Choosing the right in-home care agency for your loved one can be hard, but it is very important to ask the right questions before choosing. In-Home Care can be a range of non-professional to professional health care services that provide some level of care for people in their home. Typically, in-home care serves people who are disabled, chronically or terminally ill, recovering from surgery, illness or accident. Often, people who need in-home care live alone, or need respite from their family and friends who are their primary caregivers. Depending on the licensing held by the in-home care agency, a Registered Nurse will create the care plan after doing an assessment of the home and clients needs.
There are four types of licensing in the state of Oregon:
Comprehensive: An agency that provides personal care services that may include medication reminding, medication assistance, medication administration, and nursing services which require having a full-time nurse on staff.
Intermediate-An agency that provides personal care services that may include medication reminding, medication assistance and medication administration but does not provide nursing services.
Limited: An agency that provides personal care services that may include medication reminding but does not provide medication assistance, medication administration or nursing services.
Basic: An agency that provides personal care services that may include medication reminding or assistance but does not provide medication administration or nursing services.
It is advised that when hiring an in-home care company, you are aware of their level of licensing and whether they have a nurse on staff full time or not. In-Home Care is just as unique as the people they serve in their communities. Every in-home care client will have different needs that will change over time. Especially when working with seniors, it can be cumbersome for friends and families to continue to do small tasks such as housekeeping or running errands. As a person ages, their level of needs may increase when it comes to their activities of daily living (personal hygiene, dressing, eating, maintaining continence, transferring).
Hiring an in-home care agency is much safer than looking online or hiring a family member or friend as a caregiver. Reason being, licensed in-home care companies are required by law to run a criminal background check and (drug screening) prior to hiring a caregiver. Not only that, but you are also protected under the agency when it comes to abuse and neglect that may happen when hiring privately.
Written by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, here are a list of questions you should ask the in-home care company prior to hiring them:
1. Does the in-home care agency supply literature explaining its eligibility requirements, fees, and services? The State of Oregon requires an agency to provide their client with a detailed “Patient Bill of Rights” that outlines responsibilities and rights of the clients, providers, and family caregivers alike.
2. How does the in-home care agency ensure client confidentiality?
3. How long has the in-home care agency been serving in the community?
4. Who can the client and family contact with complaints or questions?
a. How does the agency follow up on and resolve complaints?
5. What procedures does the in-home care agency have in place to handle emergencies?
6. Does the in-home care agency assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care clients are receiving in their homes? If so, how often do these individuals make visits?
7. Who can the client contact or their family members contact with questions or complaints?
8. What are the financial procedures of the in-home care agency? Does the agency furnish written statements explaining all the costs and payment options associated with home care?
9. How does the in-home care agency select and train its employees? Do they protect their workers with written personnel policies and workman’s comp insurance? Do they protect their clients from theft or abusing by bonding their employees?