There have been many companies entering this business in the past few years, as well as individuals offering their services direct to you. Before placing the care of your loved one into the hands of someone you don’t know, we encourage you to know the questions to ask in evaluating their capabilities.
Here are some suggested questions you may want to ask of any agency or individual you are considering for hire:
What kinds of services do you provide?
Home health care is usually divided into two categories, non-medical and medical. Non-medical services, which usually do not require orders from your doctor, would include personal care assistance, meal preparation or companion services. Medical-based home care could range from a home health aide to highly skilled nursing care by an RN or LPN, as well as physical, occupational or speech therapy. This care is usually under the direction of your physician. Care can be short or long term, intermittent or around the clock.
What should I look for first in a home care provider?
First of all, you want to choose a licensed, full service agency so that no matter the need, you only have to deal with one provider. This also provides a very important continuum of care. A home care provider has to be able to respond to the gamut of home care possibilities, from the most basic care to the most complex. So the agency you select would ideally provide all services necessary. Very few agencies are considered full service, so they would be required to sub-contract out the services they do not provide. You also should ask how long they have been in business. MD Home Health/MD Home Assist combine to provide the full range of non-medical and medical services, and have been in business for 25 years.
Who will supervise my care?
There should be a supervisor directly involved in every case. This person should be the one to conduct an initial needs assessment and home evaluation. He or she will coordinate with the family and physician (when necessary) to determine the level of care that is needed. A comprehensive Care Plan will then be developed that best meets both the patient’s needs and the doctor’s home care objectives, while assuring continuity of care if discharged from a hospital. This plan details all schedules, services and what specific kind (or kinds) of care the patient needs. The supervisor will also monitor the case as it progresses, with periodic calls and visits, to ensure a smooth, coordinated response to changing needs-no matter what these changes may be. All patients of MD Home Health and MD Home Assist have a customized Care Plan developed by an RN or Care Supervisor.
What about the caregivers? What requirements does your company have for employees?
When you contact a prospective provider, ask about their qualification and selection procedures including fingerprinting, background checks, skills verification and continuing education. Find out, too, if their employees are bonded and insured. All MD employees have undergone each of these qualifying steps before being offered a position, and all are bonded and insured. In addition, continuing education is mandatory each year.
Will you verify my insurance coverage before services start? Will Medicare pay for home care?
If you are enrolled in Medicare, your care will likely be covered provided you meet the eligibility requirements. Generally this means one or more skilled services are ordered by your physician, are intermittent in nature and you are homebound. Medicare will not pay for hourly care. If you have Long Term Care insurance, and require assistance with four or more “activities of daily living” (ADL’s), then care is usually covered up to a maximum budget per day. Finally, most private insurance companies provide some form of coverage for home health, but this varies widely. The home health agency you choose should verify benefits of your policy prior to commencing care.
It is not uncommon for a patient who has been receiving home care to occasionally require admission into a hospital or rehabilitation facility following surgery. If the patient wishes to have a dedicated aide, they may do so by employing one of our nurse aides or personal care attendants/companions.
Typically, we can complete a full needs assessment and begin medical-based care within 48 hours, and non-medical/supportive care in as little as 24 hours.
Will I have access to consultation with a nurse 24/7?
MD Home Health always has a Registered Nurse on call 24/7. This nurse is available for consultation whether the patient is receiving medical care through MD Home Health, or non-medical care through MD Home Assist.
While we take painstaking efforts to match the best available caregiver with the patient’s medical and social needs, a “meet and greet” will always be arranged prior to services starting and the patient and/or family always has the right to approve or disapprove of the individual we are recommending.
All caregivers are bonded to cover theft or damage to a patient’s property. They are also insured by a AAA-rated national company for professional/general liability and by a state-funded workers compensation policy.
What happens if my caregiver is sick or doesn’t show?
One of the many advantages of working through an agency, and MD in particular, is the availability of additional staff to cover such absences. With more than 300 qualified caregivers to draw from, it is our goal to never allow an appointment to go unfilled.
Do you only provide care to seniors?
No, we do not restrict our care to just seniors. We have historically provided a significant amount of our care to pediatric patients as well as accident victims and post-surgical patients undergoing recovery, new mothers and their babies, and individuals of all ages with disabilities.
If you would like to know our answers to any other questions not listed here, we’d be happy to provide them. Just give us a call or send us an email by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab.