Finding the Right Home Health Care
Part 3 - Questions to Ask
In our final blog about finding the right home health care we are looking at 7 important questions to ask an agency before agreeing to go with them.
It is important to have as much information as possible before picking a home health agency. These questions will give you the basis you need to make a good decision.
Am I covered?
Home health care agencies are like doctor’s offices - some of them take certain insurances and some of them don’t. To see if you are in network, you can either call the agency or your insurance company. If you use Medicare, you need to make sure that the agency is Medicare certified.
Another thing to check is to see how much your insurance covers. Some plans only cover a certain percentage and you are expected to pay the rest. Make sure that you know how much you will be expected to pay before you begin treatment.
Do you offer the specific service I need?
Home health care agencies are limited to the service they provide based on the nurses they have. Not all agencies will be able to provide you with occupational therapy or wound care services. Check to make sure that the agency can provide you with the services you need.
Can you meet my other needs?
Do you also need personal care services? Is English not your first language? Is your schedule limited? If you have request like these, check with the agency to see if they have nurses that can fulfill your requests.
How long has your company been in business?
Knowing how long a company has been in business, doesn’t necessarily show how much experience the nurses or agency has, but it does show the stability of the business. Having a business that has been established for a couple of years means that they will have more experience working with insurance companies, talking to doctors, and more patients as proof of their work. A business that has been up and running for a long time is almost always a good sign.
Will the same nurse be in charge of my case?
Some home health care agencies assign one nurse to a patient, and others assign multiple nurses to a patient based on scheduling, travel, and time. It is best to know ahead of time how they operate.
If I don’t like the nurse assigned to me, can I request a replacement?
If you find that you don’t like your nurse or don’t believe they are giving you quality care, you want to make sure that you have the option of switching nurses. Make sure this is something that the agency you choose has options for.
Can you provide me with references?
Nothing will tell you about the quality of care and treatment of an agency’s patients better than previous patients and doctors. Check with your agency to see if they have references you can speak to before deciding.
Once you feel comfortable with the responses you get from an agency, have your doctor send a referral notice to the agency and they will schedule you’re initial visit.
During this first visit, you should expect the nurse to go over your health history, check vitals, and go over your plan of care with you.