Alyssa Ciancibello is a Research Analyst at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.
If you need guidance in arranging for your loved one to stay at home while receiving care, numerous agencies can lead the way with an array of services from physical and occupational therapy to skilled nursing care. Home care is a cost-effective and convenient option, as it can provide the same effective care to your loved one that he or she would receive in a hospital or nursing facility. Because determining which home health care agency is right for both of you can be overwhelming, making use of the following online resources can make things a great deal simpler.
- Medicare’s Home Health Compare
For information on Medicare-certified home health agencies, try Medicare’s “Home Health Compare”. The website gives you general information, as well as patient satisfaction ratings, on agencies across the country, filtered by your zip code, city or state.
You can look at Quality of Patient Care measures and find out how each measure compares to state and national averages. These measures include how well each agency does in:
- Managing daily activities
- Managing pain and treating symptoms
- Preventing harm
- Preventing unplanned hospital care
- Payment and value of care
An overall Quality of Patient Care Rating is shown to let you know how the home health agency rates, as compared to the state and national average. The Quality of Patient Care Rating appears as 1 to 5 stars. A rating of 4 or 5 stars indicates that the agency’s performance was above the average of other agencies, while 1 or 2 stars means the agency’s performance was below the average.
Patient Survey Results summarize what patients thought about their experiences using the home health care agency, as compared to the state and national averages.
Patient Survey Results are responses to the following:
- How often did the home health team give care in a professional way?
- How well did the home health team communicate with patients?
- Did the home health team discuss medicines, pain and home safety with patients?
- How do patients rate the overall care from the home health agency?
- Would patients recommend the home health agency to friends and family?
A Patient Survey Summary Rating also shows with stars how patients have rated their overall experiences with the home health agency.
- Administration for Community Living’s Eldercare Locator
Another useful website is the Eldercare Locator through the Administration for Community Living (ACL). In addition to giving you information about home health care, it shows ways to guide your search for an agency in your community. These include talking with friends, community members and your local Area Agency on Agency. The site also provides questions to consider throughout your search, such as:
- Is the agency an approved Medicare Provider?
- Are agency staff members available around the clock?
- How are agency caregivers hired and trained?
For additional help with your search, you can use the Eldercare Locator search bar to find your local Area Agency on Aging, which can give you continued guidance.
Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging can also help you find home health care in your area through their BRI Care Consultation™ care-coaching program. BRI Care Consultation™ can connect you to community-based services and resources, including home health agencies, to support you and your loved one.
Locating a home health agency that meets your loved one’s needs can be far easier and less stressful when you know what tools are out there!