9 Tips for Choosing the Right Home Health Care Provider
Seniors have a 70% chance to require long-term care services, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. And over 65% of those people will choose home health care as the best option.
Selecting the right home health care provider is vital to the mental and physical wellbeing of you or your loved one. With thousands of health care providers to choose from, it can be tough to pick.
Our guide gives you nine key tips on how to find the best home health care provider for you and your family.
In-depth research is the first step to selecting a health care provider. Just typing their name into Google and seeing what comes up can reveal insightful info.
Social media accounts will reveal how they treat a home health patient and their families. Are they respectful? Nurturing? Helpful? Do they foster a sense of community and support?
You’ll also discover if they made the news. Making the news should be positive, so a negative news article about a home health care provider is a huge red flag.
Two additional research resources are the National Agency Location Service and Medicare.gov’s health care service directory. These sites maintain a database of home health providers and health care services.
2. References and Recommendations
The research process will pull up review sites like Yelp, Indeed, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
When evaluating these reviews, keep in mind both negative (posted by the competition) and positive (posted by the provider) reviews can easily be faked. The FTC provides tips for spotting fake reviews.
You can also ask for a list of references with current contact information. A reputable health care provider will have this list ready to go.
References should include related health care entities, patients and their families, or any other relevant people who have worked directly with the home health provider. Vague third-party references that can’t be easily contacted is another red flag.
Some local health care authorities or community services will provide recommendations. These are helpful as long as there’s no vested interest or reward for making these recommendations.
You can interview home health care providers, similar to an employer and job-seeking applicants. This will help determine the health care provider’s bedside manner, and how well they communicate.
Some relevant interview questions are:
- Why did you choose home health care as a career?
- What is your home health care related work experience?
- How will you communicate with your patient’s families?
- What is your response plan for medical emergencies?
- How do resolve conflict with patients or their families?
You can also ask the health care provider to describe how they perform medical care services, like assisting a home health patient in their bathroom or doing physical therapy exercises.
Communication is an oft-overlooked but vital factor in assessing a home health care provider.
Medical emergencies other critical issues can happen at any time of day or night, so fast and reliable communication is a must. A home health care provider should have a plan for emergency contact procedures.
The home health provider’s response time and communication devices are important too. If they don’t carry a wireless device on them, there could be delays in contacting you.
5. Reporting and Oversight
If you can’t report minor problems, they can grow into major problems. A home health care provider should have a reporting process for any potential issues.
You also want to know if these reports get the appropriate attention and response in a timely manner. If there’s no oversight process, reports can be ignored or shuffled to the bottom of the priority list.
6. Certifications and Training
A Medicare-certified (CMS) home health care provider has federal requirements. The minimum includes 75 hours of training. Private companies that don’t offer CMS have no federal minimums.
The health care training and certification processes go through local and state institutions. Any applicable licenses will also be issued by the state. Each state has its own minimum requirements.
Your best strategy is to know all your state’s requirements before asking for proof of certification and licensing. You’ll instantly spot any lapses.
Always double-check the expiration date on certificates and licenses, too. They might be expired or about to expire without the home health care provider meeting the requirements for renewal.
7. Payment and Cost
A home health care provider has to be affordable for your budget. Medicaid and VA Health Care can cover the cost of in-home care for certain services and qualified applicants. Medicaid coverage varies by state.
Some insurance companies offer long-term care insurance. This insurance type provides health care coverage not provided by regular health insurance.
The overall cost of health care varies by state, local area, and the home health patient’s individual needs. But you can check the average price around your area for similar services to verify you’re getting a reasonable rate.
8. Medical Care Services
Home Health Care News notes 50% of home health users have at least five or more chronic illnesses, like diabetes or arthritis. Home health needs vary from person to person, so it’s important to confirm the health care provider offers the right medical care services.
A home health patient may require:
- Doctor care
- Nursing care
- Palliative care
- Social services
- Therapy services (Physical, speech, etc.)
- Basic assistance care
Like with home health state certifications, you can check if these medical care services have the necessary qualifications, experience, and certifications.
For example, a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is required to have a master’s degree and state license in Texas. Know your state’s requirements for home health services, too.
Even if a home health care provider passes all the other tips, they still might not be the right provider for you. Personality clashes and personal incompatibility may get glossed over, but it’s still a pivotal factor.
You and your loved ones should feel comfortable and open with your health care provider. If conflict is going to arise because your personalities aren’t compatible, you have the wherewithal to choose someone else.
Getting the Best Home Health Care Provider
You and your loved ones deserve safe and affordable long-term care. Our tips should help you find the best health care provider available in your area.
If you’re a north Ohio resident looking for home health care, reach out to us by phone, email, or our web form, and we’ll help you find the professional and qualified services you need.