Answer these 15 questions to help you select the right home health agency for your loved one
Choosing a home care provider to take care of your aging loved one is a huge decision. It’s likely one that you and your family have come to after much deliberation, so it’s important that you find a caregiver agency that’s committed to providing compassionate care from experienced caregivers to its clients.
Additionally, if you’re searching in Central Florida, home care in Orlando is an extremely saturated market so the multitude of choices can quickly become overwhelming.
To help guide you in your decision making process, we’ve created a list of the top 15 questions you should ask a potential agency before committing. Before you sign up, we recommend you contact the office of each home care agency and ask them the questions below to find the best home care agency match for your family.
#1: Is your agency a franchise or independently owned in Orlando?
The vast majority of home health agencies are national or even international franchises. These agencies have clinics across the U.S. — and in some cases the globe — that are managed by individual owners who operate under corporate guidelines set by the franchisee.
If you’re interested in more personalized and connected care, find a home health agency that’s independently owned and operated in Orlando. That way, your agency is solely focused on the needs of seniors and others in your own community.
#2: Are you licensed to practice in my area?
If you decide to work with a local agency, it’s important to ensure that they’re licensed to practice in the area of Orlando that you reside. Most local Central Florida agencies are licensed based on counties such as Orange or Osceola, so be sure to ask if your county is covered.
#3: Do you have any relevant third-party accreditations?
Finding a home health agency that has third-party accreditations is essential to finding the best home care in Orlando.
Ask potential agencies if they are:
- A+ Rated from the Home Care Standards Bureau
- Members of the AHI Group, Inc.
- A+ Rated from the Better Business Bureau as an Accredited Business
#4: What services do you offer?
Before interviewing home health agencies, it’s important for you to consider what services you need for your loved one. Different agencies provide different services and some specialize in working with clients who have specific ailments such as memory challenges or physical limitations.
If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, many agencies offer services such as:
- Personal care
- Cooking and serving nutritious meals
- Light housekeeping
- Companionship and support
- Dementia care
- Respite for family caregivers.
#5: Are your services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is there a minimum amount of care hours per week?
Many agencies who provide home care in Orlando offer hourly, daily, overnight and/or live-in care to help seniors and others in need of support. In addition to determining the aforementioned levels of support, it’s also helpful to find out if the agency offers services 24/7.
Most agencies have a minimum amount of care hours required per shift or week, but some can be scheduled up to 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Depending on what your loved one needs, this is a factor to consider when deciding on a home health agency.
#6: Who will create the plan of care? Will it be personalized to my loved one’s needs?
When deciding on a home care agency, ask who creates the plan of care for their clients. Look for agencies that have an experienced clinical director or registered nurse that performs an in-home assessment and creates a customized plan of care for every client that suits their specific needs.
A personalized care plan is beneficial for both you and the agency because it allows your loved one to get the exact level of care they need without having to try and fit into a one size fits all plan that many franchised agencies utilize.
#7: What safety procedures are in place to protect my loved one during health crises, like pandemics?
Finding a home care agency that’s committed to the protection of your loved one during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic is more important now than ever before. Ask potential service providers if they have safety procedures documented and if so, if they could share the information with you to review before making your decision.
If the company is prepared for crises, they’ll likely have safety procedures, such as a COVID-19 notice, published at the forefront of their website for visitors to read.
#8: Are your caregivers W-2 employees or independent contractors? Are they bonded, insured, and background-screened?
If you’re unfamiliar with home care agencies in Florida, this question may come as a surprise. However, in Florida, many agencies are nurse registries rather than licensed home health agencies.
This is an important distinction because nurse registries serve as brokers for homecare workers, who are treated not as their employees but as independent contractors. When these agencies send homecare workers to your home (sometimes at below market rates), families often don’t realize they are responsible for managing them, withholding taxes, and providing workers compensation and other insurance.
