What to Ask a Home Health Care Agency During an Interview

As baby boomers age, they or family members will be looking into the need for home health care. With plenty of agencies to choose from, it is important to ask the right questions during an initial interview with a prospective home health care nursing agency. The interview should be two-sided, with the agency asking questions about your aging loved one who needs care. But the family should likewise ask questions on issues like the following to find the best type of care for a loved one.

Length of service.

This is a two-part question. The first involves the agency’s experience in the health care industry and the amount of time it has spent providing care for the elderly. The second part of the question refers to the patient as family members ask how long the patient might expect to need home health care, although each patient’s needs are individualized.

Credentials.

Nursing staff should hold the requisite credentials for their current positions and any additional duties they may need to assume. For example, if a home health care employee will be expected to prepare or approve meals for an aging patient, the employee should have had some level of nutrition training. Nursing staff that help weak or recovering older patients to walk should probably have some experience in or knowledge about physical therapy.

Scheduling.

Some home health care nursing agency companies provide around-the-clock care for homebound patients. Other agencies offer daytime care only. The family needs to know when nursing staff is available to help, including holidays. It is a good idea to ask about backup help if an employee scheduled to visit must call off due to sickness or other reasons. A family member cannot afford to call off work at the last minute if an agency employee is late or fails to show up as scheduled.

Approach.

The attitude toward patients conveyed by agency staff is likewise important. Some may display a rigid mindset toward insisting the patient do as much as possible to help herself. Others may take more of a supportive approach, offering help as needed. Family members should be aware of which approach, or perhaps a blend, will be used.

Problem solving.

If the patient refuses to eat, stops talking, or seems to be sleepy all the time, the family should know how the agency will respond. Chances are nursing staff will do what they can to make the elderly person comfortable and get her back on a regular schedule. Families should also be aware of conditions under which emergency first responders would be called.

Questions like these can help to ascertain the suitability of the home health care nursing agency for your loved one. If you need any more information, BrightStar Care may be able to provide you with further insights and resources.