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Are you Getting the Right Home Health Care?

By HERWriter
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So you’ve gone through the Outpatient Facility Interview and Information Checklist and the Initial Outpatient Care Facility Considerations and determined your need for outpatient or at-home care and which health care provider would be the best fit for you. But just because you’ve committed to a particular home health care provider doesn’t mean your evaluation is over.

You should continue observing and monitoring interactions with the home health care workers who interact with you or your loved ones. Even with all your diligent investigative work before choosing a health care facility or agency, it is possible that someone could be neglectful or could take advantage of the situation. It is also important to remain your own or your family member’s health care advocate, to ensure that everyone is getting the care you need and pay for.

Be on the lookout for the following (adapted from Medicare.gov):

1) Is the staff polite? Do they treat me and my family with respect?

2) Does the staff clearly explain the plan of care, and involve me and my family in the creation of the plan of care?

3) Is the staff/staff member properly trained and licensed to carry out the type of health care to be provided?

4) Is there a way to report back to the agency with any problem with the staff or care being provided?

5) How quickly does the agency respond to problems or requests?

6) Does the staff/staff member evaluate physical and emotional conditions and needs at every visit?

7) Does the staff/staff member respond in a timely manner to any changes in health or behavior?

8) Has the staff/staff member provided suggestions improvements or adjustments to the home to ensure safety and accommodate medical/health needs?

9) Has the staff provided information on what to do in the case of an emergency?

10) What are the agency and staff’s policy (and practice) on protecting my privacy?

As an additional note, make sure that you obtain receipts for all check or cash payments, and know how much the caregiver will be paid out of what you pay the agency—if the payment the worker receives is not fair given the level of care they provide, the worker may not be dependable and you may end up experiencing a high turnover or caregivers.

Sources: National Institute on Aging (http://www.nia.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/04A3B7AB-9F40-43D4-9A7C-700145731122/17661/No_Place_Like_Home.pdf); Medicare.gov (http://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare/%28S%284zxsx145dl3ctu3yx11x5vj5%29%29/About/GettingCare/QualityChecklist.aspx); The Family Caregiver Handbook (http://web.mit.edu/workplacecenter/hndbk/sec3_prt1.html#howevaluate)

Reviewed July 8, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.