Once you choose a home health agency, it’s time to get your care off to a good start. Do you know what to expect from home health care? Knowing your rights as you enter a relationship with a new home health provider is key to a good start. Every good relationship is two-sided. There are things you can do to help start the relationship on good terms.

What to Expect from Home Health Care

By law, patients served by a Medicare-approved home health agency have certain rights. Home health patient rights involve the right to have a say in your care, be respected, and have your information treated as confidential.

As a home health client, you have a right to:

  • Choose your home health agency and provider(s).
  • Be treated with respect and have your property treated with respect.
  • Participate in decisions regarding your care and receive a copy of your care plan.
  • Have your family act on your behalf if you are unable.
  • Additionally, you have the right to know why questions are being asked during your assessments, and the right to refuse to answer. It’s in your best interest to give as much information as you feel comfortable giving to your care assessor. The more information about your needs they have, the better they can help you design a care plan that will meet your needs to help you continue to live independently.

Getting off to a Good Start with Your Home Health Provider

Here are five tips for building a good working relationship with your home health care provider:

  1. Learn to be able to ask and receive help. This is no small feat for some. However, it can greatly ease the beginning of the relationship when What to Expect from Home Health Care: image showing two sets of feminine hands grasping each other as if for comfortyou are able to ask for help when needed and receive help. Help goes both ways. Your provider will also need your help getting accustomed to your needs and routines. The more patience you show your caregiver, the more patience you should receive in return.
  2. Practice mutual respect. Just as you deserve to have your person and your home respected by your caregiver, your caregiver deserves your respect as a person. Practicing mutual respect encourages healthy communication and will lead to a more trusting relationship.
  3. Set and abide by expectations. The biggest thing here, as with any relationship, is setting expectations and boundaries from the get go. Just as a partner or parent or child cannot read your mind, neither can your home health caregiver. Being clear about your needs and expectations up front will help prevent misunderstandings later. Also, it’s important to understand that caregivers are expected to follow the care plans for your daily care. Don’t expect your caregiver to deviate from the care plan.
  4. Communicate. Address issues early. If issues arise, it is best to handle them early, rather than allowing things to progress and misunderstandings to happen. By giving regular feedback about your caregiver’s care, you can help your caregiver learn your preferences. When you use common courtesies like “please,” “thank you,” and giving genuine compliments when they are deserved, your caregiver will enjoy working with you.
  5. Inform. Keep your home health agency informed of health changes, hospitalizations, and other pertinent health information throughout the year. Maintain good communication with the scheduling department, HCBS coordinators, and supervisors when necessary.

A good relationship with your home health provider is made easier when you follow these basic etiquette guidelines. Also, when you know what to expect from home health care, you’ll know when your care is falling short. A mutually satisfying relationship between you and your provider is possible. Check out this heartwarming page where home care nurses tell their stories.