5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Home Care, by Emily Rowden Fournier

Starting home care can be a scary thing. There is so much to consider when choosing a provider. Some questions always come to mind regarding your safety and the safety of your property, your needs, and even whether or not you REALLY want home care. Many people feel pressured into getting home care from their families. Some people realize the things they are no longer capable of doing on their own but see home care as a failure on their part.

Let us set the record straight: Many people, of all ages and walks of life, receive home care for one reason or another. It should not be an embarrassment to ask for help. You are no less of a person because you need services. In fact, you may find that home care can give you back some of the life you once had, or would like to maintain.

So how does one figure out if home care is right for them, and which home care company they should hire? Here are some questions you should ask before you start home care.

  1. Do I need home care?
    This question may seem simple enough, but is often the most overlooked. Here are some sub-questions of this question. Answer each one and see where you fit in.
  • Have you ever thought of receiving home care?
  • Has your family suggested getting a nurse, housekeeper, or other aid to help you with your daily activities?
  • Are you or your family finding that you are forgetting to take your medications, pick things up from the pharmacy, or other tasks?
  • Do you find driving and shopping to be more difficult lately; or, do you need someone to do these things for you?
  • Are you exhausted or worn out by daily tasks?
  • Are you feeling like you are becoming a difficulty for your family to help care for?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, you may want to start home care. Having a nurse or personal service specialist come into your home can give you and your family peace of mind while allowing you to do the things you want to do.

  1. What services do I need?
    Many home care agencies offer different services. Some will only provide services for a duration after a hospital visit. Others specialize in certain diseases or stages in life. It is important to find the one that fits you. Home care becomes a relationship between you, the provider(s), and the supervisor(s). You want to find the people that you are most comfortable with. By recognizing what services are most important to you to receive, you will be able to narrow your search to those who will provide those services.
  1. How long will I need services?
    Not all people need services forever. For instance, if you are going into a surgery that requires a long healing process at home, you may need services for that period of time. However, some people will require the agency’s service for the rest of their lives. Knowing how long you will need the services can help you better plan what kind of services and which agency is best fitted for you.
  1. How will I pay?
    Money is an important thing when considering hiring an agency. There are programs and insurance companies that will pay or help pay for home care. However, sometimes people are not eligible for these services. When considering home care, it is important to find out how much the agency will charge you for various services.
  1. What kind of background check do you do on your workers?
    This is not so much a question for you, but for the agency you choose. Think about it: Do you want someone being sent to your home to take care of you without knowing that their background is clean? Do not just assume that the agency you are planning on hiring does a sufficient criminal background check. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Do not be afraid to interview the agency. Remember, you are hiring them. Healthcare providers like to see you take charge of your own care; they will not be upset at all the questions. Impress the agency with showing them that you know what you want, what you can afford, and what you seek out of them. Do not be afraid to let them know if you are looking at other agencies as well. Also, talk to other people, get referrals. Friends and family will be honest about services they have received and who was good and who was not. All in all, be comfortable with the change. It can be a difficult decision, but it is not necessarily a bad one. Home care can be a relief and can give you your life back if you let it.

Posted in Long Term Care