HomeCare Decisions for Those In Need: HOW?

Ok..Just in case you think you are in the wrong place let me explain. AmeriCare HomeCare is a licensed HomeCare Company that we own and promote.  We often are asked about what to consider and we also are concerned that "Best Practices" are not always provided by others.  Call now (910) 487-0405.     So.....

What You Should Consider When Selecting a HomeCare Company.

Investing in the safety, well-being, and comfort of a family member or friend by retaining an in-home care services agency is a wise decision.   However, it is one of those things for which we rarely have experience. To assist you, AmeriCare has prepared these topics for consideration.   They are important whether the care is to allow a person to remain in their own home longer, to assist a person who has a short term need, or to allow respite for a family caregiver.

Licensure: The agency should be licensed. Licensure provides that minimum standards have been met.   It requires a disciplined business and service approach that promotes quality and safeguards.

Client Service Agreement: This is a formal agreement between the Client and the agency that permits the CareGivers to provide the services requested, specifies the fee to be charged and the schedule of service or visits.

Client Service Plan: A Service Supervisor, usually an RN, develops this plan. It is a detailed plan of what the CareGiver is expected to do. It is reviewed on a regular basis. There should not be a fee for this service.

Choice: A Client or family should be given the right to choose a CareGiver from those introduced.  They may select the first person introduced, but it is their choice. The very personal nature of the relationship between Client and CareGiver makes this important. The Client, not the agency, should be the final decision maker about who comes into their home.

Consistency: Once a CareGiver is selected, the Client should expect that person to be the one that comes to their home on a regular basis. There are emergencies and vacations of course, but the primary CareGiver should be the one chosen by the Client.

Supervision and Service Plan Updates: The Service Supervisor should supervise the CareGiver by visiting in the Client’s home quarterly. As circumstances and needs do change, a review and update of the Client Service Plan should be completed.   There should not be a fee for this supervision.

History and Background of the CareGivers: It is imperative that the Agency perform background, driver’s license, and reference checks. There must be verification of the CareGivers’ certification and no substantiated charges of elder abuse.  

No Extended Contract: An agency should provide services without an extended contract or a deposit that is kept until service is discontinued. It is reasonable for an agency to have a prepayment for services. The quality of the service should lead to an “at will” relationship that is stronger than a contract.

Certified Nurse Aides vs. Non-Certified Persons: Caregivers should be Certified Nurse Aides (CNA).   To achieve certification CNAs must meet minimum competency and training standards. Some providers insist that agency trained Personal Care Assistants are satisfactory, but since the fee is usually the same, the higher standard is the best choice.

Service Minimums: An Agency should not dictate a large minimum number of service hours.  You and the Service Supervisor should work together to determine the hours needed. As a practical matter, it is more efficient and CareGiver friendly if hours can be grouped instead of being spread over a number of days. If an hour or two per day is all that is required, however, an agency should try to accommodate you.

Insurance: An agency must be insured and it is important that Workman’s Compensation Insurance covers CareGivers. A private individual or an uninsured agency may cause you to assume unexpected liability.

Locally Owned But Nationally Affiliated: A locally owned agency will reflect the values and styles of the community. As a part of a national system it will have access to programs, systems, and benefits that might not be available to an unaffiliated provider. It is important to ask who owns and manages the company, because experience is important.

Respect and Attention: The agency works for you and should act like it.  It should be responsive and available to your calls. A detailed listing of services should be provided. A request to replace a CareGiver for whatever reason should be honored. Detailed payment receipts and invoices providing dates, duration of services, and CareGivers for those services should be provided. You should be comfortable requesting additional services or discussing personal preferences as to how certain services are provided.

Value Added Opportunities: An agency should seek extra benefits for their Clients. An example might be introducing a Client to a little known Veterans Administration program designed to pay for homecare and assisting them in seeking approval. Another would be providing copies of receipts and daily notes for those whose care can be reimbursed to them by long term care insurance.

AmeriCare would be pleased to talk with you about in-home care services. Allowing AmeriCare to provide the needed services can enhance the investment in the safety, well-being, and comfort of all concerned. Visit AmeriCareFayetteville.com for more information.  Call (910) 487-0405.



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