Home Care – We understand that budget is a primary consideration when you are making arrangements for home care. We also know that you want the best for your loved ones. Let us help a little bit. Here a list of things to consider when you’re shopping around:
Before you make your first phone call, thoroughly consider your needs in a caregiver:
- Do you need a companion, or someone who can provide hands-on care, such as assisting with bathing, dressing, helping you move around, etc.?
- Do you need assistance with cooking and light housework?
- Do you need a caregiver who can drive you to doctor appointments or social events?
- Do you need a caregiver who is specially trained to work with patients with a memory loss diagnosis, such as Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia?
- Do you need a caregiver with special training in fall prevention or hospice care?
- Do you need a caregiver who speaks a particular language?
- Do you need skilled medical assistance to take vital signs, do blood sugar testing, medication administration, wound care or tube/drain/bag maintenance?
To protect yourself and your loved ones, ask questions. Get the facts about the agency and caregivers:
- What levels of care are available? Are they licensed for medical care or only companion care services?
- If a worker is injured in your home, will they be covered by the agency’s workers comp insurance?
- Are their caregivers supervised by an RN? Does a nurse conduct an initial assessment before starting each case?
- Are their caregivers licensed, insured, and bonded?
- Are they tested for drug use or given Federal background and driving tests?
- Are they independent contractors? Do they take care of paying taxes and withholdings for the caregiver, or will you have to do that?
- If there is a personality conflict or other problem with a worker, can a change be made? How would that be handled?
- What are their rates? Will you have to commit to a minimum number of hours each day/week/month?
- What happens if a caregiver calls in sick orhas an emergency? Will they send another caregiver of equal skill and experience?
- Can you interview the caregiver before you commit to using their agency? Do they check references, and can you get details of the caregiver’s experience and background? Can you get someone who has worked with patients with similar needs?
- What happens in case of an emergency? Can their caregiver provide hands-on help, such as CPR?
- Before a new caregiver starts, write out a basic daily and weekly schedule for the patient. Be sure to include a list of likes and dislikes, with respect to both foods and activities. This will make the transition much easier and less stressful for the patient, and will help the caregiver get up to speed quickly.
- Remember that you are the customer. Do not hesitate to express your needs and give feedback, especially if you are dissatisfied or worried. The matching of a caregiver to a patient is as much an art as a science, and clear, constructive feedback will help everyone.
- A note on 24-hour care: Live-in caregivers are often more convenient and cost-effective than utilizing multiple workers in 12-hour shifts. However, live-ins do require some time off and private space for meals, sleeping, and grooming, while 12-hour workers do not sleep while on duty. If the patient requires lots of attention during the night, 12-hour shifts or an additional overnight caregiver may be the right solution ~