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Home care services: Questions to ask
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 the costs associated with home care.
- Will agency fees be covered by health insurance or Medicare? Find out what arrangements are in place for specific health insurance plans.
- 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 your or your loved one's 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?
- Are there any limits on the types of tasks performed? If so, what are the limits?
- 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.Previous page
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- Home health care: A guide for families. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.aoa.gov/aoaroot/Press_Room/Products_Materials/fact/pdf/Home_Health_Care.pdf. Accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
- Home care agencies. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ChoosingYourTreatmentTeam/HomeCareAgencies/home-care-agencies-intro. Accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
- A home health care primer. National Family Caregivers Association. http://www.thefamilycaregiver.org/pdfs/HealthcrPrimer.pdf. Accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
- Helping you choose quality behavioral health care. The Joint Commission. http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/HYC_Behavioral_Health_Care.pdf. Accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
- Who pays for home care? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ChoosingYourTreatmentTeam/HomeCareAgencies/home-care-agencies-who-pays. Accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
- How can I find a home care agency? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ChoosingYourTreatmentTeam/HomeCareAgencies/home-care-agencies-finding. Accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
- What do I do about quality of care complaints? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ChoosingYourTreatmentTeam/HomeCareAgencies/home-care-agencies-dealing-with-complaints. Accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
- Patient's bills of rights. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ChoosingYourTreatmentTeam/HomeCareAgencies/home-care-agencies-patients-bill-of-rights. Accessed Jan. 19, 2011.