As the American population ages, more and more people are finding themselves needing some form of home care. There are many different levels of care that are available around the country. Some people need to be in senior living facilities while others can be helped by a home nursing agency. If you are looking into the options for yourself or someone else, there are some things you can do to get the right service and help.
Determine what you need. If you are looking at hiring a home nursing agency or are looking into nursing care homes, you first need to determine what services that will be needed. There are different levels of care in different facilities. There are also different services. For example, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias send many people into assisted living facilities that have special programs for that. Even if you are looking only to hire a home nursing agency, you need to find one that can address your specific needs and requirements.
- Start by talking to your (or their) doctor. If you, or your loved one, is looking at their options vis-a-vis a home nursing agency, the doctor who is most familiar with your health needs should be the first person you consult. This person knows what kind of care you will need and may be already familiar with agencies in your area that can help with your specific needs and wants. They also may be able to suggest some that take your insurance.
- Talk to your insurance carrier. They may be able to offer you more information than who takes your policy and who does not. They may have ratings but also if your loved one does not speak English as their primary language, you may be able to find a home nursing agency that has people who speak whatever language they speak. This can make a big difference in their comfort level and can help prevent any issues that arise from communication problems.
- Talk to the people you know. It is important to note that skilled nursing facilities are no longer just for older people. Anyone who finds themselves in the position to need round the clock care may need to spend some tie in a skilled nursing facility. By the same token, there are people who find that they need the help of a home nursing agency because they were in an accident or had major surgery. People may not talk about hiring these agencies but if you ask around, you may know people who have. Ask how they found the agency and what they thought about working with them. It is always good to get a personal recommendation from someone you know and trust.
- Do some online research. There are a lot of websites out there that are devoted to helping people find very good quality products and services. Angie’s List and Yelp are two of them. In many cities and towns, Facebook groups and pages have been set up to promote local businesses. You should check all of these. A simple Google search can also give you a lot of information about the different home nursing agencies in your area.
- Ask about their staff. When you are talking to the different home nursing agencies, find out about their staff. Ask how they find them, what training they require, if they do background checks and what the turnover rate is like. Ideally, you will find a home nursing agency that has staff that stay with them for a long time. Happy home care workers do a better job than unhappy ones.
- Check their references. Many home healthy agencies have testimonials on their websites, you should look into these but should also ask the company for references. Make sure you check them. It is all too easy for any company to make up testimonials (or give them from clients they worked with a decade ago) or references. It is therefore important to take the time to check these things.
Whether you are looking for a home nursing agency or an assisted living community, the more work you do finding the right one, the better you will feel about the decision you make.