February 13, 2018

Did you know that February is “National Wise Health Care Consumer Month”? Part of the purpose of this month is to inform and empower people about making smart choices when it comes to their health care. Community VNA offers the 10 best tips for becoming a wise home health care consumer (based on recommendations from the National Association for Homecare and Hospice).

Top 10 Tips to Become a Wise Home Health Care Consumer

According to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, Americans spend more time researching car purchases and new appliances than they do choosing doctors and health plans. The same is true when it comes to decisions about home health care.

Part of the purpose of “National Wise Health Care Consumer Month” is to inform and empower people about making smart choices when it comes to their health care.

Here are the top 10 tips for becoming a wise home health care consumer (based on recommendations from the National Association for Homecare and Hospice):

  • How long has this home health care and hospice agency been serving the community?
  • Does this home health care and hospice provider supply literature explaining its services, eligibility requirements, fees, and funding sources? Many providers furnish patients with a detailed “Patient Bill of Rights” that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the providers, patients, and caregivers alike. An annual report and other educational materials also can provide helpful information about the provider.
  • How does this home health care and hospice agency select and train its employees? Does it protect its workers with written personnel policies, benefits packages, and malpractice insurance?
  • Are nurses or therapists required to evaluate the patient’s home care, hospice and private care needs? If so, what does this entail? Do they consult the patient’s physicians and family members?
  • Does the organization include the patient and his or her family members in developing the plan of care? Are they involved in making care plan changes?
  • Is the patient’s course of treatment documented, detailing the specific tasks to be carried out by each professional caregiver? Does the patient and his or her family receive a copy of this plan, and do the caregivers update it as changes occur? Does this home health care agency take time to educate family members on the care being administered to the patient?
  • Does this home health care and hospice organization assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care patients are receiving in their homes—wherever that may be? If so, how often do these individuals make visits? Who can the patient and his or her family members call with questions or complaints? How does the agency follow up on and resolve problems?
  • What are the financial procedures of this home health and hospice care? Does the provider furnish written statements explaining all of the costs and payment plan options associated with home health and/or hospice care?
  • What procedures does this organization have in place to handle emergencies? Are its caregivers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
  • How does this agency ensure patient confidentiality?Additionally, you should ask the home health and hospice care agency to supply you with a list of references, such as doctors, discharge planners, patients or their family members, and community leaders who are familiar with the provider’s quality of service.

Contact each reference and ask:

  • Do you frequently refer clients to this home health and hospice care agency?
  • Do you have a contractual relationship with this organization? If so, do you require the agency to meet special standards for quality care?
  • What sort of feedback have you gotten from patients receiving care from this organization, either on an informal basis or through a formal satisfaction survey?
  • Do you know of any clients this home health and hospice care agency has treated whose cases are similar to mine or my loved one’s? If so, can you put me in touch with these individuals? Community VNA has been recognized as a 2017 HomeCare Elite Top 500 (ranked among the top 5% of home health care agencies nationwide). This recognition is based on publicly available performance measures in quality outcomes, best practice implementing patient experience, quality improvement and consistency, and financial performance.

When it comes to your health care you always have a choice. Be a wise consumer by choosing an agency that takes its responsibilities seriously and has the resources and expertise your loved ones deserve.

Click here to learn more about Community VNA.