Getting Started with Home Health Care

Sometimes it’s easy enough to start home health care. If you’ve been in the hospital, for instance, a discharge planner will work with an agency like VNSNY to ensure that your care is coordinated and the transition from hospital to home is as seamless as possible. If you’ve been injured, or if a chronic illness requires additional care, your physician might call us to set up home care for you.

Other times, something has happened. Maybe your mom fell in the shower for the third time in a month. Or perhaps the last few conversations with your dad have been worryingly similar. Or maybe a loved one has been newly diagnosed or a chronic illness has taken a serious turn. When you aren’t sure what kind of help you need, how do you go about getting it?

Peggy Taber, the director of VNSNY’s Customer Care Center, says, “People who call us are worried. They know they need something, but frequently they don’t know what that ‘something’ is.”

She outlines four steps to get your loved one expert care:

Give us a call.

VNSNY’s Customer Care Center (1-800-675-0931) is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your call will be answered by an expert, who will listen carefully to assess which services might be appropriate.

Learn your options.

Think of our Customer Care Center as Home Care 101. “We go through the services we offer and we try to determine whether a parent needs custodial care or if there’s a need for skilled care. If there’s a medical need, we encourage callers to contact their parent’s doctor as well.”

We’ll explain what you or your loved one are entitled to and answer all of your questions. You’ll have all the information you need to make a decision, or to discuss it with your parent or other family members and caregivers.

Decide on a plan.

If you’re the sole caregiver, you may be able to decide which services are needed during that initial phone call. Then you can have your loved one’s doctor call us with a referral.

More often, though, a caller is doing research and needs to let other family members know what home care options are available. If you’re calling on behalf of other caregivers, let us know. We can send out information, or we can direct you to specific pages on our website that may help you to answer their questions. Of course, you’re also welcome to call us back during that conversation if you need immediate answers. And if finances are a concern, we can explain basic insurance guidelines, too.

Let us know your decision.

After you and your family have made a decision, let us know and we’ll take it from there. We’ll work with your loved one’s doctor to get a referral so that home care can begin as soon as it’s needed.

“We’re here for you,” says Taber. “We make it as easy as possible, and we encourage you and any other family members to call us with any questions. We want to make sure you have the tools and the support you need.”

Are you caring for a family member or friend? Sign up for Caring Delivered, VNSNY’s free newsletter just for caregivers, and get the information you need.

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