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So, how do you sift through the many choices?
To begin the process, make a list of what you think your loved one will need. Next, ask for referrals from your loved one's physician or a family member or friend. If your loved one has been hospitalized, ask a social worker or nurse at the hospital. Another good place to look is the Internet.
Once you've identified the type of care needed, narrow the search to a few agencies. Here are some important questions to ask:
* Service listing. Do their services cover your loved one's needs? Is someone available to provide information about services, eligibility requirements and funding sources?
* Training and supervision. What formal training programs and certifications does the agency require of its direct care providers? What level of professional supervises the care? How often and how do the supervisors oversee the caregivers on location to ensure proper care?
* Documentation and coordination. Are visits and treatments documented? Do family members have easy access? Does the agency coordinate with the physician?
Direct Care Providers
* Length of visits. How often does the care provider visit, and how long do they stay? Do they provide care on weekends and evenings? Do the visits allow time to get to know the patient?
* Rotation of care. Is care provided consistently by the same caregiver, or is it rotated among different people? If rotated, how often? Does the family receive advance notice when a change is being made?
* Accessibility. Do agency office staff and the care provider stay in regular contact? Do they keep you informed of any changes in the patient's health or plan of care?
* Funding and billing. Are services covered by Medicare or Medicaid? Do they supply written statements detailing costs? How often is the care invoiced if there is payment due?
* Special fees. Are there fees for special or extended services? Who is responsible for them? Are payment plans available for any out-of-pocket services? Is there someone at the agency who can assist in exploring all payment options?
Finally, remember that agencies that embrace current technology work efficiently and seamlessly and often provide the best patient care. Axxess, a supporter of home health care, designs and implements software technology for home health agencies so the care provider in the home can focus on the patient, not the paperwork. For more information, visit www.axxess.com.
(NewsUSA) - Summertime. It's the time of year to put your feet up, relax and have a little fun. So, why not make it a little safer for the whole family?
The following tips can help keep everyone healthy and injury-free -- and, with any luck, away from the doctor's office:
* Handle vacation baggage with caution. Be careful handling your luggage. There were more than 75,500 luggage-related injuries in 2013 alone. To avoid luggage-related injury and pain, keep your body straight when lifting and carrying luggage -- do not twist. Instead, point your toes in the direction you are headed, and then turn your entire body in that direction. Also, only use luggage that is sturdy and light weight with wheels and a handle.
* Dive into summer safety. Diving and swimming is a popular summer activity for many families and their children, but it does carry some risk.
"Swimming and diving injuries are most common among children, 17 or younger," says A. Jay Khanna, MD, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) spokesperson and orthopedic surgeon. "For that reason, it's important to equip kids with the proper safety precautions at an early age."
The AAOS suggests that individuals never dive into above-ground pools or into water that isn't clear -- where sand bars or objects below the surface may not be seen. As for swimming, never swim alone, always swim in supervised areas, and avoid rip currents.
* Follow the rules of the road while biking. More than 80 million Americans enjoy cycling because it's an environmentally efficient way to get around, a great form of exercise and a fun activity for the whole family. However, according to 2013 statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, bike-related injuries were the reason for more than 1.3 million visits to hospitals, emergency rooms and doctors' offices.
To avoid being a statistic, always wear a helmet and ride in the direction of traffic. Also, don't listen to music with headphones, talk on your phone, text or do anything else that would distract you while riding.
* Beware of bouncing. Jumping on a trampoline is a favorite pastime among kids because of the thrill that comes with it. Unfortunately, it also carries risks. The most common injuries are sprains and fractures that result from falls on the mat, falls on the frame or springs, collisions with another jumper and falls off the trampoline, according to the AAOS. To protect kids, trampolines should not be used for unsupervised recreational activity.
For more information and safety tips this summer, visit OrthoInfo.org.