3 Things to Know When Hiring a Home Health Aide

With so many home health agencies available, it can be hard to know if you are choosing the best caregiver possible for your loved one. Advocare’s South Florida Provider Network is a consumer-driven, unique and different homecare services model that transforms the experience of finding, screening, and hiring in-home caregivers in South Florida. The Network is not just one homecare agency, it’s Advocare’s entire provider network of top agencies. Check out more HERE. Thanks for visiting at Advocare.

In 2012, some 58,500 paid, regulated long-term care companies served about 8 million people in the U.S., some 4.7 million of whom received that care in their home. And more often than not, experts say those receiving that care – be it one, two or all of the basic activities of daily living – didn’t know the first thing about hiring a home health care provider.

So what do you need to know should you ever need the services of a home health care provider?

Get smart

First, knowing whether you need home health care is a good start. Licensed home health aides provide hands-on personal care, but not medical care, in the home – activities such as bathing and dressing. If all you need is help with cooking and running errands, you might be better off hiring homemaker services, also referred to as personal care assistants or companions.

If you do need a home health care provider, consider this hurdle. Thousands upon thousands of firms provide licensed services, not to mention many firms providing unlicensed services. There are at least 12,206 home health agencies in the U.S., about 76.1% of these agencies were Medicare- and Medicaid-certified, 22.5% were Medicare-certified only, and 1.4% were Medicaid-certified only, according to the National Center for Health Statistics’ report, Long-Term Care Services in the United States: 2013 Overview.

When searching for in-home care for yourself or an aging family member, Linda Fodrini-Johnson, the founder and executive director of Eldercare Services, a Walnut Creek, Calif.-based home care company, recommends applying this screen: Look for a licensed care agency that has at least five years’ experience and meets all the state’s licensing laws.And, she says, “Be sure they have a clear agreement for services to sign before starting services.”

When vetting an agency, also ask about the training that staffers receive, Fodrini-Johnson says. “Ask if the agency provides training and if you have a family member with dementia – are the care providers trained on how to work with someone with memory and behavioral issues?”

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