In July 2015, 47.8 million people in the U.S. were age 65 or older. That number was up 1.6 million from the previous year.
Many of those are people who would prefer to age in place, living in the comfortable surroundings of their home. As their child, grandchild, or another close relative, you want to respect those wishes.
You can’t provide care yourself, though. So how do you let them stay home but still ensure they’re safe and well cared for?
You hire in home caregivers. By following the tips below, you can ensure you hire someone qualified, caring, and ready to assist your loved one.
Decide What Kind of In Home Care Assistance You’re Seeking
Are you looking for someone to assist a relative after surgery? Does your loved one have dementia? Do they need help bathing and reminders to take meds, or do they need someone who can help them shop and get to the doctor?
You need to determine what your needs are before you start searching for in home care assistance. This narrows your search to the agencies that provide the kind of help you need. You’ll spend less time on your search and get your loved one the help they need faster.
What if you have a particular set of needs now, but anticipate that will change? Look for an agency that can easily adapt to that. In home caregiving is most beneficial when it’s continuous from the same agency.
Ask About Continuity of Care
When your loved one is being treated for a health condition, they don’t visit random doctors. They see the same doctor each time, except for emergencies.
They do this because the doctor becomes familiar with the case. This familiarity leads to better care. This is continuity of care, and it extends beyond merely seeing the same doctor.
Using the same agency over time helps with quality care. They become more familiar with your loved one and his or her needs. Even better, though, is when the same provider(s) work with your relative.
Your senior’s specific needs may require multiple providers to ensure proper care. Even if they need more than one provider, there should be some continuity of care in having the same workers. Shelly works Monday through Friday, and Sally works the weekends, for example.
Of course, emergencies occur, and sometimes a staff member will move on. But if an agency is indicating that they can’t say for certain who will be helping at any given time, this should be a red flag.
Discuss Worker Supervision
The in home caregiver, by definition, is working in your loved one’s home. This means the worker is only supervised by your relative. Your loved one may not be the best judge of whether they’re getting proper care. They also may not be aware of inappropriate behaviors, such as stealing.
Ask the agency how they supervise their workers. Many schedule quality assurance visits. Some will “pop in” to surprise workers and ensure things are running smoothly. Others do provide regular, closer supervision.
Confirm that there are also background checks and that the workers are bonded and insured as well.
Ask About Customer Choice
Sometimes, two people don’t get along. Personality conflicts arise. A worker may not know how to best help the client.
Ask the agency what happens in this situation. Can you request another worker? Can the worker request to be reassigned? Is it possible to meet the worker first and see how they get along?
The agency should be flexible enough to send someone else if you or your loved one is unhappy with the care you receive, at the very least.
Confirm That Safety Comes First
One reason for in home care assistance is to keep your loved one safe in familiar surroundings. Even in the security of your lifelong home, however, there could be potential dangers that have gone unnoticed.
Look for an agency that goes above and beyond to ensure your senior’s safety. Assistance in Home Care does an in-home evaluation before care begins to ensure your loved one’s safety. They’ll look for things such as smoke detectors, handrails in the shower and on stairs, and ample lighting.
Find Out About Credentials and Training
Home caregivers are not nurses or doctors. The extent of their service regarding medical care is usually limited to helping patients take medication properly and make sure that they are safe from injury.
Just because they aren’t nurses or doctors doesn’t mean they don’t need any training at all. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice offers training and credentials through their education arm, Home Care University. That is just one of many options for training as an in home care giver.
You should ask any agency what kind of training they require of their workers before hiring them. You should also ask about the training the agency provides. Look for things such as agency-specific training or continuing education credits. You want to be certain that your senior is getting top-notch, up-to-date care.
Ask for a Written Treatment Plan
It’s important that both sides of this arrangement understand what the agreement is. Ask for a written treatment plan outlining exactly what is expected. Ensure that it outlines care expectations, as well as expectations of your loved one.
It should specify when care will be provided, the patient’s name and other information. It should also include what care will be provided: bathing, medication reminders, transportation, meal preparation, or light housekeeping are examples.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Sometimes you have a question and then think it’s silly or obvious. Even if it seems obvious or silly, ask anyway. You’re looking for someone to take care of your aging relative. You should ask any questions that you need to feel comfortable hiring someone.
It may be helpful to write down all the questions you think of before meeting with any assistance in home care agency. This will ensure that you ask the same questions of everyone. It also helps you remember to ask everything that you’ve thought of. The more questions you ask, the more comfortable you’ll feel with your final choice.
Contact us today for a free care assessment. We’re here to help.