There are a number of important options to consider and questions to be asked when selecting and purchasing health or personal care services in the home. Some of these items are discussed below (view Selecting Home Care .pdf version).
How long has the agency (or individual) been operating in the community? Is the agency licensed by a government agency and able to provide “hands on” care or is the agency only able to provide companion care? Is the agency accredited by a professional association? Can the agency provide references from clients?
How does the agency select and train its employees? Does the agency carry malpractice insurance? Does it insure employees who provide financial services or who do banking and shopping for clients? By whom and how often are home care workers supervised? Who do you call with questions or complaints about services? On what grounds can you request a change in workers? Does the agency provide substitutes? How will an emergency request for assistance be handled? Are workers employed by the agency or sub-contracted from another agency?
If you need personal care or skilled services, will a professional perform an assessment in your home? Will you receive a written plan of care, and is it updated as changes occur?
What are the costs of the service? Does the agency have written information explaining ALL costs and payment plan options? Make sure you understand exactly what services will be provided and what it will cost. Are there minimum hour requirements? Does the agency use a sliding scale fee schedule to accommodate lower income clients? Is there a charge for telephone consultation?
Is there a fee for an assessment? Is there a fee for a reassessment if your condition changes or you have new problems?
Will the agency bill your insurance, and if so, what are the procedures if your insurance denies payment? How are late payments handled?
The Dutchess County Office For The Aging and DUTCHESS NY Connects can provide information and assistance on home care and also on other community services which may be available. For information call 486-2555.