Searching for an in-home nurse or therapist for your child can seem like a daunting process. With an overwhelming number of options available, it can be difficult to narrow it down to the right fit for your family. Out of all the questions and concerns that may be running through your mind, here is a short list of essential questions every parent should ask their case manager or healthcare agency before hiring an in-home pediatric nurse or therapist.
Now breathe – you’ve got this.
What will it cost?
Prior to hiring an in-home nurse or therapist, find out what services your child’s health insurance policy will cover by speaking with your insurance representative or intake coordinator. MGA Home Healthcare has billing experts willing to do the legwork for patients and determine coverage in advance.
For instance, some policies might cover medical care, but not speech or physical therapy. If you’ll be paying out-of-pocket for any services, try to get an idea of how your monthly costs will add up in advance of the first visit, and make sure they will fit into your budget.
What are their qualifications?
Every patient has different needs, from occupational therapy, to changing G-tubes and help with self-care. With that in mind, it’s worth noting that in-home caregivers have different hourly rates based on skill level and qualifications. Could you be satisfied with a certified nursing assistant (CNA) to help with bathing and feeding, or does your child require medical care from a registered nurse (RN)?
Your MGA Home Healthcare intake coordinator will obtain all of the relevant medical background information upfront in order to determine the right level of skill and qualifications to meet your child’s needs. Ask about policies in place to ensure that any person entering your home has been thoroughly vetted to be safe and qualified to be there.
Do your schedules mesh well?
During your initial conversation with your potential healthcare agency, make sure to ask about schedule availability to ensure the caregiver has a schedule compatible with yours. Some may prefer to keep a strict 8-5 weekday schedule, while you might want evening or weekend visits. Can they work around school or naps? Also, take time to determine the frequency and length of visits.
What about unexpected conflicts?
Even the most committed and organized parent will need some flexibility for the inevitable illness, vacation, or even a conflicting doctor appointment. Medical specialists book out months in advance, and sometimes the first available appointment requires some calendar shuffling to make it work. If you have to miss a therapy session for a legitimate reason, can you reschedule? Will you pay for a same-day cancellation if your child wakes up with a fever?
How will you communicate?
Find out the best ways to handle any common communication scenario for your family. Ask your intake coordinator how you would get ahold of the nurse or therapist, the clinical manager, the case manager and the agency itself. Make sure to cover during what hours your nurse or therapist would be able to be contacted and how quickly should you expect a response.
Can you leave the house during the appointment?
Depending on the length and type of visit, it may be appropriate for you to run a quick errand while a nurse stays to care for your child. However, some services require the presence of a parent because of learning opportunities that should serve as reinforcement between visits.
Do you have good chemistry?
Above all, having good chemistry with your family is the most significant piece. They will be in your home on a regular basis, so it’s important to have open communication and a relationship of trust. Ask your intake coordinator how you can engage with the nurse or therapist before committing. Having the opportunity for a home visit means you’ll get to know if you and your child feel comfortable prior to the start of services.
Therapy sessions, in particular, are designed to strengthen and challenge the patient. Can your therapist still get good results when your child is tired, bored, or just disengaged? Some pediatric therapists have a special knack for making therapy fun and interesting for little ones, and others have a more clinical approach. Depending on the age and personality of your child, either one could be a great fit.
The right chemistry means your MGA Home Healthcare nurse or therapist can serve as an essential member of your child’s proverbial village, by supporting and guiding them to reach their full potential.