Choosing the right home health care agency is a major decision. Before you select a home health care agency, it is important to know all the facts. The following is a list of questions that you can print to help you select the home health care agency that best suits your needs.
Questions to Ask a Home Health Care Agency
- How many years has the agency been serving your community?
- Does the agency offer printed material describing its services and costs?
- Is the agency an approved Medicare provider?
- Is the agency accredited? This means that their quality of care has been surveyed and approved by an outside accrediting organization (such as CHAP, JCAHO or Medicare).
- Is the agency licensed by your state (if required)?
- Does the agency provide patients with a "Bill of Rights" that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the agency, patient, and caregiver alike?
- Is there a written plan of care for the patient's treatment that the patient, physician and family participate in developing? Is this plan updated over the course of the treatment? Does the patient get a copy of the plan?
- Is the patient's course of treatment documented, detailing the specific tasks to be carried out by each professional?
- Are supervisors assigned to oversee care to ensure quality?
- Does the agency staff educate the family members on the care being administered to the patient?
- Are agency caregivers available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week?
- Does the agency have a nursing supervisor on call and available 24 hours per day?
- Does the agency ensure patient confidentiality? How?
- How are agency employees hired and trained?
- Does the agency require criminal record background checks and communicable disease screens for its employees?
- What is the procedure for resolving issues that may arise between the patient/family and home health care staff?
- Who can you call with questions or complaints?
- What happens if a staff member fails to make a scheduled visit?
- How does the agency handle billing? (i.e., will I be billed for services?)
- Will the agency provide a list of references?
Questions to Ask References
- Do you frequently refer patients to this agency?
- If a physician, are your patients satisfied with the services?
- Do you have a contractual arrangement with this agency? If so, are they required to meet special standards of care?
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