How to Choose a Home Care Agency For Your Loved One

Choose Home Care Agency Memory Cafe Directory

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Choosing a Home Care partner is an important decision when deciding how to best care for a loved one. We’ll use Regency Home Care, based in Portland, Oregon, as a model for how to make a solid choice.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease or other types of dementia is demanding. While super heroes can do it by themselves, the reality is that we need to partner with others to get the job done – and keep our health, demeanor, and sanity in check. Matching the level of care needed with the needs of the care recipient can provide peace of mind for all.

There are many ways to “partner” to complete your personal caregiving puzzle. The pieces include:

  • Products
  • Services
  • Educational materials
  • Medication support
  • And many, many more

Memory Cafe Directory is pleased to share our perspectives on how to select a quality Home Care partner. We offer these perspectives on how you can approach a Home Care selection, based on a review of a firm we have gotten to know in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area: Regency Home Care NW. RHCNW is a wonderful collection of professionals dedicated to helping you help your family members.

You may already be saying to yourself, “There are thousands of home care companies across the country. Why should I listen to what you are saying about Regency Home Care? And by the way, I’m not in Portland. Why should I care?”

Great Questions!

Yes, there are thousands of home health agencies across the country offering in-home care services. Regency Home Care NW is being singled out for this example for three very important reasons:

  1. Regency Home Care NW was founded in the late 1970s. Home care agencies don’t stick around if they don’t provide quality care, with the right caregiver for patient care in the home.
  2. Regardless of your location, having an understanding of how a quality organization approaches their business will help you scrutinize your choices in your local community. Our hope is that it will help you make an informed and quality decision for your loved one’s care – no matter where you’re located and no matter your unique needs.
  3. You may have a loved one in Portland who needs periodic care by a professional.

How I Came To Know Regency Home Care

Many years ago, I attended a symposium at a local church. It was conducted to explore starting a Memory Cafe in the local area. The concept of a Memory Cafe made such an impact on me, I was compelled to create Memory Cafe Directory, the easiest to use nationwide directory of Memory Cafes available. A participant in the Memory Cafe fair was a member of the church hosting the event and coincidentally, a member of the Regency Home Care Team!

Regency Home Care Services

Before we look at what is important when selecting a home care provider near you, let’s see the basket of services they provide. RHCNW offers an appropriate range of home care services. Although pleasantly lengthy, it makes sense to show their services list in its entirety:

Companion Services
Companionship and conversation Meal preparation and eating assistance
Maintain a safe environment Assistance with walking
Medication reminders Errands
Family respite care Transportation
Socialization and communication Light gardening assistance
Games, reading, and writing correspondence Escort to appointments and events
Home Care Services
Light duty housekeeping Aid with evening and tuck-in
Meal preparation and eating assistance Drop off and pick up dry cleaning
Laundry and ironing Assist with pet care
Change linens and make beds Shopping for groceries and supplies
Take out garbage Prepare future meals
Aid with morning and wake-up
Personal Care Services: Activities of /daily Living
Personal hygiene assistance Bathing and showering
Alzheimer’s and Dementia care Dressing assistance
Transferring to/from bed or chair Oral care
Toileting assistance Hair care
Incontinence assistance

This is an extensive list, but not unlike many other firms across the country. Let’s take a look behind the scenes to understand why Regency Home Care is one of the more comprehensive home health care agencies. (And in doing so, you can get a sense of what standard you should hold when considering services near you.) We’ll do that with a series of questions.

Is your home care agency legal?

On the surface, this may seem like a silly question, but in reality, it is one of the most important questions to ask. Having the necessary licensure, bond protection, and insurance coverage should be the ante to play in the home health care game. Unfortunately, it isn’t always the case here in the United States.

Be sure you’re dealing with a validated firm since they will be working in your own home. Regency Home Care is fully licensed, bonded, and insured. Period. There is no reason to gamble with your safety or the safety of your loved one. Require this level of validation when hiring health care professionals.

Does your local area agency screen their caregivers?

This is a very close second in importance for selecting a home health care provider. Having someone come into your home and work directly with your loved one is serious business. Hiring is one thing… Hiring safe, quality, and experienced care providers is quite another.

The only way to ensure highest quality of care is to be diligent in the selection of new employees. At the very minimum, conduct criminal background checks. However, finding the right fit for the type of care being provided will take more effort to find a good match.

Regency Home Care thoroughly screens their applicants, who must pass a rigorous criminal background check, comprehensive drug screening and even a driving record evaluation. They are carefully selected by, and undergo training with, their Management and Leadership Team. This is a critical element in the pursuit of providing long term, quality care.

Does your home care agency have a Service Guarantee?

