Choosing a Home Healthcare Agency
What is Home Healthcare?
Home healthcare includes skilled nursing care, as well as other skilled care services like physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, and medical social services. The home health team provides, and helps to coordinate, the care and/or therapy that your doctor orders. While you get home care, home health staff teach you (and those who help you) how to provide your care at home since most home healthcare is intermittent, and part-time patients need to learn to identify and care for possible problems. The goal of home healthcare is to help you get better, regain your independence, and become as self sufficient as possible.
How Do I Find a Medicare-Approved Home Health Agency?
You can find a Medicare-approved home health agency by:
- Visiting Compare Home Health Agencies in Your Area at www.medicare.gov (link opens a new window)
- Asking your doctor, hospital discharge planner, or friends and family
- Using a senior referral service
- Looking in the Yellow Pages under "home care" or "home healthcare"
What Questions Should I Ask the Home Health Agency?
- Are you Medicare certified?
- Do you offer the services I need (nursing, PT, OT, etc.)?
- Can you meet my special needs (language or cultural preferences)?
- Do you offer the personal care services I need (help bathing, dressing, using the bathroom)?
- Do you offer the support services I need (like help with laundry, cooking, shopping, or housekeeping) or can you help me arrange for additional services?
- Do you have staff available to provide the type, and hours of care my doctor ordered?
- Do you have staff available at night and weekends for emergencies?
- Can you please explain to me what Medicare or my insurance will cover and what I must pay?
- Do you do background checks on your staff?
- Do you have references who testify that your staff provides good care?