5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Health Agency
A home health agency that provides high quality, compassionate care is your ticket to regaining mobility and independence. However, selecting the wrong home health care provider can be detrimental to your health and complicate your recovery process. If you aren’t sure what to look for in a home health agency, fear not! You’re in the right place. Here are five essential questions to ask when looking for a home health agency:
1. What is their Medicare Star Rating?
The Medicare star rating system is designed to help you determine the overall effectiveness of any legitimate home health agency before ever receiving care services or signing an agreement. Medicare star ratings are an agency’s primary form of accountability and should be the first thing you look for. If a home health agency has a low star rating (or none at all), this is a major red flag.
This rating is based on an agency’s process, quality, outcome, and patient experience of care. A high Medicare star rating proves that an agency consistently adheres to Medicare’s high standard of quality. It also confirms that they and their caregivers have the appropriate licensure, certifications, and experience to administer the services they advertise.
In short, Medicare star ratings directly reflect the impact that a home health agency can (and likely will) have on your health, level of mobility, and quality of life at home. That’s why it’s critical that you understand these ratings and what they mean for you.
2. Do they communicate well?
One of the top complaints from home health care patients is that their agency does not communicate well.
If your caregiver is going to be late or calls out sick, will you be notified? Will you have one caregiver or multiple? Do you know when to expect them? Will you be informed about the pay schedule or any changes in billing? Will you be able to get a hold of your home health agency in the event of special circumstances or emergencies?
When it comes to your health, accessibility and good communication are crucial. Save yourself a headache by finding out how your potential home health agency communicates.
3. How soon can they begin care?
In many cases, timely initiation of care is the difference between a speedy recovery and readmission.
If you have recently become immobile, dependent, or seriously ill and are transitioning from a care setting to home, it is crucial that you begin receiving home health care as soon as possible. A gap in care can result in unnecessary complications, worsened condition, and readmission to the hospital.
However, starting home health care as soon as possible decreases the likelihood of readmission and increases your chances of regaining mobility and independence.
4. Are their caregivers compassionate?
When you receive a troubling diagnosis or undergo a major procedure, getting back to your everyday life can be physically and emotionally taxing. That’s why great caregivers aren’t only certified, trained, and efficient – they’re compassionate.
A compassionate caregiver is concerned about the health of the whole person and makes a point to address your emotional and mental well-being. Compassionate caregivers will also preserve your dignity when helping you with daily activities of living, such as bathing, dressing, and meal prep. This sort of care can significantly improve your quality of life during your illness.
5. Does this home health agency offer the services you need?
If you drive yourself to work and go out to dinner with friends every week, you probably don’t need private duty nursing. If you have trouble getting out of bed and walking around, you definitely need more than a companion. You also need to ensure that the class of caregiver you are given will be able to provide hands-on assistance if necessary. Make sure that the agency will adapt your care plan and provide the appropriate caregivers if your condition worsens.
There is no such thing as asking too many questions.
The right home health agency can be the difference between life and death. At A Care Connection, we are experts in providing compassionate care, finding highly qualified caregivers, and getting seniors back on their feet – and we love telling people about it! To see if A Care Connection is right for you, call (904) 899-5520 today or schedule your complimentary consultation – and check out our Medicare rankings to see how we compare!