Hiring home health and home care services is a new process for most families. It’s important to understand how it works and what to expect from an agency or a caregiver.
Home Care Assessment
A quality care provider will perform a complete home care assessment before starting care to determine your loved one’s care needs. While some agencies charge for this service, others will conduct an assessment free of charge.
During a home care assessment, a case manager will meet with you and your loved one to discuss your loved one’s greatest age-related challenges, your loved one’s lifestyle and daily schedule, and your overall goals for care. Typically, an evaluation includes:
- A safety review of the home
- A complete physical assessment of all body systems and needs of the care recipient with regards to bathing and grooming, dressing, meals and diet, mobility, and incontinence
- An assessment of specific emotional needs such as social interaction, activities, conversation, appointments, and companionship
- An assessment of specific assistance with homemaking such as preparation of meals, groceries, linens, laundry, and light housekeeping
- A thorough review of all prescription and over-the-counter medications in the home
- A verification of medications, treatments, and physician orders with the referring physician
- A review of schedules involving sleep, eating, and medicine
- A review of logistics, including schedules, access to the home, documentation, and the details of how to work with scheduling changes, the office, or the caregivers
Custom Care Plan
With input from you and your loved one, the case manager develops a plan of care and detailed recommendations on exactly what kind of services would benefit your loved one. The case manager will schedule a follow-up meeting with you and your family to go over the custom care plan and modify it as you see fit. If necessary, the case manager will also present it to your loved one’s physician for approval.
Getting to know your loved one is also a key part of the caregiver selection process. A home care assessment means that case manager is able to match your loved one with a caregiver whose personality, skills, and experience are best suited to your loved one’s needs. This is an important step because quality agencies want to choose the right caregiver(s) from the start so your family is always seeing the same smiling face or faces (if your loved one needs a team of caregivers).
The case manager coordinates the implementation of the caregiving plan and tweaks it as needed. In addition, the case manager coordinates the services of other members of the health care team and caregivers, communicates with the health insurance company, communicates with the physician, and supervises other visiting nurses or home health aides who also provide care.
As your loved one’s home health and home care continue your case manager always remains available for questions or concerns. In addition, care plans are updated monthly to reflect your loved one’s changing needs and challenges.
For an in-depth look at the differences between home health and home care services, how home health and home care professionals are trained and licensed, and what to look for when hiring home health and home care services, download our Guide to Home Health & Home Care Services.