Using a Referral Agency
Referral agencies help seniors select a care setting to meet their housing and service needs. Referral agencies can save you time, help simplify your search, and provide you with valuable information to help you make an informed decision. But not all referral agencies provide the same degree of service - what do you need to know about choosing a referral agency?
Questions to ask when choosing a referral agency:
What type of screening or assessment is done to determine the type of care you need and want?
Assisted Living communities often have different specialities and may not be equipped to meet all needs and preferences. For example, the community may or may not offer specialized dementia care, have the ability to retain a resident on hospice, provide insulin injections, or retain a bedridden resident; perhaps walking paths or a significant library are important to you. Be sure to ask the referral agency what they do to determine your needs and preferences, as well as how they match you to the appropriate communities.
Does the agency conduct on-site visits to the Assisted Living communities to which they refer?
Assisted Living communities are not all alike - they can have very different environments and characteristics. On-site visits help the referral agency understand the unique features of the community. Be sure to ask if they’ve been to visit the communities they refer you to.
How many communities will you be referred to?
Some agencies will send your information to all the communities they contract with regardless of your needs and preferences. Others work to match your needs and preferences to specific communities. Ask what the referral agency’s process is and how many communities you will likely be referred to.
How does the referral agency get paid?
Referral agencies collect a fee either from the consumer or the Assisted Living community the consumer eventually moves into. If the agency’s services are free to the consumer and instead paid for by the Assisted Living community, consumers might only be referred to those communities that are doing business with that particular referral agency. However, some may refer you to all appropriate locations. Be sure you understand how a referral agency’s payment process affects their referrals.
What is the experience/training of the representatives who will be working with you?
Referral agency staff qualifications can vary greatly. Be sure to ask what experience and training they receive.
Just like with the Assisted Living community you chose to move into, you should be sure you are comfortable with the referral agency you are working with. Be sure you understand what the referral agency will do for you before you select one.
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