Choosing an Agency:
Finding the best home care provider for your needs requires a little research, but it is time well spent. Quality of care and competency of personnel should be your primary concerns. You have the right to choose any home care provider who is qualified to provide the services you need, althought that choice may be restricted somewhat if you are enrolled in a managed care plan (such as a Medicare Advantage Plan). Here are some questions to consider when deciding which home care provider is best for you:
How long has the provider been serving the community?
The agency you choose should have a proven track record in providing exceptional services to the community. Advantage has been serving the community since 1995 in several different capacities and has developed a reputation for excellence. Advantage has been named to the Top 25% of agencies in the country the past five years in a row and has locally been recognized as the Top Agency 2 out of the past 3 years.
Is the agency licensed or certified in the state?
Make sure that the agency you choose is licensed and regulated by a state agency that performs regular surveys and maintains high set standards. Advantage Skilled Care is certified and regulated by the Ohio Department of Health. Our last 3 Medicare Surveys in 2007, 2010 and 2012 have been deficiency free- meaning we have been found to be in complete compliance with all federal regulations.
How does the provider select and train its employees?
It is important that the people you are letting into your home are experienced, well-trained and trustworthy. Advantage Skilled Care hires the best employees in the field and offers them continuous development activities. Every employee must pass extensive checks and meet caring and reliability standards. Criminal background and reference checks are just two of the requirements that must be met.
Our employees are insured and bonded for the protection of all our patients. Advantage also continuously monitors our employees and the services you receive to ensure that our patients are receiving the best possible care.
Are all employees licensed?
All employees providing professional services should maintain current licenses with the state. Advantage hires only professionals that are licensed by the State of Ohio. In order to maintain current licenses with the State of Ohio, these professionals must also meet set standards determined by the state.
Does the agency provide patients and families with written instructions?
The patient and family should know up front what their rights and responsibilities as a home care patient are, what, if any, fees there are for services to be provided, what the agency does to maintain patient privacy, who to contact in case of an emergency, and who to contact if there is a complaint. Advantage provides all new patients with a Client Handbook that includes all of the above information and more. This handbook is reviewed with the patient prior to admission so that the patient and family can make an informed decision regarding admission.
Are the patient’s needs discussed?
It is most important that the patient be involved in the home care planning process. Communication is of utmost importance with home care. Advantage Skilled Care will work with the patient and family to discuss what the patient’s needs are, set goals and create interventions that will help the patient achieve those goals. Advantage will also communicate needs to the patient’s physician and keep him current with your progress.
What services are available from the agency?
You want to make sure the agency you choose provides all of the services that you and your loved one require. The agency should also be willing and able to help you arrange for the delivery and medical equipment, prescriptions, oxygen etc. Advantage offers Nursing, Home Health Aides, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Medical Social Services. Advantage can also work with the medical equipment supplier and pharmacy of your choice to coordinate the many services that are, or may become necessary. Advantage Skilled Care also works closely with it’s sister agency, Advantage Home Health Care, Inc., and the local PASSPORT agency to better coordinate the ongoing personal care that the patient may also be receiving, or need to receive. This allows patients and families to concentrate on recovery, rather than spending time making several phone calls.
When are personnel available from the agency?
You will also want to make sure that the services provided are available when you need them. Advantage admits patients within 48 hours of receiving the referral, and often within 24 hours. This helps assure the patient that they will receive services when they need it most, especially in cases where the patient is being discharge from the hospital or a skilled nursing facility. Our nurses are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Check out Medicare’s Home Health Compare site.
Any patient that has home care services ordered has the right to choose which home care agency thery prefer to provide their care. No doctor, nurse or hospital can demand you receive your services from their preferred home care provider.
Before discharge from a hospital, ask to see the list of providers that are available in your home location.