If you're considering a home care services agency:
- How does the agency handle expenses and billing? Ask for literature explaining all services and fees, as well as detailed explanations of all costs associated with home care.
- Will agency fees be covered by health insurance or Medicare? Check to see what kind of coverage your health insurance offers.
- What resources does the agency provide for financial assistance, if needed? For instance, is a payment plan available?
If you're considering a home health aide:
- How much does the aide charge for home health services? Make sure you're comfortable with the fees and the included services.
- Does the aide require payment for sick days, vacation days or holidays? If so, clarify how many sick and vacation days are allowed, as well as which days are considered holidays.
Whether you're considering a home care services agency or a home health aide, you might ask these questions about services:
- Will you receive a written care plan before service begins? The care plan should include details about medical equipment and specific care needs, contain input from the doctor, and be updated frequently.
- Will you receive a list of the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved? This is sometimes known as a patient's bill of rights.
- Will you or your loved one be referred to dietitians, counselors, therapists or other specialists, if needed?
- Will the agency work directly with you or your loved one, family members and health care providers?
- Must you identify a primary family caregiver? If so, what's required of that person?
- When will service be provided? Is care available round-the-clock, if necessary?
- What procedures are in place for emergencies? Ask how the agency or home health aide will deliver services in the event of a power failure or natural disaster.
- How are problems addressed and resolved? Whom can you or another family member contact with requests, questions or complaints?
- When can services begin?
Monitor your home care services
After you've found a home care services provider, monitor the situation. If you're concerned about the care or services provided, discuss it promptly with the agency or home health aide. If necessary, involve your doctor or your loved one's doctor as well.
July 19, 2014
See more In-depth
- Home health care: What it is and what to expect. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/home-health-care/home-health-care-what-is-it-what-to-expect.html. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Home care agencies. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/findingandpayingfortreatment/choosingyourtreatmentteam/homecareagencies/home-care-agencies-intro. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- 10 signs of a good quality home health agency. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/home-health-care/10-signs-quality-home-health-agency.html. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Home health plan of care. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/home-health-care/home-health-plan-of-care.html. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Who pays for home care? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ChoosingYourTreatmentTeam/HomeCareAgencies/home-care-agencies-who-pays. Accessed May 2, 2014.
- How can I find a home care agency? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ChoosingYourTreatmentTeam/HomeCareAgencies/home-care-agencies-finding. Accessed May 2, 2014.
- Home health agency checklist. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare/. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Background checking for hired care: Resources that help. Family Caregiver Alliance. https://caregiver.org/background-checking-hired-care-resources-help. Accessed May 6, 2014.
- Caregiver: Working successfully with home care services. Family Caregiver Alliance. https://caregiver.org/caregiver-working-successfully-home-care-services. Accessed May 6, 2014.
- Hiring in-home help. Family Caregiver Alliance. https://caregiver.org/hiring-home-help. Accessed May 6, 2014.