How to Select a Home Healthcare Agency

Questions to ask when choosing in-home health services

Home healthcare services include:
  • Home Health Aide—provides bathing (including bed bath) and personal care
  • Attendant care—provides bathing and personal care
  • Nurse—provides set up or administration of medication, monitoring of health and vital signs, etc.
  • Physical Therapy—provides exercises to improve, maintain, and/or restore strength and movement (arm and leg movements, walking, etc.)
  • Occupational Therapy—provides exercises to improve, maintain, and/or restore the ability to perform activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, eating, etc.)
  • Speech Therapy—provides exercises to improve, maintain, and/or restore speech
  • Homemaker—provides housekeeping tasks including house cleaning, laundry, changing linens, possible shopping
  • Companion—provides companionship from a visitor
  • Respite Care—provides services to relieve a caregiver (home health aide, attendant care, nursing care, homemaker, companion)

Helpful questions to ask when selecting a home healthcare agency:

  • Shop for a home healthcare agency that will meet the needs of your loved one. Call or visit various home health agencies to compare services and prices.
  • Who owns the home healthcare agency? Is the agency owned by a national corporation or is it locally owned?
  • Talk to the agency’s clients and staff. What do they like about this home health care agency? What concerns do they have about the agency? (Ask the agency for references.)
  • What types of in-home health services does the agency offer? (Ask for a written list of the agency’s services.)
  • Will the home care services be provided consistently by the same employee?
  • Are employees allowed to run errands for the client? Are they allowed to take the client with them as they run errands? Will the client be charged for the employee’s mileage while completing the errands?
  • What is the cost of the requested services? Are services billed at an hourly rate or a per visit rate? Is there a contract?
  • Does the home health care agency accept private insurance, Medicare, and/or Medicaid? How long would home healthcare services be provided under private insurance or Medicare? How long would home healthcare services be provided under Medicaid Prior Approval?
  • Does the agency require a minimum number of service hours?
  • Who should be contacted when the caregiver needs to change the service schedule? Can the cancelled dates of service be made up?
  • Will the client be charged if the employee is late or does not show up for the scheduled visits?
  • Who should be contacted regarding concerns about the provided services?
  • What situations would necessitate the home healthcare agency discharging a client on a temporary or permanent basis?
  • How does the agency screen potential employees?
  • Are reference checks and criminal background checks performed regarding employees prior to their employment?
  • Are employees bonded?
  • Are employees allowed to accept food or items from the client while they are performing the home healthcare services?
  • Are employees allowed to smoke while they are performing the home healthcare services?
  • Ask about in-service training for employees. What topics are discussed?
  • Have the employees received training in dementia care?

Still Have Questions?

We're here to help with long-term care needs and options.

Call the Aging & Disability Resource Center:

(317) 803-6131 or (800) 432-2422

If you are seeking information on behalf of someone else, please have them available during the phone appointment to provide consent for screening or services, or notify the individual that you are making this referral and that CICOA will contact them by phone.