Choosing the best in-home agency to care for yourself or a loved one seems like a daunting task during an already emotionally stressful time. There are often feelings of loss or guilt that go along with making the decision, but there are ways to find the right in-home care agency without feeling lost and drowning in the unknowns of a new situation.
Here is a short list of tasks and questions to help move you closer to a decision you can feel good about.
Interview Several Agencies
When we are investing in a house or vehicle, we rarely buy the first one we see the first time we see it. Yet, when it comes to selecting an in-home care agency, it can be tempting to check it off the to-do list when there seems to be so many things to take care of.
Don’t be afraid to call a few different agencies to get a feeling for what is the same and what is different? Which agency seems to be the best prepared to handle your particular situation? Which culture of care seems to be the best fit? Does one of them handle a certain type of payment better than the others? Many of these questions can be answered on an initial phone call.
It is possible that you will find your perfect match on the first call, just like it is possible to find your soulmate in high school. If that’s the case, great! However, don’t be afraid to say that you are in the initial stages of your search and come back around to those agencies that you feel most comfortable with.
Find Out How Long the Agency Has Been Around.
Experience matters. The longer an agency has been around, the more things they’ve seen and the more time they’ve had to work out the kinks that come with operating an in-home care operation.
Longevity is also a good sign that they provide excellent care. It provides social proof that they have a steady stream of clients and positive experiences with those they provide care for. Otherwise, those clients would have found other care professionals to take over. In-home care agencies come and go. The best stick around and stand out from the crowd.
Who will be Overseeing the Plan of Care?
The plan of care, for yourself or your loved one is the formal agreement of times and responsibilities your caregiver will use to ensure that you or your loved one are receiving the very best care experience possible.
Is the person responsible for constructing this plan of care an account executive looking at it from a position of revenue or are they an individual with medical or social services background that is truly looking out for your best interests.
Are Caregivers Bonded and Subject to Drug Testing and Background Checks?
Trusting a complete stranger to care for your loved one can be a scary and emotionally hard thing to cope with. One way to alleviate some of that anxiety is to make sure that the caregivers working with your loved one has been rigorously vetted and are completely trustworthy.
Ask the agency representative what their hiring process looks like. What are the qualifications, training requirements, and checks their caregivers go through before they enter a home. A good agency will not hesitate to go over this process, nor will they be vague. A good agency will be happy and even seem proud of their caregiver program.
Ask About Complete Costs, Creative Coverage, and Billing.
Let’s face it, this is often the number one thing on your mind when you are in a place where you need to make decisions regarding in-home care.
It can seem like a pretty straight forward answer. You have been told that your love one needs 24/7 care. If you know what the hourly rate is, you can quickly come up with a number–a very large, scary, mostly impossible number.
In reality, a good agency will take the time to work with you toward coming up with a solution that is creative without sacrificing the quality of care for the client. The agencies that really care are also the ones that will be most willing to get creative to make sure that proper care is achieved one way or the other.
It’s also a good idea to find out how billing works. Who will be responsible for billing the insurance company? These are all things that should be very specific. If you get vague answers at this juncture, it should raise red flags.
Remember, you are looking for a partner not a transaction. There should be nothing that seems shady or hidden. Integrity and trust will be the most important variable in this relationship, and if this stage doesn’t help build that trust, it might be a good sign that this is an agency to stay away from.
Finding an in-home care agency can seem like a very scary thing to do, but it doesn’t have to be. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope it gives you a starting point in your quest to provide the very best care for your loved one.