Our elderly loved ones may need special assistance when living at home. In cases when we aren’t eligible or capable of providing that care, hiring a health care provider is a viable option.
Though home health care services are not subsidized by the government, these are not necessarily expensive. Home health care services are convenient. They offer the same level of expertise as a hospital or healthcare facility.
What is Hospice?
Organizations that offer private hospice and home care include a variety of services and specializations, from registered nurses to domestic assistance and caregiving. Access to experienced and specialized staff such as consultants, dieticians, trainers, and occupational therapists, and physiotherapists is made available. Many home health care providers now have the option of providing personalized care that is specific to the needs of the patient.
How to Choose the Right Home Health Care Provider
- List the services you need
To allow for the best service for your loved one, make a list of the specific things that you will be needing. This might include details of the staff, such as language and cultural considerations. Consider when you will be needing the service and the range of services you will be needing. This may include housekeeping, cooking, and physical therapy.
The common services provided by a home health care package would include personal care, nursing, housekeeping, and gardening. You might require specialized services such as professionals who handle patients with dementia and care for patients with hearing or visual impairments, or continence.
- Get a list of available services nearby
Your insurance company may help you in your search for a list of healthcare providers in their network. This will cut your expenses and be much more affordable than outsourcing a service. Ask recommendations from friends and family. There are also a lot of reviews and information you can look up online.
- Work within your budget
Try to trim down the options based on your budget. Providers offer a wide range of services for varying prices. Compare the costs for the package that provides all your needs for the best offer. Prices vary between providers, so to get the most out of your package funds, it’s worth comparing what’s on offer.
The cost for each package will depend on the type of services included. Look into the service descriptions carefully and try to understand the inclusions and differences.
Schedule of Services
When the services need to be provided also affects the cost. Usually, these are more expensive during the weekends and outside regular office hours.
Staff Specialization and Training
Who provides the service will also affect costs. The level of training and certifications of the care providers and the staff will be more expensive.
Care and Package Management
The extent and frequency of communication and coordination with the provider also affect costs. Coordinators speak with and review the plans and packages with clients often to ensure that the best service is provided.
- Set a Meeting with the Home Health Care Provider
Once you have narrowed down your list of home health care providers, try to set a meeting with them. We are offering our full trust to these providers to take care of our loved ones, so voice out any concerns you might be having.
Here is a guide on details you can look into:
- Resources provided
Ask the provider if they offer any literature to support and explain the services that they offer. You may ask them for further detail on the rights and responsibilities of the caregivers and patients. See if they provide an annual report and regular reviews on their services.
- Training employees
Ask how they select and train their employees. Are the staff certified and licensed? What are the policies concerning malpractice?
- Evaluation of patient needs and developing a health care plan
How are the specialized and specific needs of a patient evaluated? Do registered doctors and nurses oversee this? Ask if the patient’s physician and family are involved in the evaluation and development of the health care plan.
- Coordination and communication with the family
Consult if the patient’s course of treatment will be documented. A report which details the specific task and course of action would be preferred. Check whether there will be regular updates and how often the plan will be updated.
- Care and Package management
Do supervisors regularly oversee the quality of care provided? How often are evaluations made, and how do they address and resolve the concerns of the family?
- Transparency with financial statements
Do they report financial statements on the services regularly? How are these explained by the management?
- Handling emergencies
What are the emergency procedures of the provider? Ask if they can detail the emergency services and protocol available.
Factoring in COVID-19
The outbreak of the coronavirus has left the elderly the most vulnerable. Many families are left with the difficult decision of staying away from their elderly parents and grandparents to keep them safe. Asking questions from your health care provider to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Before allowing the nurse or caregiver to enter your home during the pandemic, be sure to ask them these questions first:
- What services are necessary now?
Many elderly individuals need assistance, or they may end up in the hospital where they will be more vulnerable. Ask your home care provider what services are available and the necessary considerations during the pandemic.
- Are any of the health care providers caring for COVID-19 positive individuals
Be thorough in asking about the protocols and tests that an individual receives before being assigned to your home.
- What are the infection and sanitation protocols?
Consult how often staff members are being tested and if clients are being screened before visits. Ask about the sanitation and disinfection practices and how often these are done. Consult about the safety protocols and measures employed by the staff. Do the staff use personal protective equipment (PPE)?
- Will care be provided if the patient or a family member shows symptoms of COVID-19?
Ask the provider about the protocol for patient care and staff assignment in the case of a family member showing signs of the virus.
The unpredictability of the pandemic has left many of us frightened and anxious for our loved ones. While we cannot control everything that happens during this pandemic, we can sleep a little more soundly at night with the fact that our children and elderly loved ones are cared for.