The first step to finding the right kind of home care agency is determining what level of care is needed. There are two main categories of in-home care services: skilled care, which provides for medical needs, and custodial care. Custodial care may include environmental assistance-help with housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation and the like-or personal care, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. Some agencies only provide one type of care; others may include both types. Different types of home care companies may work together to provide an integrated system of services for a care recipient.
Once you have determined the type of home care services your loved one needs and have a list of appropriate agencies, it’s a good idea to interview and evaluate the agencies to compare them. Use the following checklist to help you choose the right home care agency for your loved one.
Finally, ask the home care agency to supply you with a list of references, such as doctors, discharge planners, clients or their family members, and community leaders who are familiar with the provider’s quality of service. Contact these references and ask: Do you frequently refer clients to this agency? Do you have a contractual relationship with this agency? If so, do you require the agency to meet special standards for quality care? What sort of feedback have you gotten from clients receiving care from this agency, either on an informal basis or through a formal satisfaction survey?
Update: January 2018