What Kind of Services Do I Need?
The first question to ask yourself when trying to decide what type of services are needed for you or for your loved ones is “what kind of services do I need?”. To help find out what kind of services you or a loved one need, check the items below that apply. Keep in mind that these needs may change over time.
|Help With Daily Activities||Health Care Needs (as recommended by a doctor or other health care provider)|
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How Will I Pay for these Services?
The second question to ask yourself is “How will I pay for these Services?” Long-term care can be very expensive. In general, health plans and programs do not routinely cover long term care at home or in nursing homes. Here is some general information about long term care coverage:
How Can I Choose the Best Quality Services and Facilities?
The third question to ask yourself is “How do I find and choose the Best Quality Services and Facilities?” Here are some tips for choosing the kinds of long term care people most often use: home care (including home health care) and nursing homes.
- In many States, home care agencies must be licensed. Check with your State health department to see if your State requires it. If so, be wary if an agency is not licensed.
- Ask if the agency is certified by Medicare. Medicare inspects home health care agencies to assure they meet certain Federal health and safety requirements. Medicare will pay for services only if the agency is Medicare-approved and if the services are covered by Medicare.
- If the home health care agency is certified by Medicare, you can review its survey report. Call the Medicare Hotline at 1-800-633-4227 and ask to be referred to the Home Health Hotline for your State. You can request a copy of the report from that hotline.
- Find out if the agency has been accredited (awarded a "seal of approval") by a group such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (630-792-5800); www.jcaho.org) or the Community Health Accreditation Program (1-800-669-9656; www.chapinc.org)
- Contact your State or local consumer affairs office to see if any complaints have been filed against a home care agency. Also ask about the outcome of any complaint investigations.
- Whether you work with an agency or hire someone yourself, carefully check the backgrounds of the people who will be coming into your home. Ask for references who have worked with the agency or person. Call them, and ask about their experiences. Would they use the agency or person again?
- Does the home care worker have the necessary skills and training for your needs? Ask to see training certificates. Make sure the worker knows how to safely assist and care for patients.
- Does the agency have supervisors who check on the quality of care its workers provide?
- How does the agency follow up on and resolve complaints?