Search for a home care agency with caregivers who are well-compensated W-2 employees with benefits that are also bonded, insured and background-screened. Make sure the agency withholds income taxes and pays all employer payroll taxes in addition to supervising, training and managing their caregivers.
#9: What experience and training do your caregivers have?
It’s essential to find a home health agency with experienced and well-trained caregivers since the caregiver is the person you and your loved one will interact with most. Try finding an agency whose caregivers are Certified Nursing Assistants or Certified Home Health Aides and find out if they go through continuing education for training and certifications as needed.
Ask the agency about their caregiver selection process in general; you want an agency that’s retaining caregivers that love people and feel passionate about caring for seniors looking to age with independence and dignity.
#10: Who supervises and mentors your caregivers?
It’s beneficial to learn who supervisors and mentors the caregivers at the prospective home health agencies you’re interviewing.
Consider finding an agency whose caregivers are supervised by a clinical director with experience as a registered nurse. The higher the qualifications of the mentor, the higher quality of care you’re likely to find in the caregiver you hire.
#11: Will my loved one be matched with a specific caregiver or will you send any available caregiver for each shift?
For many large franchise operations, sending a homecare worker is simply a question of finding a person with an open schedule, which might be a different person almost every day. While this method can work for some, most seniors in need of support are looking for consistent and compassionate care which is often found through forming a steady relationship with their caregiver.
Ask potential home health agencies about their caregiver matching process. Find one who works to find the right caregiver to support your loved one’s needs, and strives to keep the same caregiver assigned to each client except for extenuating circumstances.
#12: What communication method will you use to keep me informed about the wellbeing of my loved one?
As the person seeking care for your loved one, you should learn the methods of communication used by potential agencies to connect family members, caregivers, and agency staff. Finding an agency with a clear communication method is a major advantage for family members who want to stay in the loop about their loved one’s care.
Many agencies now use secure, web-based software tools to keep all parties involved in your loved one’s care in close communication.
#13: Can you assist me with finding solutions to pay for the appropriate level of care?
Paying for in-home care is often the primary obstacle for families seeking care for their aging loved one. Some home care agencies work to offer home care options for every need and budget, and certain ones even specialize in helping families find solutions to pay for the appropriate level of care.
#14: Do you have experience working with the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit for veterans?
If your loved one is a veteran over 65 (or a surviving spouse of a veteran, regardless of age), they may be eligible for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit which can provide up to $2,295 per month that can be used for personal home care services.
In this case, it’s recommended to find a home care agency that has experience helping eligible veterans qualify for this benefit. The right agency can help determine if your loved one qualifies and connect you with accredited VA agents to guide you through the application process.
#15: Can you provide references from current clients?
As with any service, looking at reviews is an important step in the process of choosing the right home care in Orlando. Check Google, Yelp, Facebook and even the company’s website for client testimonials and see what people are saying. Make sure there are recent reviews and check to see if any of them mention their level of satisfaction with the caregiver they worked with.
The Flourish in Place difference
If you’re looking for the best home care in Orlando, look no further than Flourish in Place—a local, family-owned and operated home health agency. As the only Central Florida agency that has received an A+ Rating from the Home Care Standards Bureau, we’re proud to help seniors continue to experience the richness of life, retain their individuality, and enjoy the freedom to be themselves in the comfort of their own home.
Our trained, compassionate caregivers can assist with a variety of needs including personal care, transportation, companionship, and more.
To learn more, please request your Free Consultation today.
“We are most pleased and grateful for Flourish in Place Home Health Care. The owner and staff are very professional & caring for their clients. We have been using this company for approximately two years and love their services.
We use a home health aide from this company. Selenia is the best aide that we have used. She is most caring for her patients. She is professional, very knowledgeable, friendly, and shows most respect for my husband. She’s always cheerful and excited about her performance. We are forever happy to have her and my husband is always happy with her service.”
— Carolyn G., via Google Reviews