Tips for Choosing Home Care in St. Louis

To figure out what kind of home care agency you need to hire, you must first figure out the type of care that you need. There are two categories for you to choose from, in the case of hiring in-home care services. They are skilled care and custodial care. Skilled care involves providing medical care, while custodial care involves a wide variety of unskilled care. These include housekeeping, meal preparation, shopping, and personal care (feeding, bathing, and dressing). Some agencies might provide both types of care; some may only provide one type of care. Some agencies might work together to provide a wide range of services for each care recipient.

Home Care Organization – Types

Hospices

Staffing and private duty agencies

Home health care St. Louis agencies

Home care aide and homemaker (HCA) agencies

Home Care Agencies – Questions to Ask

Once you have narrowed down the type of care that your loved one needs and have compiled a list of agencies, you should start the interview and evaluation process. Do this so that you can compare the level and quality of care that you will receive from each agency to each other. We have compiled a checklist for you to “check off” to help you pick the best home care agency for your loved one’s needs.

Have you been given literature that explains the range of services the home care provider provides for its clients – as well as requirements for eligibility, funding sources, and fees? A lot of agencies also have a “Patient Bill of Rights” that informs you and your loved one of their rights and the responsibilities of the providers, caregivers, and care recipients. You should also receive a yearly report and many other educational materials to help give you a clear picture of the provider.

Is the agency certified by Medicare?

Is the agency state licensed?

How long has this agency been operating?

Can this agency tell you what insurance and Medicare will pay for and what the client must pay for themselves? The agency you choose should be able to give you references and have an established reputation.

Does this agency offer specific services such as occupational or physical therapy?

What are the home care services this agency provides?

What are the requirements and training that the employees of this provider must undergo?

Do the staff undergo background checks?

Is this agency equipped to handle special needs – perhaps a language or cultural preference?

Does this agency have malpractice insurance, personnel policies, and benefits packages? The more thorough the agency you choose is, in regards to personal insurance and in the selection of its employees, the better service you will receive. Also, remember – background checks vary from state to state.

Does this agency require any nurse or therapist to evaluate your loved one to determine the type of care they need? If they require this, will the nurse or therapist coordinate their efforts with family or their primary care doctor? Every caregiver would need to communicate and coordinate with each other in order to help your loved one reach their health goals. If the doctor prescribes physical therapy, then the home care aides should be helping your loved one at home every day. Medicare-certified agencies are required to do this.

Does this agency include family members and the client in creating the plan of care?

Does this agency document the course of treatment for the client, and detail the tasks needed to be undertaken by the caregiver at any given time?

Does this agency provide supervisors who make sure the client receives a certain quality of care in their homes? How often do they visit to ensure this?

Who should the care recipient and their family contact in case of complaints or questions?

How does this agency respond to any issues or problems? Do they follow up with any concerns raised by the care recipient or their family?

What are the financial procedures of this agency? Do they have written materials explaining the costs, as well as the payment plan options, depending on which care service it provides?

How does this agency handle emergencies – what are their procedures?

Are the caregivers of this agency available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Some aren’t, and some do not guarantee a replacement aide if the usual caregiver is not able to work.

Reference Check

The last thing you should ask the home care agency for is their list of references – this refers to doctors, clients and family, discharge planners, and any community leaders who are familiar with them. Contact these references and ask them the following questions – Would you refer anyone to this agency? Are you in a contractual relationship with this agency? If you are, does this agency have to meet special standards for a certain quality of care? What reviews have you gotten from clients regarding this agency – either through a survey or word of mouth?

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