Coming Home with Care: Determining a Home Care Company For Your Child
We’re exploring what can be an exciting but confusing time for parents of children with new medical diagnoses – preparing for discharge from the hospital to receive care from a home care company. But with the right resources, parents can feel confident as they make this monumental transition back to their own space.
Below, find helpful steps in determining who will provide your child’s medical care and then visit our page on how to prepare for discharge from the hospital. Be sure to share your best practices or ask any questions you may have about discharging from the hospital in the comments!
After days, weeks, or sometimes months in the hospital, you’ve gotten the much anticipated news – your child is ready to go home to receive their medical care. There are likely a lot of things going through your mind as preparations are made and you start to envision what your new normal might look like as you welcome therapists, nurses, and other specialists into your home.
Starting The Process
Rest assured, hospital staff are well versed in the process of preparing for discharge, and will be a great resource for you during this time. Additionally, with so much available online, parents are in a more informed position than ever to play a major role in deciding which company (or companies) will provide their child’s care at home.
“I always recommend that parents do their homework when choosing a home care company,” says Karletta Crawford, Director of Nursing at Pediatric Home Service. “There’s a lot of information out there you can look for online, and through support groups that families have found to get a real perspective of how companies function.”
Karletta also recommends searching for a company that focuses on the pediatric population for your child. While many home care companies will work with any age, clinicians at a pediatric company have the specialized background that ensures they’re comfortable delivering medical care to such a distinct population.
Gathering The Information You Need
When meeting with your care manager (or discharge planner) at the hospital to discuss preparations for transitioning home, it can be helpful to come equipped with questions to better understand the care your child will require and what to expect. A few questions might include:
Questions for your care manager
- What medical services/therapies will my child require at home?
- Is there a home care company that provides all the services my child needs? If not, which home care companies provide each?
- How much time will home care providers spend in my home? (this may vary greatly depending on the medical care your child needs)
- Do you work with the home care companies in the discharge process and care plan?
*If your child will be going home with home care nursing (HCN), it can be confusing to understand how many hours of care they will receive per day or week. Often, insurance companies will assess how many hours a day the child is eligible for based on their diagnoses, and the home care agency will also conduct an independent assessment to determine how many hours of nursing will be provided. This number may or may not match the insurance company’s assessment. PHS recognizes the concern and confusion that comes with this process, and communicates clearly with the family to prepare all caregivers for success.
Once you have a better understanding of your options, ask your care manager if they can arrange an interview with the home care companies you’re interested in. If they aren’t able to accommodate this request, you can call the companies and arrange an interview independently over the phone or in person. This will give you the opportunity to get a better feel for the company’s ethics, training for their clinical staff, and overall perspective on patient care.
Your care manager may have a list of questions they recommend asking home care companies to help direct conversation. Use this as a starting point and personalize the questions to ensure you gather information specific to your child and family. When you feel confident in who is providing your child’s care, you’ll feel more confident in the transition home.
Here are a few questions we think are helpful to ask.
Questions for home care companies
- Does your company specialize in pediatrics? What kind of training do clinicians get specific to pediatric care?
- Do you train other family members on my child’s cares?
- What accreditations does your company have? (for an understanding of accreditations, check out this page from one company)
- What services do you provide?
- What is your involvement in discharge when my child is going home?
- Do you have 24/7 on-call availability?
- How do visits to my home work? Is one clinician dedicated to my child’s care?
- How much communication and collaboration is there between the different services my child would receive from you?
- How do you collaborate with the hospitals/clinics who also provide my child’s care?
- What credentials are common for your therapists/nurses etc.? (depending on the services you need)
- What happens when a nurse is sick? What is your policy for shift changes?
- What is protocol if we don’t get along well with a nurse or have issues with the care they provide?
Making A Decision
Once you’ve gotten enough information from your care manager and the home care companies who are able to meet your child’s medical needs, you can decide who was the best match for you and your child and the process toward discharge will move forward from there as you work more closely with those providing care.
In our next post, we will talk about preparing for discharge and what you can expect from a home care company like PHS in terms of training, communication, and transitioning home. Stay tuned!Originally published: June 13, 2017