Part II:  Home Health Aides: Liability & Expertise

As you may recall, Personal Health Care launched Part I in the blog series, “Navigating the World of Home Health Care, in early February 2014. This blog discussed the concerns a caregiver may have when exploring the cost of a home health aide or home health agency. Now that we have addressed cost concerns, let us examine liability and expertise.

First, we will discuss liability. In the world of home health care, liability and workers’ compensation coverage is vital.  Professional liability insurance coverage promises to pay on behalf of the insured (home health care agency) money damages that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay because of, (1) an injury arising from the failure of a health care staff member to deliver professional health care services; and/or (2) damages to the patients’ property that occur at the hands of a health care staff member.  Another item that falls under the liability coverage umbrella is worker’s compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation coverage ensures that there is no liability for you or your family if an employee should be injured while in your home or providing services to you. Accidents happen even to the most careful and conscientious home health care aides, so when choosing an agency liability and workers’ compensation coverage are important items to consider.

Another significant item to take into consideration when selecting a home health agency or home health aide is expertise. How well does the agency screen their employees before they are hired? How qualified is the employee to provide care for your loved one? I can only speak to our agency’s requirements, so the following information is based on Personal Health Care’s hiring policy. Each home health aide must demonstrate that they have a minimum of 2 years of experience in a health care facility or other supervised setting prior to being scheduled for an interview.  Our home health aides are then thoroughly screened with 3 professional and personal references and criminal, child abuse and FBI background checks. In addition, all of our home health aides are Medicare Certified (written and hands-on competency test) and complete 12 to 18 hours of additional training each year on up-to-date best practices in the home care industry. Each home health aide is then individually screened and selected to match up their level of expertise with the patient’s specific needs. While this process will not completely ensure that each aide is the perfect match for each patient, it certainly does help! Our mission is to ensure that we, as a home health agency, have done everything in our powers to properly screen and prepare each home health aide prior to sending them out into the homes of our patients. Our goal is to set both our home health aides and our patients up for optimal success; in other words, if the employee is happy and well-trained, then the patient is happy and well-cared for, and finally the caregiver is happy and have that piece of mind that they need to trust that their loved ones are receiving the best care possible!!

Please keep an eye out for our next blog in this series, “Navigating the World of Home Health Care,” where we will discuss other key items to consider when hiring a home health aide/ or home health agency.

Laurie B. Conbeer, RN, BSN

Assistant Director of Nursing