Monday, July 20, 2009

Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Provider

When it comes to needing long-term care, the majority of Americans today receive care in their own home. "People mistakenly associate long-term care with nursing home care," explains Jesse Slome, Executive Director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

"Today most long-term care takes place outside of a skilled care facility and the vast majority of long-term care insurance claims are not nursing home related."According to studies conducted by the industry trade group, some 42 percent of long-term care insurance benefits paid are for care at home (AALTCI's 2009 Long-Term Care Insurance Sourcebook). "Another 28 percent was for care in assisted living communities and only 30 percent was for care in skilled nursing facilities," Slome notes."

Home care services cover a wide range of needs, from memory care and companionship to meal preparation and medication reminders," says Jennifer Tucker, Vice President with Homewatch CareGivers, a national provider of homecare services. "They may also include help with the activities of daily living, including home care services like bathing, dressing, and grooming or care coordination services rendered by a registered nurse."

When selecting a home care agency, it is important to know what questions to ask. Here are five important questions that consumers should ask of a prospective service provider:

How long has the agency been providing private duty home care?

Is a written, customized care plan developed in consultation with the client and family members, and is the plan updated as changes occur?

How are emergencies handled after normal business hours?

Do they closely supervise the quality of care, including maintenance of a daily journal in the client’s home and non-scheduled supervisory visits?

Does the agency employ a nurse, social worker, or other qualified professional to make regular visits to the client’s home?

"A great way to find quality home care providers is to speak to a knowledgeable long-term care insurance professional," states Jesse Slome. "If they've been in the business for a few years, they likely have clients who are receiving care."

For additional information on home care for long-term care needs or to find local long-term care insurance professionals, visit the online Consumer Information Center from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and request information from any of the organization's 3,500 members nationwide.

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