Home Health Care Services

Whether you arrange for home health care services through an agency or hire an independent home health care aide on an individual basis, it helps to spend some time preparing for the person who will be doing the work. Ideally, you could spend a day with him or her, before the job formally begins, to discuss what will be involved in the daily routine. If nothing else, tell the home health care provider (both verbally and in writing) the following things that he or she should know about the senior:

  • Illnesses/injuries, and signs of an emergency medical situation
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Medications, and how and when they should be taken
  • Need for dentures, eyeglasses, canes, walkers, etc.
  • Possible behavior problems and how best to deal with them
  • Problems getting around (in or out of a wheelchair, for example, or trouble walking)
  • Special diets or nutritional needs
  • Therapeutic exercises.
  • Clothing the senior may need (if/when it gets too hot or too cold)
  • How you can be contacted (and who else should be contacted in an emergency)
  • How to find and use medical supplies and medications
  • When to lock up the apartment/house and where to find the keys
  • Where to find food, cooking utensils, and serving items
  • Where to find cleaning supplies
  • Where to find light bulbs and flash lights, and where the fuse box is located (in case of a power failure)
  • Where to find the washer, dryer, and other household appliances (as well as instructions for how to use them).

Although most states require that home health care agencies perform criminal background checks on their workers and carefully screen job applicants for these positions, the actual regulations will vary depending on where you live. Therefore, before contacting a home health care agency, you may want to call your local area agency on aging or department of public health to learn what laws apply in your state.

When considering home health care services for your parents or a loved one, there are a few basic things that you want to know in order to evaluate your options in choosing the best senior care provider:

Offering Services You Need:

  • Companionship:  visiting, supervision and leisure activities
  • Personal Care: help with bathing, dressing, toileting and exercising.
  • Homemaking:  housekeeping, shopping and cooking
  • Skilled or Nursing Care: help with medication and other medical needs

Check That Your Provider Is:

  • Trained in first aid and CPR
  • Trained in Alzheimer’s or dementia care
  • Experienced in working with someone with dementia
  • With an agency, if important (recommended)
  • Bonded, if important (protects clients from potential losses caused by the employees)
  • Able to provided references
  • Available when you need them
  • Able to provide a back-up if they are sick

Able to manage your specific health and behavioral care needs

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