Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide

Tips for Choosing Home Care

Home care encompasses a wide range of health and social services that can be delivered at home to recovering, disabled or chronically ill persons in need of medical, nursing, social or therapeutic treatment and/or assistance with the essential activities of daily living. It can be for anyone – individuals and families of all ages who are challenged by a variety of health and social problems such as short- or long-term illness, injury, physical handicaps, mental health disorders and chemical dependencies.

Home care services are provided by home care agencies. These agencies generally fall into three main groups: Home care agencies, home care aide organizations and hospices. In the past century, these public and private non-profit and for-profit organizations have centered around a core of professional nursing and home care aide services. Home care agencies also provide a variety of other services, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and social and nutritional care. Before one receives home care, a specific plan of treatment should be designed by a physician, nurse, and/or medical social worker in cooperation with the people who will provide the care. The team of caregivers is usually comprised of:

  1. physicians
  2. social workers
  3. registered nurse (RNs)
  4. licensed practical nurses (LPNs)
  5. therapy specialists (physical, occupational, and speech therapists)
  1. dieticians and pharmacists
  2. home care aides and chore workers/companions
  3. family members
  4. volunteers

Finding the home care agency best suited for your needs requires research, but it is time well spent. Once you acquire the names of several agencies, you will want to learn more about their services and reputations. Following are some questions to ask home care providers and community leaders. Their insight will help you determine which agency is best for you or your loved one.

Ask the home care agency to provide you with a list of individuals who are familiar with its reputation. Consult these people as well as physicians, discharge planners, and community leaders to help assess the quality of service the agency provides.

If you invest some time and follow the steps outlined above, you most likely will receive high-quality home care that is safe and effective. If a problem develops, you should first contact the home care agency's chief administrator or clinical supervisor. If the problem cannot be resolved or you would like to issue a complaint, notify the:

  1. Ohio Health Departments Complaint Hotline, 1-800-342-0553
    (This should only be used if the agency is Medicare certified.)
  2. Better Business Bureau - www.bbb.org
  3. State Long-Term Care Ombudsman at 1-800-282-1206
  4. State Attorney General's Consumer Protection at 1-800-282-0515
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