There are many reasons you or a loved one may need at-home care from a respiratory therapist. You may have brought home a baby born prematurely who still needs their oxygen levels monitored. You or a loved one may have emphysema, chronic bronchitis or pneumonia and need the lungs and oxygen levels monitored, or need breathing treatments. Or you may have sleep apnea and need your airway and CPAP machines monitored. Regardless of why you need a respiratory therapist at home, your first step is to find one. As you begin your search for an at-home respiratory therapist, it is important to know what questions to ask and what factors to consider. This can help you find the therapist who is perfect for you. Here are a few of the factors you will want to consider as you begin your search for an at-home respiratory therapist.
If the Therapist Holds a License
In all states, except Alaska, a respiratory therapist is required to hold a license in order to work. The exact type of license, and the requirements for obtaining this license, vary from state to state. If you are working with a home health care agency, such as Corner Home Medical, there is a good chance that they have already done checks on their employees to ensure they hold the correct type of license and that it is current. However, if you are working with an independent respiratory therapist, you will need to verify this information yourself. Always ask to see the license and then check with your local medical licensing board to ensure the license is still valid and has not been revoked.
If the Therapist or Agency Holds Professional Liability Insurance
Another important factor to consider when hiring a respiratory therapist is whether they have professional liability insurance. Professional liability insurance protects the therapist or agency if they make a mistake that causes you injury, and you file a medical malpractice claim. While you may think that them having or not having this type of insurance won't affect you, you are incorrect. If an agency or therapist does not carry this type of insurance, you will have to go after them personally to obtain any money you are awarded. It is not uncommon for an agency to file bankruptcy if they are hit with a large settlement, or for an individual to simply not have the money to pay it. Finding a company that has professional liability insurance ensures you are able to get money for your medical expenses, pain and suffering and injuries if the therapist makes a mistake.
How Much Experience the Therapist Has
When looking for a home care respiratory therapist, you will always want to ask the therapist about their experience. It is not uncommon for a respiratory therapist to transition from hospital care to home care. However, working in a hospital is different from working in the home health care field. In a hospital setting, you have doctors and nurses around. If something doesn't seem right, it is easy to get a second opinion or rely on the expertise of other individuals. A respiratory therapist doesn't have this back-up at home. They have to make decisions on their own. As such, it is important to ask not only about how much experience they have in this field, but how much of that experience comes from working in the home health care field.
How Comfortable You Feel With the Therapist
The last factor you need to consider when you are selecting a respiratory therapist is how comfortable you feel with the therapist. There are people you come across who you click with, and others you clash with. You want to be able to communicate with your therapist effectively and you want to feel comfortable with them. As such, always pay attention to how comfortable you feel with them. If you don't feel comfortable or just don't get a good vibe from them, you may want to meet with other therapists.
When you are looking to hire a respiratory therapist for home care, there are many factors you need to consider. Some are obvious, such as what insurance types they accept or how much they charge. Other factors you may be unaware of. If this is your first time hiring this type of professional, you may not know that you need to find out if the therapist is licensed and carries professional liability insurance. Or you may not think to learn about how much experience they have or pay attention to how you feel around them. Doing all of this will help you find a respiratory therapist that can meet your needs.