Home healthcare agencies are professional facilities managed by qualified doctors to offer healthcare in the home for patients who need more privatized care. Aides who work for these agencies are sent to patients’ homes to take care of daily tasks that patients may be physically unable to do on their own, such as cleaning. In-home medical needs are completely taken care of with home health services, and an added advantage is that sometimes loved ones are close by to provide additional care and support when the aides are not there.
Different home healthcare agencies operate at different levels of service, and patients should research the types of medical care provided before choosing a home healthcare agency. A listing of home health agencies can be found on the Internet or by asking at a local doctors’ office. It is important to ensure that the agency selected is licensed, meaning the doctors and nurses have been granted the rights to make house calls as part of their job. Home healthcare agencies may be public providers or private facilities.
Insurance companies may also be a good resource for finding home healthcare agencies. This will also give patients an idea as to whether their home care will be covered under their insurance plan or not. Before selecting a home care agency, ask friends and neighbors if anyone has ever heard of that agency before signing up. Word of mouth can be important for passing along experiences, both positive and negative, about the level of care provided from these agencies. Reviews can also be read on the Internet, and discussion forums may provide additional outlets for patients to ask specific questions from those who have dealt with the agencies they are considering.
Home healthcare agencies make appointments with patients before sending healthcare aides to the homes. These aides are responsible for assisting the ill or disabled patients with tasks around the house that they cannot adequately perform. A healthcare aide takes on duties of both a housekeeper and a nurse to clean house, shop for groceries and act as a companion for the patient. Since housebound patients do not always need a helper around the clock, home healthcare agencies are quickly replacing private nurses, which cost more anyway.
Home healthcare agencies are a good option for elderly people who either live alone or live with a child’s family but spend large parts of each day alone. A patient will often discover that simply having a companion is the most rewarding part of using a home healthcare agency. The healthcare aide should be matched up specifically with each patient, and if the relationship does not end up being a good one, a different aide should be chosen for the patient.