How to Choose Services for Yourself and Your Loved One

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
How to Choose Services for Yourself and Your Loved One

Focus on the Important Issues

Consumers and their families are taking more responsibility for managing their healthcare options and which providers they select. It is important to determine what issues are the most important.

The following are some general categories to consider:

  • Services your private insurance or government covers
  • Range of services offered
  • The location of a service and what hours it is available
  • Commitment to quality improvement through accreditation

Asking questions and spending time on site with potential providers can give you a valuable experience regarding the service offerings being considered.

Before making your appointment, you may want to check online to see what health inspection results, quality information, and general consumer comments are available through your health department.

If possible, it is best to sample the services provided before making a long-term commitment. Many residential communities have visitors quarters, or respite care available, that can provide you and your family an opportunity to sample their services.

Issues to Consider

  • Stability of the organization
  • Management and care philosophy
  • Ability to perform to stated philosophies
  • Ability and willingness to customize individual care plans
  • Reputation with those who are currently receiving services

First Impressions Count

Upon entering the provider’s facility, look around. You can begin to evaluate the service levels provided by using some of the following questions:

  • Was I greeted in a friendly manner?
  • Did they see me immediately?
  • Do the premises appear to be well maintained, clean, and safe?
  • What is my impression of the service level?
  • How are staff members interacting with persons receiving services and coworkers?
  • What is the ratio of staff to persons receiving services?

Spotlight Safety

  • What credentials do staff members have?
  • What health and safety policies are in place, as related to incidents involving injury, medication management, natural disasters, etc.?
  • What is the annual staff turnover?
  • What complaint procedures exist? Do policies prevent reprisals?

Understand the Services

  • How long does it take to begin services?
  • Is there a waiting list?
  • How often will I receive services, and how long will they last?
  • What will this cost me?
  • How will my family or I participate in planning services and determining schedules?
  • What can I expect as a result of my services?
  • What are my rights and responsibilities?
  • What service goals exist for my service plan and the facility overall?
  • How are suggestions from persons receiving services acted upon?

Know the Choices

  • If I need other assistance, is it available?
  • Are referrals available to other service providers if needed?
  • What types and how many services are available (i.e., self-help, home health services, support)?
  • What choices are available regarding meal service, grooming options, recreational activities, etc.?
  • Can you help if I need transportation?

Our Accrediting Body

Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, CARF International is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of human service providers in the areas of aging services, behavioral health, child and youth services, durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies, employment and community services, medical rehabilitation, and opioid treatment programs.

The CARF family of organizations currently accredits more than 43,000 programs at more than 19,000 locations in the United States, Canada, Europe, the South Pacific, and South America. More than 7.1 million persons of all ages are served annually in CARF-accredited programs.

The Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC), based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1985 as the nation's only accreditor of continuing care retirement communities and aging services networks. CARF acquired CCAC in 2003.

CARF International
4891 East Grant Road
Tucson, AZ 85712
Toll free (888) 281-6531

1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW,
Suite 209
Washington, DC 20036
Toll free (866) 888-1122

CARF Canada
10665 Jasper Avenue, Suite 1400A
Edmonton, AB T5J 3S9, Canada
Toll free (877) 434-5444

Download the PDF in English or find it on in Spanish and French.




Posted on BrainLine June 22, 2010.

From CARF International (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). Used with permission.