As an entrepreneur, educator and community leader – as well as owner of American Advantage Home Care – Cleamon Moorer Jr., DBA, helps patients and families navigate a variety of everyday challenges related to aging and home care—all with a focus on compassionate and patient-centric care.
Question: Aside from random Google reviews and online testimonials, how can I really evaluate whether a home health or hospice company is good or not? I want someone I can trust to take care of my mother, but I don’t know what to believe.
Answer: Making the decision to allow strangers into your home to care for loved ones can be a stressful and trying experience for families. There are five key methods and tools that families and caregivers can use to evaluate the trustworthiness of a home health care agency (besides the general perusal of Google reviews or website testimonials):
- Ask your physician or your loved one’s physician for a recommendation of a good home health care provider or a list of providers. Because home health care prescriptions are written and overseen by physicians, it’s a good practice to ensure the agency has or can gain a solid rapport with the physician’s office.
- Seek advice from case managers, medical social workers and hospital discharge planners. These intermediaries work tirelessly with multiple stakeholders to maintain a continuum of care for patients and to decrease the chance(s) of unnecessary hospital readmissions. Hospital discharge planners and case managers usually have a list of providers readily able to share with families.
- Health insurance providers and plan administrators are also great resources for getting references for skilled home health care. Payors know all the providers in their network, performance ratings/metrics, their locations and specialties.
- Word of mouth, neighbor and community resource listings are also a good and reliable source. Note that many larger chains or franchises may have a recognizable brand due to their advertising and marketing budgets, and small to medium-sized agencies may be less known but in some cases more responsive and amicable due to their desire to build long-lasting and satisfying relationships with families and physicians.
- Last but not least, consider Medicare’s comparison tool. This tool enables the general public to compare nursing homes, hospitals, physicians, home health care agencies, hospice providers, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals and dialysis facilities, and evaluate post-care outcomes. Results of assessments, survey instruments, interviews and data collection yield one-to-five-star ratings for organizations. These “Quality of Care” and “Patient Satisfaction” star ratings are also available on www.seniorcare.com.