Five Things to Consider with In-home Care Contracts

December 4, 2017

Home for the holidays?  Notice mom or dad slowing down?  Many families reach a point when an ill or older relative needs in-home help or care for difficulty with activities of daily living, memory problems with medications, etc.  If you or a loved one is going to contract with a third party to provide in-home care services here are five things to consider:

  1. Check the agency’s qualifications.  Some states, like Michigan, do not require accreditation or registration but you can vet agencies with the Community Health Accreditation Partner or Joint Commission or Medicare certification.  Check the agency’s reputation in the community, ask for and check references.
  2. Make sure the contract spells out rights and responsibilities.  The contract should clearly describe the necessary services, their time, place and manner of service.  It should also include provisions for making changes to care and caregivers, and/or termination for unsatisfactory performance.
  3. Check into how the agency selects and trains employees.  Are there bare minimum qualifications like: CNA, LPN, RN, etc.?  Are they licensed or bonded?  Do they do backgrounds checks?
  4. Make sure the contract allows for review of patient/recipient care needs.  Needs change over time.  What does the contract say about adding or dropping services and how does that affect costs?
  5. Check the documentation requirements for caregivers.  How will you know if the services that are contracted for are performed unless there is some form of documentation by the caregiver?  The contract should state what documentation will be provided.

Armed with these tips for review you should have a good start on evaluating the strengths and weakness of the in-home care contract.  We are here to help if you want a more in-depth analysis.