Frau bei der Beratung von Senioren im Pflegeheim

Choosing an Agency for In-Home Care


In-Home Care can be defined in several different ways. “Home” can be a single-family dwelling, an independent senior living community, or an assisted living community where supplemental care is needed.

Choose a Home Care agency that will provide all the services you need for your parent or loved one. If you need help identifying these, speak with a doctor, care manager, or hospital discharge planner if the person just left the hospital. You can also check out the free periodical Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook for your area. These people and magazine can refer you to agencies. Once you make your list of agencies, start by calling them. Following are a list of important questions to ask:


  1. Is the agency licensed by the state? All Home Care agencies are required to be licensed as a Residential Service Agency (RSA) with the State of Maryland.
  2. What services does it provide?
  3. Are the services available 24 hours, 7 days a week?
  4. Would services begin immediately? If not, how long a wait?
  5. How does the agency decide what services are needed or not over time?
  6. How does the agency handle Long Term Care insurance claims?

The people providing the services will have direct contact with your parent or loved one, so you’ll want to know as much as possible about their qualifications.


  1. What types of staff does the agency have available: Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, Certified Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist
  2. What is the agencies credentialing requirements?
  3. Are the staff insured and bonded (insured against theft or loss to a home) through the agency?
  4. Are the staff employees or contractors? Ask if the staff of the agency are W-2 employees or contractors. If they aren’t W-2 employees, then you may end up handling all the payroll paperwork, including taxes, workers’ compensation, and benefits. Be sure to verify who takes care of the compensation requirements.
  5. Who supervises the staff?
  6. What is the scheduling procedure for the agency?
  7. What is the procedure if a staff person doesn’t show up?
  8. Can you request a different staff person to provide care if you are unhappy with the worker the agency sent?


You know it when you see it, but it can still be hard to measure. Here are some questions to help gauge the quality of an agency and the care it provides.


  1. Does the agency provide written job descriptions so clients know what duties to expect from the staff?
  2. Does the agency have a quality of care standard and plan or program to maintain and improve quality?
  3. Does the staff receive on going training?
  4. Is there a written plan of care for each client? Are clients and family members involved in creating and reviewing it?
  5. How is the scheduling managed by the agency?
  6. How long has the agency been in business?



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