Many families that care for a loved one with dementia at home will require some professional help, either with bathing, medical issues or caregiver fatigue. Your Primary Care Provider will have to order this for you so that Insurance and/or Medicare will pay for it. Most Providers have their ‘favorite’ Home Health Agencies that they will most likely recommend to you. It was always my policy to provide the name of several agencies and offer to let the families do their due diligence before making the referral. This may not be the case with your Provider and you may get referred to one of their choosing. If this is the case, remember, it is okay to call that Provider and tell them you are not happy with the Home Health Agency referred to them. It is vitally important that you get an Agency that understands the dementia patient and unique needs that arise with this diagnosis. Often times, Home Health Agencies send aides that may not have the patience to work with a dementia patient, thus producing an environment that may cause your loved one to act out, develop behavioral issues and possibly even become violent with that individual. It is your responsibility to immediately contact the Administrator or Director of Nursing of that Home Health Agency and notify them of the problem and ask that the aide they sent be replaced with someone that knows how to work with dementia patients. Remember, it is your right to fire that Agency if they do not cooperate and ask your Provider for another referral. I would suggest you ask friends and relatives if they have had any positive experiences with Home Health Agencies, get online and check them out, then let your Provider know what agency you would like to use. As a Provider, I always asked my families about their experience with a Home Health Agency that I had recommended. It is vital that families in need get a kind and compassionate approach from any agency they are involved with.
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