As you hone your options, it’s important to understand home care agency best practices — or what home care agency ‘excellence’ looks like.
Commitment to professional excellence: The agency is licensed and complies with all state regulations if operating in a state that requires licensure; the agency is a member of the Home Care Association of America (formerly National Private Duty Association) or other nationally recognized professional association.
Clients are assessed by a professional: Recommendations for care are based on an in-person assessment of a potential client conducted by a professional, such as a nurse or social worker.
Care is overseen by a professional: A professional, such as a nurse or social worker, monitors care over time and reassesses client status at regular intervals.
Caregiver screening: Caregivers are screened extensively prior to hire. This includes in-person interviews, reference and background checks and verification of skills.
Caregiver oversight: Caregivers have access to a professional to discuss client issues. Care monitoring includes unannounced home visits by an agency staff person.
Availability: A staff member is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the benefit of clients and caregivers.
Tips to Get Your Home Care Agency Search Underway
- Ask for recommendations from friends, clergy, your doctor and/or a local hospital.
- If your state requires licensing, go to your State website to locate home care agencies in your area and to check licensure status.
- Review our checklist to prepare for your call.
- Call selected agencies using our checklist as a guide for the questions to ask.
- Once you have narrowed your options to one or two agencies, schedule an appointment at your home to meet with an agency staff member.
- Remember that the person coming to your home is a sales person as well as a professional. He or she wants to show you the best side of the agency.
- Ask to interview a potential caregiver before committing, even if there is a charge to do this. Confirm that the person you meet will be the caregiver assigned to you permanently.