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Tips for Choosing a Home Care Agency

Choosing a home care agency can be daunting.  Here are a few tips to help you make an informed decision.  First, it is important to know what kind of care you or your family member requires.  Home care can range from light housekeeping to skilled nursing.  Here are some categories of care:

  • Skilled nursing care or medical care – Injections, medication administration, oxygen, and assistance with medical equipment.
  • Rehabilitation – Improve range of motion, increase strength, and assist with improving completion of activities of daily living.
  • Hospice – Comfort care and end of life care in collaboration with hospice healthcare professionals.
  • Personal care – Bathing, eating, dressing, and transferring.
  • Housekeeping and chores – Meal preparation, cleaning dishes, laundry, shopping, and errands.
  • Night care – Twenty-four hour care.  Attention should be paid to the breakdown of the healthcare professional’s schedule for around the clock care.  For example, how long will an employee be awake and how long are they required to rest?
  • Transportation – Transportation to and from appointments or transportation to social functions.  Consider the owner of the vehicle that will be used and any special equipment that will be required.  Speak with your car insurance provider if someone else will be driving your car.
  • Companionship – Supervision and social visiting.


Learn a little about the agency that you are considering:

  • How long has the agency been in the business?
  • Consult the Better Business Bureau for any complaints.
  • Find a list of services provided by the agency.
  • Are there a minimum number of hours the agency requires the care workers to be booked for?
  • Does the agency provide for couple care?
  • Must a doctor authorize a client to receive home care?
  • Does the company accept insurance?
  • Is the client responsible for travel costs for healthcare professionals?
  • Are there additional fees?
  • How to pay for services?
  • When to pay for services?



  • Education level for care workers employed by the company.
  • Licensing requirements for employees
  • Screening process for employees
  • How is someone paired with a healthcare professional?
  • What if a client does not get along with healthcare professional?
  • What if a healthcare worker calls in sick?


These are a few things to consider when hiring a homecare agency, and is by no means complete.  It is crucial to research any home care agency before you hire them.

Note:  It is important be aware that the state of Washington requires a Registered Nurse to complete a home visit once every six months for those receiving home care services, even if those services are as limited as laundry services or companionship.  This is to make sure the home environment is safe for the care workers as well as the client and provides a method to monitor for abuse.


Comments (0) • Posted October 24, 2011

Author: Julie L., BS, BSN, RN
Julie has worked as a Registered Nurse in the emergency room, as a clinical nursing instructor, and as a director of clinical services in home care.

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