It is probably one of the most important decisions you will have to make: how to care for an aging or sick loved one at home when you cannot be there yourself. It is an emotional and stressful time to go through for everyone in the family. The important thing is to take a deep breath and set out with a list of questions, requirements and your gut feelings. While gut feelings cannot be easily quantified, they can be just as important as evaluating the concrete qualifications of each prospective agency. This is because the personalities of home care staff need to mesh well with your loved one for the best outcome. So; how to select the best home care agency? Here are some questions to answer while you are interviewing various agencies:
Is the home care agency licensed and accredited?
Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Health is in charge of licensing home care agencies. State inspectors and auditors ensure that home care agencies follow all state laws with regard to the levels of safety, care, continuing education, etc. When you are asking yourself how to select the best home care agency, it is essential that your search start with licensing.
Accreditation is an extra step that some (but not all) home health care agencies in Northern Virginia have elected to take to ensure a higher standard of quality amongst their caregivers. At Home Personal Care Services has taken those extra steps to be accredited by CHAP, the Community Health Accreditation Program. This nation-wide accrediting agency regularly measures performance, safety and organizational processes and grants accreditation to those agencies that meet the highest standards. It also ensures that we pursue constant improvement in our processes and our employees’ performance. This gives those who work with us an extra measure of peace and assurance that their loved ones are getting the very best care at all times.
How to Select the Best Home Care Agency: Employee Screening and Training
Another very important thing to research is how various agencies screen, vet and train the caregivers in their employ. You may be working with an agency, but on a day-to-day basis, the face of the agency is your loved one’s personal caregiver. Any truly reputable home care agency will be able to provide caregiver references that include doctors, hospitals, former clients, etc. Also research what kind of ongoing training is given to employees. Are they regularly updated on newer, better standards of care, new laws, etc.? In addition to the agency itself being licensed, insured and accredited, each individual caregiver should be licensed, insured and accredited in their field of responsibility.
How to Select the Best Home Care Agency: The Personal Connection
Naturally, it is vitally important to make sure you have all of the aforementioned details sorted out, all of the certificates vetted and licensing checked before you select a home health agency for your loved one. But again, do not forget the personal connection. Ask friends and family members for their experiences, if they have any, with various home health agencies and caregivers. Also, the best home health care agencies will give you the option to interview and select from between a few of their caregivers so that you can find the right match for your family.
If you have any questions at all about how to select the best home care agency for your loved one, please call us today at (703) 330-2323. We look forward to helping you!