Choosing a Home Care Provider, by Angelo Consiglio, MD

Many senior citizens want to lead independent lives in their own homes, but diminishing physical or mental capabilities can limit their abilities. Concerned family members may arrange for a care provider to visit the senior’s home and assist with a range of duties, from arranging appointments and running errands to changing bed linens and monitoring diets. Here are some questions to ask when interviewing a home care agency.

1. What services does it provide? Some seniors simply need companionship, while others require assistance with bathing and medications.
2. How long has the provider been in business?
3. What qualifications do the agency’s employees have? Do they undergo background checks? How are employees trained?
4. Is there a plan detailing the caregiver’s specific tasks? Do family members and nurses or physicians provide input when creating the plan?
5. Do supervisors oversee the quality of care patients receive?
6. What are the payment procedures? Does the provider fully explain all of the costs and payment plan options in writing?
7. How does the provider handle emergencies?

About the author: Dr. Angelo Consiglio serves as the Area Representative of Southwest Florida for Golden Heart Senior Care, which provides in-home care for seniors.