Key considerations for finding a home care agency and a caregiver that is right for you.
According to AARP, more than 90% of seniors would prefer to age in place, meaning stay home as they continue to age. Home Care Association of America member agencies help make this a workable and affordable solution. HCAOA member agencies and their caregivers help improve the safety, nutrition and well-being of their clients.
As the leading home care association, we want you to find the right care for you and your family. Below are a few things to consider as you decide on an agency.
Assess your true needs Home care can provide a wide range of care. From simple companionship, to keep a senior engaged and connected. To helping with light housekeeping or errands. Some agencies even offer skilled nursing for individuals with ongoing health conditions.
If you’re unsure of the best fit for your loved one, talk to your physician, or reach out to an HCAOA member agency and complete their initial assessment. This assessment can help determine what type of care is best suited to your particular situation.
Work with a reputable agency Look for designations – Home Care Pulse evaluates home care agencies based on their support and their caregivers. Working with an agency, can help reduce many potential liabilities rather than trying to hire direct. From scheduling to taxes, insurance and more, working with a reputable agency can assure you have the coverage you need and the right caregiver for your needs.
Ask about caregiver background checks There’s nothing wrong with being picky about who you allow to provide care for a loved one. Be sure to ask agencies if they background check their caregivers and if so, what methods they use. If you feel uncomfortable about a home care agency’s procedure for screening caregivers, it may be best to trust your gut and use a different provider.
Ask about the agency’s caregiver training Find out what certification requirement and/or agency training caregivers undergo. Basic certifications like CPR and First Aid may provide peace of mind that basic aid is available in case of an accident while the caregiver is on duty, as well as give you an idea about the hiring standards of the company. If you have needs for special language skills or cultural capacity talk about these specifically.
Ask whether the agency meets local certification requirements Each state has different requirements for home care agencies. However, inquiring about an agency’s State Certification status can help you gauge their legitimacy and ensure monitoring from regulatory agencies. For information on specific agency certification requirements in your agency, contact your local Area Agency on Aging (FCA's Family Care Navigator can help with this), or your local department of senior services.
Understand your financial commitments Depending on the types of services provided by the agency, as well as the specific condition of your loved one, some in-home care services may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Benefits or long-term care insurance. Be upfront on your needs and financial resources, this way the home care agency’s intake coordinator can help you make the best decisions for your needs.
Ask for references For assurance about the proficiency of a home care agency that you’re considering, you have the right to ask for references. Most reputable home care agencies will be able to provide you with referrals of current clients or referral partners that can attest to their experience with the agency.
Know your care plan After you’ve completed your in-home care assessment with an agency, make sure you know what services can be expected, your costs, and what to expect in terms of follow-up from the organization after the first shift and beyond. Also ask how often they will reassess the care plan, to ensure as needs change, the care plan adapt to keep your loved one safe and supported.
Making a decision to bring in care can be a bit overwhelming, feel free to use our Find a Provider directory to find member agencies in your area.