Updated: Aug 2
It can feel very overwhelming to choose a home care agency for yourself or your loved one. There can be many things to consider when determining the best fit. Every agency is different, and not all offer the same options. Here are some things to consider:
Does the agency match your needs?
This is one of the most important considerations when choosing the right agency. You will want to consider what needs you or your loved one have. This can include scheduling needs, financial needs, health considerations, case management and more. In Florida, some agencies specialize in companionship, home care, or even home health care. You can learn more here.
You will want to ask questions about what shift schedules they offer, what is the hourly rate, do they accept insurance, what services they offer, how do they handle staff sick days or vacations, and if they have staff trained in any specific areas you need support with. For example, if your loved one has a dementia diagnosis, you would want to choose an agency who trains their caregivers on how to support clients with dementia.
Is the agency accredited and licensed?
Many home care agencies are accredited, and in Florida all home health agencies must be accredited. You will want to ask this questions to make certain that you are dealing with an established and legal agency. Accreditation is important because it means that an outside agency is reviewing their policies, procedures, and making sure that they are up to date with the current rules and regulations. This also means that they have the appropriate licenses, insurance, and staff background checks to keep your loved ones safe. Using an unlicensed agency can put yourself or your loved one at risk.
What services are offered?
Make sure to ask what home health services the agency is licensed to provide. A reliable agency will begin with an assessment by a Registered Nurse. This assessment can help you get a better understanding of the needs that can be serviced by a home care agency. Most home care agencies support clients by offering personal care services (such as bathing, dressing, and activities of daily living), housekeeping services (such as wiping down counters, keeping the floor free of obstacles that can lead to falls, etc), meal preparation, transportation, and more. It is helpful when families can spend time with their loved one and can help to build a plan of care with the agency.
Is there a service minimum?
Often agencies require a shift minimum, and a minimum number of hours for service each week. For example, an agency might require a 4 hour minimum shift and also a 20 hour minimum per week. This can help to make certain you have consistent staffing and support that you need each day. However, this information is important in planning the cost of care as well as balancing the needs of the client and family.
How does the communication between the agency and family work?
This is important because you want to know what is going on with your loved one and their health. You want to make certain that if changes are needed, you will be informed and that there is a clear policy for how that communication will take place. You also want to know where to direct any questions or concerns you may have about your family member’s health.
Overall, you will want to make certain that the agency you are interested in using can offer the services you or your family member needs. You will want to make sure that their pricing, policies and procedures, and staffing can meet your needs. Finally, make sure that the values of the company are a match for your values as well. You want a company that values health, wellness, and caring staff. This will help make certain that the needs of the client will be first and foremost. At Nestcare, a home healthcare agency in Sarasota, Florida we focus on supporting families and clients with an array of services to help you live well at home.