Evaluating Home Care Agencies

With a wide variety of providers to choose from, determining the best agency to meet your needs can be a challenging process. However, asking the right questions makes it much easier to discern the good from the bad. When assessing agencies, keep the following in mind:

What is the background of the company?

High quality providers are often the result of a high quality culture. Indicators of strong companies include:

  • Vision, Mission, and Values: what is guiding the care being provided?
  • Company History: how and why did the organization come to be?
  • Ownership: who owns the agency and from where is it managed?

What motivates the agencies you are looking at? It will undeniably affect the quality of their care.

Is the agency licensed? If so, what licenses does it hold?

New Mexico is one of only a handful of states that does not require home care agencies to be licensed which, unfortunately, opens the door to those with less than noble aims. Make sure the agencies you are considering adhere to established guidelines from home care associations, health departments, and medical governing bodies. Put simply, the more licenses/certifications an agency has, the better.

How does the agency screen its care providers?

The products of an agency are its caregivers. As a result, their background and competence directly affect the quality of service you will receive. Ensure your agencies adhere to screening measures like:

  • Background checks and drug tests
  • Competency Exams and training requirements
  • CPR proficiency

Caregivers able to fulfill the above requirements prove to be higher quality care providers than those who cannot that often seek employment at agencies that place less of an emphasis on quality of care.

What other services are provided?

Non-medical care services are limiting at times. Occasionally, other needs arise that are not part of many agencies’ offerings. However, some have an expanded menu of services including nursing wellness checks, medicine management, and specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

Make sure you inquire about all the services an agency provides. The variety, or lack thereof, they offer could have a significant impact on your decision.

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