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How to Select the Right Home Care Agency

Important factors to consider when selecting a Home Care Agency Jacksonville

The selection of a Home Care Agency in Jacksonville for a family member in need is one of the most important responsibilities you will ever have.  Whether for a senior, new mother, or family member adjusting to a disability or recovering from a recent hospitalization, it is of critical importance for you to be sure that the Home Care Agency is fully qualified in all respects to provide the care that is needed.

Home Care Agencies fall into two distinct categories.

Companion Agencies

Companion Agencies provide services such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation/errands, and general companionship including conversation and card-playing.  These agencies are ideal for patients who are ambulatory and able to take care of their own grooming and hygiene needs. Caregivers provided by Companion Agencies do not touch the client.

Home Health Agencies

Home Health Agencies provide Companion Care as well as more extensive services such as helping with self-administered medications, monitoring vital signs, transfers, bating, diabetic care, incontinent care, etc.  Caregivers providing these services are CNAs (Certified Nurse Assistants) or HHAs (Home Heath Aides).

Both types of agencies must be licensed by the State of Florida.  It may be advantageous for some clients to utilize a full Home Health Agency, even if only Companion Care is needed initially, but it is anticipated that more extensive services will be needed later.

Of course, you should carefully asses the quality of the caregivers provided including what type of screening, experience and qualifications they have.  Are they insured and bonded?  Are they drug tested?  Are they reliable?  Do they show up for work when promised?

You should also know something about the Agency itself. Is the Agency fully licensed by the State?  Are their services guaranteed?  Do they have R.N.s (Registered Nurses) on staff?  Does a R.N. provide an initial assessment…and frequent follow-ups?  Is an emergency alarm system available?  Do they accept insurance for payment?  Most importantly, do they have a careful, day-to-day monitoring procedure supervised by a R.N. to ensure that the are-giver is giving your loved one the care needed?

We have provided a checklist you can use to evaluate alternative Home Care Agencies that you may have been referred to by a Health Care Professional.  This checklist covers all the topics mentioned above and many others.

Type of Agency

  • Agency provides Companion Services
  • Agency is a Home Health Agency providing Personal Services as well as Companion Services
  • Agency is licensed by the State of Florida

Operating Procedures

  • A Registered Nurse, Social Worker or other trained staff member performs initial assessment of client
  • Frequent follow-up calls and on-site visits are made to ensure superb quality of care
  • Caregiver staff is supervised by our R.N.
  • Agency prepares a consistent weekly schedule
  • Agency documents clients care on weekly narratives and flowsheets
  • Agency will assist in verifying if services are covered by client’s insurance company

Quality of Caregivers/Services

  • Caregivers are fully bonded and insured
  • Agency provides workmen’s compensation insurance
  • Agency carefully screens caregivers utilizing:
    • thorough reference checks of past employment
    • drug testing
    • national criminal background checks
    • driving background checks
    • tests and documentation of clinical skills
    • competency tests administered before hiring
    • health histories and current health clearances by a physician
  • Agency has computerized scheduling system to ensure back-ups are readily available in case of illness of assigned caregiver
  • Agency provides a written guarantee that caregiver will arrive on time
  • Agency offers an emergency alarm system (necklace or wristband)
  • Agency offers advanced sensor alert to monitor a loved one’s activities
  • Agency has approved Florida Emergency Management Plan for implementation in case of hurricanes, floods, etc.
  • Agency provides a written Client’s Bill of Rights