a list of references. Patients considering employing an agency should also ask their own doctor, family, and friends, if they can recommend a particular senior care organization.

How much will it cost?

This question is crucial. The patient must be sure they fully understand all of the fees. The agency should be able to provide detailed breakdowns of each cost and may have payment plan options available. The patient should also find out exactly how the bills are processed. Some agency fees may be covered by Medicare or even health insurance.

Home care counselors at Family Caregivers Network are available to talk with you and your family about care needs for your loved one, including, how to reduce caregiver stress while providing quality, affordable care. Family Caregivers Network is a home care agency providing In Home Care in Montgomery County PA and surrounding areas.

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