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How to Find the Right Home Care Agency

Home Care Baltimore MD-Finding the right home care agency sounds simple. Before you begin your home care agency search, here is everything you need to know about finding the right agency.
Vital Sign Home Care

Finding the right home care agency sounds simple. But it is common for families to feel confused
and not know where to begin their search. During this time a loved one is in the hospital, in rehab, or recovering at home from an illness or injury. Trying to navigate the process of obtaining home care services and taking care of them at the same time is a challenge. Before you begin your home care agency search, here is everything you need to know about finding the right agency.

The Basics of Home Care

The most common assumption families make in their search for home care is that nursing and caregiving at home are the same things. It’s not. Home health care refers to skilled medical professionals like nurses, physical therapists, and home health aides who come to the house to visit a patient at set times during the week. A doctor must decide that their patient needs home health care and order it. Home health care visits are covered by insurance companies in most cases. Families can also choose to pay for home health services directly if desired.

Home care is care provided by a non-skilled caregiver in your loved one’s home. They assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, transferring, walking, and feeding. Caregivers also help with household tasks like laundry, cleaning, and meal preparation. Unlike skilled medical professionals, the home care provided by caregivers is provided according to the hours you need them to be there. A caregiver may come a few hours a day throughout the week, stay with a loved one during the day, or live with them.

Medical insurance like Medicare does not cover the cost of a caregiver because it is personal care. Long-term care insurance and Medicaid do cover the cost of personal care. Agencies also accept payment out-of-pocket.

Ask for An Evaluation

Some home care agencies offer skilled home health care along with caregiver services. Other agencies offer only one service type. Start your search by considering what your loved one needs. If you’re not sure what type of services your loved one needs, ask the agency you’re interested in working with to conduct an evaluation. Your loved one’s doctor can also conduct one. The purpose of an evaluation is to identify the areas your loved one needs help with

Questions to Ask

Next, compile a list of questions to ask prospective agencies. These questions should include, but are not limited to:

Who is the agency certified by? 
Licensing requirements are different for caregiving services and skilled home health services. But the agency should have the appropriate local certification for the services they offer. 

What training do caregivers have? 
Caregivers are considered unskilled because they do not provide any type of medical care. The Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), who provide personal care are licensed by the State of Maryland and are required to complete training for the license. Ask if the agency offers any type of specialized care if your loved one has a specific condition or illness. 

What requirements do caregivers have to meet when working for the agency?
Every agency has hiring requirements for its staff. Each prospective agency should be able to tell you if:
     -   They require background screenings for all employees
     -   References are checked and how many are required
     -   Staff members must have a minimum amount of experience before working there
     -   What their supervision procedures are
     -   They have a plan for caregivers who call in sick 

Care Plans

The most important part of hiring a home care agency is the care plan. As the name suggests, a care plan outlines the goals of care for every client. It should also spell out how the agency intends to track its client’s progress toward these goals. Most agencies will create a care plan and leave a copy at the home so that the family can keep track of care as well.

Finding the right home care agency doesn’t have to be a challenge. At Vital Sign Home Care, we believe in offering quality home care to our clients transparently which encourages collaboration between clients and caregivers. If you’re searching for home care services in and around the Baltimore, Maryland area, reach out to us today!

A Trusted Skilled Medical and Non-Medical senior home care provider in Annapolis, Arnold, Severn, Guilford, Towson, Brooklandville, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Bel Air, Ellicott City, Columbia MD, and surrounding areas.

If you or an aging loved one is considering Home Care Services in Baltimore MD please contact the caring staff at Vital Sign Home Care today. (410) 814-0258

Venus Ricks, RN CM/DN

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