How to Choose a Home Health Care Provider That’s Right for You

When you’re in the midst of undergoing treatment for cancer or another serious illness or are making arrangements for your final days if facing a terminal diagnosis, it’s important to have a strong support system at home. Often, that support can come in the form of a home care provider.

Such providers vary in terms of their background, education, and responsibilities, which is why it’s important to do your research when choosing a home care provider, to ensure you or your loved one work with someone who will be able to provide the right level of care. If you’re considering this option and wondering how to choose a home health care provider, the best place to start is to understand the differences between the titles of the most common types of providers.

Common Types of Home Health Care Providers:

  1. Personal care aide: This type of provider is a good fit for someone who needs some assistance with daily household tasks but who can still manage his or her medical care relatively independently. A PCA can assist with everything from heavy lifting to cleaning and making meals, driving patients to appointments or on errands, and providing support and companionship.
  2. Home health aide: An HHA is equipped to meet more serious medical needs. He or she generally has completed vocational or community-college training in this area and is certified by the state. In addition to helping a patient with daily tasks like using the restroom or getting dressed, an HHA can take vitals, dispense medication, and ensure the individual is following through on prescribed treatments.
  3. Certified nursing assistant: A CNA is appropriate for someone who needs advanced medical assistance. This type of provider has undergone extensive schooling and training to be prepared for a wide variety of medical challenges. In addition to performing all of the tasks an HHA is certified for, such as vitals checks, a CNA can also set up and manage medical equipment and take on a greater level of responsibility for monitoring a patient’s condition.

When choosing a home care provider, it’s important to first assess how much care you or the patient would require. From there, decide which type of aide is needed, interview candidates and be sure to conduct extensive research about the individual’s background and training to ensure a quality match is made.

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