How to Choose a Senior Home Care Agency

Caregiverlist has organized a checklist to assist in making sure you have the right information at hand when you begin the search for a Senior Home Care agency for elder care needs.  Sometimes family members are not aware of all the various care needs which an agency may be addressing in order to provide a quality Caregiver and to develop an appropriate schedule for the care services.

Most agencies will meet with the senior to conduct a Client Assessment Interview and then will create a Plan of Care which will include specifics on the care needs.  By effectively communicating the care needs to the agency, you will assist them to be successful in providing a quality senior care solution.'s Checklist: Choosing a Home Care Agency

  1. Needs

    First consider the actual care needs and write out a list of items that need to be provided. Be able to give an example of a typical day for the care recipient, from the moment they wake up until they go to bed and include a timeline of when they prefer meals, naps and other activities.
  2. Hands-on

    How much hands-on care is needed vs. companion care? If more companion care is needed, make a list of possible activities.
  3. Transportation

    Do you need a Caregiver who can escort the client to doctor's appointments and social activities? If so, what mode of transportation will they use? Will the Caregiver drive the client in the client's car? Keep in mind that you may need to research your car insurance coverage if this is the case. Will the Caregiver drive the client in the Caregiver's car? If so, be aware that it will be difficult to be 100% sure that the Caregiver's insurance policy is up-to-date even if you verify this in the beginning. If they have a late or missed payment the policy could be cancelled without your knowledge. Will they take public transportation (bus or taxi cab)? This is probably the safest method of transportation to prevent the risks of insurance issues. (Some cities provide special transportation privileges for seniors and you may want to contact your local Department on Aging for information).
  4. Memory Loss

    Is there memory loss? If so, have you had the type of Memory Loss diagnosed (Alzheimer's Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Pick’s Disease, Frontal Lobe Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, Lewy Body Disease, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, Vascular Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease)? Blood clots and brain tumors may also cause dementia. A diagnosis of dementia type will help the agency to better understand the care needs and assign a Caregiver with the right type of training and qualifications.
  5. Language

    Do you need a Caregiver who speaks a certain language?
  6. Hours

    How many hours of care per day will you require? Review the list of services you will need performed during the care visit and decide on the minimum number of hours per day which would work as a starting point. The agency will need to know the hours of service to assign a Caregiver and will allow you to adjust the hours after the first week to accurately meet the care needs.
  7. Dietary

    Are there any special cooking requirements? Communicate any food allergies or specific cooking requests and consider how groceries will be purchased or delivered if the care recipient is unable to shop for groceries on their own.
  8. Additional Skills

    Are there any "skilled" care requirements, such as taking blood pressure, blood sugar testing, wound care or a feeding tube? Communicate if these specialized services will need to be performed or monitored.
  9. Medication Management

    What is the care recipients method for managing medications? Do you know for sure if the medications are currently being taken correctly? Be able to provide a list of medications and the method of monitoring so the Agency will be aware of possible side effects and other requirements such as taking pills with or without food, etc.
  10. Case Management

    Will medication management be required (organizing the medications in a pillbox and obtaining refills)? Due to insurance purposes, this service usually must be provided by a Supervisor or R.N. depending on the state and an additional fee is charged for the service, separate from the daily or hourly caregiving rate. If the client is unable to manage their medications, determine if a family member will take on this responsibility or if you will need the Agency to perform this task too.
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Comments (1) -

  • monica paniagua

    7/23/2008 10:21:14 PM | Reply

    i need to now more about elderly care, i am very interested


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