Before signing a contract with a home health care agency, an assessment will be made to determine the needs of the person who requires care, since a physician's prescription for home health will not fully outline all your needs. Many companies offer this service for free. During an assessment an agency representative from an agency will visit your loved one in the home or at the hospital. The agency representative will ask questions and look around the house if needed. The following issues should be assessed by both interview and observation:
* Physical health
* Medication use
* Amount of aid needed with ADLs or IADLs
* Mental health
* Home safety
* Quality of life
The idea behind an assessment is to figure out what your loved one requires on a basic health and safety level, while maintaining a high quality of life.
The assessment provides the basis for a care plan. A care plan is a document that explains the client's needs, and how to meet them. A care plan should be reassessed by an agency on a monthly basis and as needed. A care plan:
* Increases consistency of care (this is exceptionally important when multiple caregivers must interact with each other)
* Sets priorities and goals for an individual's care
* Acts as a reference to aid in measuring an individual's progress
Home health care agencies will have you sign a contract. These contracts can be changed and amended, so before signing it, think about whether there are certain verbal promises that should be written into the contract. For example, if an agency promises you that a replacement caregiver will be provided within a certain time-frame if the primary caregiver is sick or must be absent for a day, you may want to have the agency add that detail to the contract.