The consumer understands there are many options out there for care. As a provider you want them to know how your company stands out and what you have in place to ensure the best quality of care. They want to learn more about your services and your reputation but just don’t understand which are the right questions to ask. Following is a checklist of questions to ask yourself about you as a provider and ensure everyone on your team knows the answers.
- How long has your agency been serving the community?
- Does your agency supply literature explaining its services, eligibility requirements, fees, and funding sources? Many providers furnish patients with a detailed “Patient Bill of Rights” that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the providers, patients, and caregivers alike. An annual report and other educational materials also can provide helpful information about your agency.
- How does your agency select and train its employees/care staff? Does your agency protect your workers with written personnel policies, benefits packages, and malpractice insurance?
- Does your agency have a safety program in place for your care staff and consumer.
- What incentives does your agency offer the employees and care staff. What programs do you have in place for them to ensure a healthy working environment.
- Are your nurses or therapists required to evaluate the patient’s home care needs? If so, what does this entail? Do they consult the patient’s physicians and family members?
- Does your agency include the patient and his or her family members in developing the plan of care? Are they involved in making care plan changes?
- Is the patient’s/client’s course of treatment documented, detailing the specific tasks to be carried out by each professional care provider? Does the patient and his or her family receive a copy of this plan, and does your agency update it as changes occur? Does your agency take time to educate family members on the care being administered to the patient/client?
- Does your agency assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care patients/clients are receiving in their homes? If so, how often do these individuals make visits? Who can the patient and his or her family members call with questions or complaints? Is it many different people or one dedicated person? How does your agency follow up on and resolve problems?
- What are your financial procedures? Does your agency furnish written statements explaining all of the costs and payment plan options associated with home care?
- What procedures do you have in place to handle emergencies? Is your care staff available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
- How does your agency ensure patient confidentiality?
In addition, you should be prepared to supply a list of references, such as doctors, discharge planners, patients or their family members, and community leaders who are familiar with the your agency’s quality of service.
Contact each reference and ensure they can answer the following questions about your agency:
- Do you frequently refer clients to this provider?
- Do you have a contractual relationship with this provider? If so, do you require the provider to meet special standards for quality care?
- What sort of feedback have you gotten from patients receiving care from this provider, either on an informal basis or through a formal satisfaction survey?
There are many options of providers for Home-Based care. Operating your business with high performing standards will set you apart. Remember, you can have these best practices in place however without implementation its pointless. Policies and Procedures are great on paper but if you are not walking the talk you may find yourself struggling to gain/keep clients and care staff and/or “putting out fires”. Also, consistency is key!