“Home Health is focused on the clinical needs of a patient,” explained Hill. This type of company services medical and skills needs with nurses, certified nursing assistants, and occupational and physical therapy. Home Care providers cater to everyday needs such as shopping, housekeeping and general companionship services."

Most people are not aware that Home Health services are even available. Yet, Hill explains where this type of service may need to be considered. If your current situation requires clinical care, Hill offers some suggestions in choosing the proper provider for you.

  1. Check for state certification and accreditation. Every reputable Home Health company must be licensed with the state and accredited with both Medicare/Medicaid and possibly The Joint Commission. Many online sites, including www.medicare.gov provide current information and ratings on healthcare companies in your area.
  2. Check on the company’s history. These same sites may offer information on past write-ups or complaints filed against the company for care-related issues.
  3. Ask questions. When visiting a potential Home Health company, ask about the staff. How often are staff members trained on treatment procedures? For example, Hill explained that iCare has only been servicing the Utah Valley area for 3 years, but the combined experience of its staff exceeds 40 years. “We have a great team and we really care about the older population,” she added. iCare was recently recognized for excellence by the 2014 Daily Herald Best of Utah Valley Readers’ Choice Awards. Also, be sure the services are available 24 hours a day seven days per week and have the ability to place clients in reputable rehab facilities, when necessary.
  4. What is their focus? Hill pointed out many Home Health companies specialize in different things. “Different companies cater to different types of diagnoses. Getting that overall feeling that they really do have knowledge and expertise to help you in that area is important,” said Hill. For example, iCare specializes in vestibular rehabilitation, cardiac and post-stroke treatment. The staff also specializes in matters surrounding varying stages of dementia. “We are seeing an increased need for this diagnoses in the valley,” said Hill.

Addressing the reality of the declining health of a loved one certainly has its share of emotions. But by doing some research and asking important questions, the matter of finding the right Home Care for you can be a positive experience.

Greg and Amy's Recommendations: Make a plan for (and ideally with) your loved one, balancing what is desired with what is realistic. With a plan in mind, contact your insurance company to find out what services will be covered under what circumstances, as well as what the out-of-pocket cost will be. If you or your loved ones do not have a living will, establish one now. Also, if you will be managing the healthcare decisions for someone else, get a healthcare power of attorney.