How to Choose a Home Health Agency
What Is Home Health?
Home health is exactly as it sounds—any health care service that’s provided in-home to allow the patient to remain in their regular space. People need home health services for a variety of reasons, including management of chronic health issues, disability assistance, recovery after illness or injury, or long-term care to assist someone who is aging.
Hospice is often equated with home health services, but it’s actually just one example of a robust system that serves many kinds of patients.
What Are the Benefits of Home Health?
Many patients choose home health because it gives them more freedom and consistency than they would be able to achieve in a hospital, rehabilitation center, nursing home, or other care facility. In many cases, patients are able to stick to their typical routine with support from the care providers, which can be preferable to traveling in and out of medical facilities.
How to Choose a Home Health Agency
Once you’ve identified a need for home care, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the list of options in your area. Here’s how we’d recommend approaching the selection process.
Check with Insurance
First, check with your insurance company to determine whether there are any limitations on which providers you can choose. With Medicare, patients often have several locations to choose from in their local area. With other insurance providers, there may be other limitations or some providers with much better rates than others.
It’s better to have this information up-front so you’re aware of any restrictions before you begin your search.
Ask for referrals from your network
Next, we always suggest starting by asking your family, friends, and colleagues whether they’ve used a home care service that they would recommend. You might be surprised to find that you know people who have navigated this system before, and a glowing recommendation should carry a lot of weight as you narrow down your options. When it comes to instilling confidence in your decision, no amount of research will substitute for someone you know having a great experience.
Look at the expertise of the caregivers
When you have a short list to work with, take a look at the people behind the company. What are their backgrounds? How long have they been working in the healthcare system—and how long have they been working in home health specifically?
This step is important because even if a home health company is relatively new, the caregivers may have decades of experience that make them especially qualified for the job. On the other hand, if you find a lack of experience in the care team, consider moving on to another company.
Watch out for limits on care
Lastly, watch out for any limits placed on in-home care. Some companies will limit the amount of visits a patient can receive from their CNA (certified nursing assistant), which can lead to problems in between visits. The best care providers will not only have regular CNA visits but also ensure that the nurse is sharing information about how to continue with the care plan on days without visits.
In general, ask about any restrictions or policy decisions that require care providers to follow very strict, specific guidelines. If your situation may require more flexibility, that might not be the right company for you.
We hope this has been a helpful assessment of how to choose a home health facility. We’re always available to show you what we offer at Centric Home Health and Hospice—we’d love to hear from you!