Selecting a Home Care Provider

As home care’s popularity grows, how do you choose a home care provider? Here are some questions you should ask when selecting a home care agency.

  • How long has the agency been serving the community? Length of service can be a measure of stability and reliability.
  • Is the agency certified by Medicare? The fact that an agency is Medicare-certified is one measure of quality, because it means that the agency has met federal requirements.
  • Is the agency licensed?
  • What are the agency's procedures for handling emergencies?
  • Does the agency provide print material describing its services, eligibility requirements, fees and funding sources?
  • Does the agency assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care being delivered in the home? Is there a supervisor on call and available 24 hours a day?
  • How does an agency choose and train its employees? Does it protect its workers with written personnel policies, benefit packages and malpractice insurance?
  • Does an agency nurse or therapist conduct an in-home evaluation of the patient's needs? What is included in the evaluation and who is consulted (patient's family, physician)?
  • Is there a written plan of care and does the physician, patient and family participate in its development?
  • Does the agency require criminal record background checks and communicable disease screens for its staff?
  • Whom do you call at the agency with questions or complaints? How are problems resolved?
  • Does the agency ensure patient confidentiality?

If your doctor decides you need home health care, you have the freedom to choose among a list of participating Medicare-certified home health agencies that serve your geographic area to give you the care and services you need. Your choice should be honored by your doctor, hospital discharge planner, or other referring agency.

A helpful tool in choosing a home care agency can be found in Home Health Compare, where you can review what measures matter most to you and compare those measures for all the agencies. This is only one factor to consider when you are making your choice. Other factors are asking your doctor, hospital discharge planner, or social worker. You can ask friends about their home health care experiences.

Community Nursing is one of only two agencies in northwestern PA to be included in the top 25 percent of 2012 HomeCare Elite listing. There is no application to become one of the HomeCare Elite, nor does the agency belong to a specific group or pay a fee to be considered. This ranking is based on publically reported outcomes, a totally transparent rating of home care agencies nationwide. “Caring for our community is truly what we do best”.