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Is Home Care Right for You?

Home health care services promote independence to individuals of all ages. Home care can provide a viable, cost-effective health care environment outside of the institutional setting of a hospital or nursing home. Advanced technologies now enable health care professionals to use sophisticated, high-tech medical equipment and procedures in the home to promote healing and/or comfort and pain relief. Home health care services include care provided by skilled professionals as prescribed and directed by the individual’s personal physician, as well as supportive services including assistance with walking, bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and light housekeeping.

Finding a Home Care Agency

Finding the home health agency best suited for your needs requires research, but it is time well spent. Important factors include the quality of care, availability of needed services, personnel training and expertise, and coverage provided by the payor. Fortunately, most communities have a variety of agencies to choose from. To view a directory of home health agencies that are members of Ohio Council for Home Care & Hospice, please visit the Provider Search, section on this website. You may also contact the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Department of Aging, to obtain additional lists of agencies.

How Can I Be Satisfied I’ve Found the Best Agency for Me?

Ask the home health agency to provide you with a list of individuals who are familiar with its reputation. Consult these people as well as physicians, discharge planners, and community leaders to help assess the quality of service the agency provides.

Ask each person with who you speak the following:

  • Do they frequently refer clients to this agency?
  • Do they have a contractual relationship with the provider?
  • What sort of feedback have they gotten from patients receiving care from the agency?
  • Do they know of any clients the agency has treated whose cases are similar to yours or your loved ones? If so, can they put you in touch with these people?

Questions to Ask

Once you acquire the names of several agencies, you will want to learn more about their programs and services.This insight will help you determine which agency is best for you or your loved one.

Download a chart of questions to help you compare agencies.

Chart of Questions (PDF)

The following are some questions to ask home care providers and community leaders:

A Medicare-certified home health agency is one that has met federal minimum requirements for patient care and financial management and therefore can provide Medicare and some Medicaid home health services. To help you select an agency, Medicare has provided a database of Medicare-certified home health agencies where you may find comparison information. Keep in mind an agency’s decision not to become certified does not imply that it provides poor care. In many cases, these agencies adhere to their own set of standards. It is imperative that you consider all the circumstances surrounding an agency’s home care services before making a final decision.

Ohio does not require home health agencies to be licensed to operate.

Accreditation is a voluntary process conducted by nonprofit professional organizations. It signifies that the agency has met national industry standards. Agencies may be accredited by the Community Health Accreditation ProgramThe Joint Commission, or Accreditation Commission for Health Care. Most agencies seek accreditation from the organization most applicable to their services.

An annual report can provide helpful information about the agency. Many providers supply patients with a detailed “Patient’s Bill of Rights” that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the providers, patients, and caregivers alike.