11 Important Criteria in Choosing a Home Care Agency
Here are eleven important criteria to consider when choosing a home care agency.
Care Management. You may need a professional care manager to coordinate needs such as doctor appointments and medication. Some care managers can also help with long-term decisions.
Daily Living Needs. Determine what your elderly relative needs in terms of day-to-day living, such as meal preparation, bathing, mobility, etc. Create a daily summary that shows the elder’s medication, sleep schedule, eating schedule, bathing, and more.
Language. If a language other than English is necessary, choose an agency that can cater to that language.
Medications. List all the medications your elderly relative takes along with the pertinent information – dosages, times taken, special requirements (such as take with food), and side effects. Decide who will organize the pills and be responsible for refills.
Memory Care. If memory loss is involved, let the agency know as they may want to recommend someone with expertise in Alzheimer’s.
Nutrition Needs. Let the agency know if there are any special dietary needs, like food allergies, swallowing issues, or menu requests. Choose how groceries will be purchased or if meals will be delivered to the home.
Schedule. Figure out how many hours of care your elderly relative will need – how many hours per day and how many times throughout the week. Sometimes care is only needed on a short-term basis while other times care is needed long-term.
Skilled Care Requirements. Does your elder require skilled care such as diagnostic procedures (like taking blood pressure or blood sugar) or caring for wounds? Choose an agency who can take care of these needs.
Transportation. Will you need the caregiver to take your loved one to the store, doctor appointment, or some other activity? Find out how the agency will bill you for transportation needs.
Level of Care. What is the level of care needed for your elder? Will he/she require hands-on care or companion care? If companion care is needed, make a list of possible activities.
Quality Check. You may want to consider one of the leading national or regional chains to ensure quality care. You may want to ask these questions of the agency: Have you conducted a criminal background check on all your employees? Are the caregivers supervised by the agency? How do you prepare a care plan? How are the caregivers trained? and How likely would current and previous customers recommend you?