The ever-increasing population of older adults who are choosing to age at home has driven an explosion of the home care industry. Just try searching the web for “home care in my area” and dozens of adult care options are presented. Choosing a home care agency is a deeply personal decision. After all, you’re entrusting them with the care of your loved one. As a consumer, how do you determine which home care organizations in your area are delivering the highest levels of care?
Matt Hughes is Vice President of Business Development for the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), one of several organizations in the United States that provides accreditation for home health, hospice, private duty, home medical equipment, pharmacy, sleep labs, behavioral health, and ambulatory care. Accreditation is regarded as one of the key benchmarks for measuring the quality of an organization. He explains the process of accreditation and its importance on the Help Choose Home podcast which can be accessed on iTunes, Google Play and other listening devices.
Accreditation is a process of review that allows healthcare organizations to demonstrate their ability to meet regulatory requirements and standards established by a recognized accreditation organization such as ACHC. Accreditation reflects an agency’s dedication and commitment to meeting standards that demonstrate a higher level of performance and patient care.
For consumers looking for in-home care, ACHC accreditation serves as a “seal of approval.” Accredited organizations have gone above and beyond the standards established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and have made a commitment to meet the higher and more rigorous standards established by ACHC. Accreditation provides peace of mind to consumers, ensuring that patients are receiving the highest standard of care delivered by staff that has been properly trained.
How do consumers determine if in-home care agencies are accredited? Hughes suggests asking hospital discharge staff questions about the home care provider they are recommending and determining if they have accreditation. He also recommends that consumers spend time researching accredited agencies in their local area.
Another advantage of ACHC accreditation is that consumers who are receiving care from an ACHC-accredited home care agency can contact ACHC if they feel there has been unsatisfactory service. ACHC investigates consumer concerns and complaints, ensuring that in-home care agencies are meeting the required standards of care in order to maintain accreditation.
Compare this to non-accredited agencies where there are fewer checks and balances, the standard of care may be less stringent, and staff may not be properly trained in the most up-to-date care methods. If consumers feel that their loved one is not receiving proper care from a non-accredited agency, there is little recourse beyond contacting the insurance provider. In short, ACHC accreditation offers patients and their families several additional levels of protection.
According to Hughes, it’s important for consumers to be as educated as possible when looking for in-home care agencies. Accreditation is one way to ensure the patient is at the core, receiving the best possible care.
Listen to the full interview with Matt Hughes in the Help Choose Home podcast series to learn more.
The Help Choose Home podcast series provides information and resources to help those with a care need learn more about healthcare at home. Podcasts are hosted by Merrily Orsini, president and CEO of corecubed[S13] , a firm dedicated exclusively to elder care marketing.
Help Choose Home is a collaborative effort by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), Axxess, and corecubed to educate the public about the many benefits of the in-home care industry, which includes non-medical home care, private duty nursing care, medical home health, hospice, and other in-home health and wellness services.