This is an excellent indicator of passion and dedication. Firms offering a Service Guarantee know a late arrival or disruption in a schedule are not just inconvenient, they can be frustrating and worse yet, unsafe. A reputable agency understands the specific needs of their clients. They understand the “home care pulse” and will ensure team members are one time to lend the helping hand on which you rely.

RHCNW provides a Service Guarantee, ensuring consistent, on time care. Little time is wasted in providing the outstanding care you deserve.

Is it easy to conduct business with your firm?

Think about the precious nature of your time and the critical value of your money. Does your firm make it easy to interact with them “administratively?” Is their billing in simple terms with reasonable minimums? What about long-term contracts, cancellation fees, or excessive deposit amounts? Are you constantly being sold higher cost add-on services?

Hiring a professional caregiver to care for an older adult with chronic conditions is difficult enough. The right home care agency should address your home care needs in a simple manner, without undue administrative burden.

RHCNW works hard to make their relationship with you “easy.” They constantly look for ways to improve their processes to make your experience as consumer-friendly as possible. For example, they know some services are short in duration, but high in value to you. As a result, they offer services in segments as short as just one hour. Even and hour can be a huge help to you – that’s why they do it.

That one hour offering acts as a very fair and appropriate minimum charge, where effectively, there really isn’t any. Add to this, their policy of not requiring deposits and you can begin to see the ease with which you can be served.

If something changes at your end (and it will!) RHCNW only requires a two hour courtesy notification. Canceling or rescheduling at the last minute isn’t the end of the world – life happens. If all this weren’t enough, you won’t find any hidden fees, no surcharges for weekend support, no cancellation fees, and no long-term contracts. Pay for what you need – when you need the support.

All of this may seem like a high bar to meet, but you are looking for a strategic partnership when hiring a firm to provide home care workers. You want the types of services they offer, but there is no need for excessive and complicated procedures to get the additional help you need.

Does your home care agency have a waiting list?

This may be an odd question. but it doesn’t hurt to ask. It is of course only one screening element. No waiting list doesn’t mean they are a bad company, just as a long waiting list doesn’t mean they are great. No waiting list may mean they are very efficient and can manage a high number of clients in a quality manner. Conversely, a long waiting list may mean they don’t manage their time well and simply don’t have the time to take on new clients.

​Ask the question and add it as a data point to your research.

Portland: Geographically Challenged

At the start, I indicated RHCNW is based in Portland, Oregon. I anticipated your “I’m not in Portland” response. In spite of this example being targeted in a specific location, there are a number of reasons why we should build a list of trusted resources in other cities. Let’s look at some of the reasons you might need care partners in other cities.

Travel for Fun

Family caregivers and a care receiver are all entitled to some fun after “work hours.” Travel may be a part of that plan. If so, finding anything from an informal caregiver to a registered nurse may be helpful during your stay. Remember, you need (and deserve) help at home with daily tasks. Why not plan for it while visiting another city. Do your research in advance with referral partners, the better business bureau, or through other community resources.

Travel for Business

Caregiving can be complicated. A primary caregiver often has a job outside the home. At times, that job my require some travel. As odd as it sounds, there may be situations where the best way to provide round the clock care is to take the loved one along on the trip. I’ll admit it may not be the best option, but it may be the only one available in certain situations. Having someone at the destination ready to help with daily activities could be just the ticket for better care.

Travel for Relocation

To extend the Travel for Business example, there may come a time where the primary care provider’s job requires a relocation. There can be multiple trips to the new city to prepare for the new job – and a new home. If your loved one can’t be by themselves for any length of time, having a trusted professional with proper training available there can make a world of difference.

Travel with a Continuum of Care

Maintaining a consistent routine is important for an elderly person. If a loved one is living with dementia, it is even more critical. What better way to continue that routine – one that might already include a home care agency – than to have similar support at your destination city.

Wouldn’t it make the trip immensely more enjoyable if you could contact a quality provider of home care services in the city to which you are planning to travel? A company that provides safe, professional staff in a flexible and almost “frictionless” manner can be a key piece of a successful and enjoyable travel puzzle.

For my money, there would be only one number I would have in my Contact file for a Portland visit: 971.340.4829 – RHCNW in Portland, Oregon!

More About RHCNW

As a locally owned and operated professional services company, RHCNW has a close connection with the area, and of course, their clients. They have been supporting local families since the 1970s and were founded based on personal need. Learn more bout RHCNW on their web site at

Use This As A Guide

Use this as a guide when thinking about selecting a home care firm in your city. It should help you consider those important questions to ask and variables to consider. Ask questions. Get informed. Be safe.

Did we miss anything?

What other questions should we add to this? Get in touch if you have additional perspectives to share. We’ll get this updated for you.

Thank you.

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