Choosing the right home care provider is challenging for many families. You want to make sure that the home care provider is offering client-centred personal care to your loved one. However there are so many providers available and varying factors to consider that the decision becomes difficult.
To help you make the right decision we have come up with a list of 10 questions you can use to assess a home care provider.
What services does your agency provide?
Some agencies provide very limited home care services. Other agencies provide a full range of services, including:
- Meal preparation
- Medication management
- Bathing and dressing
- Personal grooming
Some agencies also provide full-time home care for a chronic condition, personalized rehabilitation, as well as palliative nursing care. Consider home care providers that have several services that could support your loved one.
How long have you been in business?
Choose an agency with a proven track record that can provide references and testimonials. Take time to check the references thoroughly. Ask for referrals from clients, doctors, and other medical professionals.
Ask if there is a waiting list for accessing care?
There is a senior care shortage in BC and other parts of Canada, so sometimes it can be hard to find a spot with a trustworthy private care provider. However, you or your loved one might need care urgently. Therefore, it makes sense to choose an agency that doesn’t have a waiting list and can provide services immediately.
Will you create a personal care plan?
Try to find an agency that will send a nurse to meet with you, your family and your family doctor or gerontologist to create an individualized home health care plan.
A private home care agency should create a personal care plan that includes:
- specific care needs
- medical equipment
- input from your family doctor
The private care provider should also commit to updating the plan frequently.
Do licensed nurses plan and supervise care?
Ideally, a Licensed Nursing Supervisor should evaluate the quality of your home care. Reputable agencies ensure all caregivers are supervised by nurses.
What qualifications do the caregivers have?
Make sure you are comfortable with the level of training and experience of the actual caregiver who will be providing the care.
A good agency will screen, interview and train their caregivers. To determine how they screen their caregivers, you can ask:
- How does the agency hire and train health care workers?
- Does the agency provide continuing education?
- What is the screening process?
- Are references and criminal records checked prior to hiring?
Are your caregivers bonded and insured?
To protect you, caregivers, and the agency, a home care agency must only send caregivers who are bonded and insured to your home.
Do you provide 24/7 care?
Depending on your health need, you may require 24-hour care or to arrange care with very little notice. Make sure the agency you choose can accommodate your needs with flexibility and great service.
Is your agency inspected by an outside organization?
Accreditation Canada is a non-profit, independent group that provides health organizations with an external peer review to assess the quality of their services based on standards of excellence. If an agency is accredited, ask to see the results of the most recent survey.
What happens if we’re not happy?
Your loved one needs to be comfortable–and happy–with their caregiver. A reputable agency should be able to provide you with a different caregiver if you are unhappy.