May 26, 2019
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How to choose the right home health agency

For many, it’s a nightmare scenario—an injury or illness forcing you to stay home for an extended period. You miss work, family, and personal time. Perhaps the worst of it is the lingering question: “Who will take care of me?”

Home health care comprises a wide range of health care services provided in your home after injury or illness. It can be more convenient and just as effective as care you’d receive in a hospital or nursing facility, and can provide services such as housekeeping, transportation, living assistance, and even companionship.

How do you choose the right home health agency for you? First, know what your needs are to help decipher what agency would be able to offer the best overall quality care. Do you need:

      • Concierge services—non-medical needs such as transportation to appointments or errands, housekeeping tasks, medication reminders, meal preparations, and companionship
      • Nursing care—medication refills, IVs, wound care and therapy
      • Post-surgery care
      • Pediatric care
      • Elder care—assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, mobility, and eating
      • Staff relief services

Then, ask prospective providers these important questions:  

Is the agency licensed by the state?

Some agencies are registered by the state, which means they are not required to meet regulatory standards. However, you want an agency that is licensed by the state. This requires the agency to meet strict regulations. The Division of Licensing and Certification monitors licensed agencies on a regular basis to ensure compliance with these regulations.

How is care tailored to my needs?

At many agencies such as New England Home Health Care, a plan of care will be developed with the client and/or family members that’s customized to the client’s needs. This plan of care is reviewed by caregivers prior to the caregiver starting an assigned shift.

Are the caregivers trained and certified? Employee screening? Are they insured and bonded?

While most agencies like New England Home Health Care only hire employees with a valid certificate of training, it’s not always the case. Some  unlicensed agencies hire employees with little to no experience, and training is not completed until months after hire. Because unlicensed agencies are not regulated, they may not have strict hiring requirements.

How are the caregivers supervised? How do the caregivers know what you need?

At an agency like New England Home Health Care, registered nurses (RNs) supervise the caregivers. An RN will visit your home or contact you regularly to discuss any questions or concerns about your care.

What if there’s a medical concern or an emergency? What if a caregiver is sick?

Many agencies like New England Home Health Care have an RN and a scheduler available 24/7 for both clients and caregiver needs.

How long has this agency been serving the community? What is its reputation and what areas does it serve?

New England Home Health Care has been a licensed home health care provider in Maine for more than 30 years, providing service to Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Hancock counties. To learn more or to schedule a “meet and greet,” call 207.947.3374 or visit nehhc.com.


SIDEBAR

What can New England Home Health Care do for you?

  • Daily living assistance such as meal preparation, bathing, dressing, transferring, feeding and toileting.
  • Housekeeping duties including dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning of bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms.
  • Transportation to medical appointments and errands such as the grocery store (and even grocery shopping).
  • Companionship is vital for a healthy lifestyle. We are happy to take you to the mall, read to you, or play games with you.
  • Licensed nurses can fill your pill box weekly and assure medication compliance, help you to understand and teach you how to manage your disease process.

New England Home Health Care can work in conjunction with your Medicare Agency to supplement the care they provide, or to continue the care they provided after you have been discharged.


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