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How to Choose a Home Health Aide

  • Published: 2011-10-23 (Revised/Updated 2013-06-16) : Author: Jessica Bosari
  • Synopsis: Information on how to choose a home health aide before making a hiring decision.

Choosing the right home health aide for you and your situation requires planning.

Finding the right individual to work with you or your loved one will go a long way towards easing the stress and worry that surrounds the need for home health care. It is a good idea to think about the following aspects of home health care employees before making a hiring decision.

What Types of Home Health Care Aids Are Available

Homemakers or Personal Care Assistants are individuals who can be hired to assist with daily activities and to run errands. Examples of the types of services a personal care assistant provides would include cooking and cleaning, running errands, and companionship. Many families find that a trusted personal care aid is an invaluable person to provide care with licensed professionals are gone for the day.

Home Health Aides have formal training, and are often Certified Nurse Assistants. Agencies that employ home health aides assume full liability for the patient's care, so quality control is generally very high. Home health aides may have training in specialized care, such as geriatrics or mental illness. Aids may be able to monitor daily health, administer medications, and assist with daily physical therapy exercises.

As a rule, nurses, physicians, and physical therapists do not provide daily care. They may be available to visit at designated intervals; however, the cost of these visits is likely to be prohibitive. The rules about home health care in your state may bear on the situation as well. For instance, Illinois nursing laws require that home services and home nursing agencies be licensed, which can also drive up the cost of care.

What Are Your Needs

This may sound self-evident, but you should make sure that you know what you want the home health aide to do for you before you start interviewing. Here are some aspects of care you should think about ahead of time.

What Are the Patient's Needs

Does the patient need help with basic daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, or bathroom assistance? Some home aides have limitations on the type of assistance they provide. It is important to establish right away what functions they will provide, to ensure that the patient receives the appropriate level of care.

How Much Can You Afford

In home health care can be prohibitively expensive, so be sure you understand what the cost is before you make a decision. Medicare may help cover some of the cost of in-home patient care. Medicare often has limitations on the amount of care they will cover, and the types of employees that can be hired.

What Other Special Needs Does The Patient Have

Most CNA's and other home health employees are competent in dealing with a variety of needs. However, sometimes it pays to have a specialist. Patients with Alzheimer's disease, patients recovering from some surgeries, or patients who are undergoing physical therapy are all situations where an aid with further training could be invaluable.

Finding Home Health Care Personnel

There are agencies that can help find the right home health care your family. Social workers at hospitals or long-term facilities may have recommendations to make. Other health care providers, such as your family doctor or therapist may have their own agencies that they like to work with.

Do not be afraid to ask the prospective individual for information on their credentials and references. Be certain that before you reach an agreement, both you and the provider have a written care plan signed by both parties.

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