How Do You Choose a Home Care Agency?

Author: Andrea Miller

Reviewed by: Brindusa Vanta

You choose a home care agency by evaluating your family member’s care needs and identifying providers that offer the necessary services in your area. Interview the available agencies to find the right fit for your loved one. Cost and Medicare coverage factor into this decision for many families. Also, ensure that the home care agency performs background checks on the staff members who will care for your loved one. 

What Questions Should You Ask a Home Care Agency?

When evaluating a home care agency, it’s important to ask comprehensive questions that cover a range of aspects to ensure you choose a reliable and high-quality service. Here are some key questions to consider: 

  • Licensing and Certification:
    • “Do you have a current license to operate as a home care agency?”
    • “Are you certified by Medicare and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations?”
  • Experience and Community Standing:
    • “How long have you been providing home care services?”
    • “Can you provide references or testimonials from current or past clients?”
  • Staff Qualifications and Screening:
    • “What qualifications do you require for your caregiving staff?”
    • “How do you screen your staff, and what background checks are conducted?”
  • Services Provided:
    • “What types of home care services do you offer?”
    • “How do you tailor care plans to individual clients, and how frequently are these plans reviewed and updated?”
  • Costs and Payment:
    • “What are your rates, and what is included in these costs?”
    • “Do you provide detailed billing to help with insurance or Medicare claims?”
  • Emergency Procedures:
    • “What procedures do you have in place for medical emergencies?”
    • “How is communication handled between caregivers, the agency and the family?”
  • Client Rights and Privacy:
    • “What is your policy on client rights and privacy?”
    • “How do you ensure confidentiality in handling personal and medical information?”

By thoroughly vetting potential home care providers, you can feel more confident in your choice and ensure the best care environment for yourself or your loved one. 

What Services Does Home Care Include?

Home care includes both homemaker and home health care services. Home health care encompasses skilled nursing, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and medical social services. Home health providers also help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and grooming. Homemaker services include cooking, cleaning, preparing meals and other housekeeping tasks. The home health agency will develop a care plan personalized with the services your loved one needs.

How Much Does Home Care Cost?

Home care costs about $5,720 a month for homemaker services and $6,292 per month for a home health aide. These prices from the 2024 Genworth Cost of Care Survey reflect the median cost for 44 hours per week of home care.