A "Home Care" Quality Check List

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Here's a checklist for those of you considering, or making a deecision about health care - go through the checklist and see if all of these are, or will be properly handled, or provided:

1. CAREGIVER QUALIFICATIONS - Agency takes pride in the quality of its caregivers and extraordinary retention rates. 50% or more of caregivers have worked over one year with the agency. Caregivers are respected and eligible to receive benefits, including 401k and continuing education stipends. 

2. All caregivers have thorough background, license and reference checks within the 2. caregiving industry. Special checks of abuse or neglect findings are conducted through DSHS. All caregivers are insured and bonded.

3. All caregivers are licensed by the State Department of Health as Certified (CNA) or Registered (RNA) Nursing Assistants. Licenses have no action against them.

4. All caregivers must pass a written competency and skills test. All caregivers have professional training and experience providing personal care.

5. Caregivers are available who have experience and special training with memory impairment and or behavioral challenges.

6. All caregivers have current First Aid & CPR Certification and a current TB test.

7. Caregivers receive an orientation to each client’s individual Plan of Care and any safety issues in the home prior to placement.

8. Free initial assessment performed in your home by a RN (Registered Nurse) or MSW (Master of Social Work) with no charge and no obligation. √

9. A Plan of Care outlines tasks for the caregiver based on specific needs. It is written by an RN or MSW, with your review and approval as the final step before starting care. 

10. Ongoing supervision of your caregivers will be performed by a RN or MSW. Supervisors review caregiver notes made at each shift. Supervisors make periodic visits to meet with you and observe your caregivers. Supervisors are available by phone 24/7. Your Plan of Care is updated as needed.

11. Agency offers you and its caregivers direct contact with a Supervisor and RN 24 hours per day. You will not call a pager or an answering service. 

12. Agency can and will respond to your needs 24 hours a day. Agency is able to begin your care within 8 hours of the first call in most cases.

13. Agency is the employer of its caregivers, not a broker whose responsibility ends when you pay a substantial fee. The agency is responsible for payroll, taxes and benefits. Agency is bonded and carries general and professional liability insurance. Agency provides qualified replacement when your regular caregiver is ill or on vacation.

14. Daily progress notes are left onsite for client, family and other caregivers. 

15. Agency offers Nurse Delegation, this allows nursing assistants to provide many nursing services at a lower cost to you under RN supervision: medication administration, insulin injections, glucometer testing, colostomy care, etc.

16. Agency can handle skilled nursing tasks in your home when necessary. Agency has nurses (RN and LPN) on staff. Agency has a WA State Home Health License. 

17. Agency can install genuine Phillips Lifeline Emergency Alarms to provide added client safety when a caregiver cannot be present.

18. Agency has a “telephone time card system” that allows me to see exactly when my caregivers arrived and left, and notifies the agency when my caregiver is late?

19. Professional Geriatric Care Managers, RN (Registered Nurse) or MSW (Master of Social Work) are employed by Agency, and conduct a thorough assessment of the client and their needs, provide recommendations to the client and family and serve as professional advocates for client care as requested.

20. Agency does Fall Risk Assessments with all clients and implements a nationally recognized fall prevention program at no additional cost.

21. Agency recognizes the risk of readmission upon discharge from a hospital, nursing home or other skilled setting and transition back to the community. 

22. Caregiver reliability is guaranteed in writing.

23. Agency does not give or receive payment for referrals. Agency believes that referrals should be based on individual needs and preferences, and the quality of provider to deliver the services required as demonstrated over years of care.

24. Agency believes that care should be coordinated when different people and providers are involved. Agency will actively communicate with discharge planners, private caregivers, family members and other healthcare providers to avoid costly confusion, mistakes and duplication of effort.

25. Agency believes in continuity of care. It is structured to accommodate a full range of needs in the home. Agency can provide care on a limited basis as needed, and also has the capacity to provide more challenging care up to 24 hours/day, without asking you to seek help elsewhere.

26 Agency believes that owners and managers should fully understand the complexity of delivering healthcare. Agency owners are local healthcare professionals; i.e. an RN with a Masters of Nursing, and a MSW, each with 40 + years experience in healthcare delivery and management.

27. Agency believes in life-long learning and supports that belief with a robust training program for its caregivers, cash stipends for additional employee training and a series of community education events to raise the level of understanding and skills of professional and family caregivers.