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Choosing a Home Care Provider

In home caregiver and elderly gentleman potting plants outdoors

“I just want to stay in my own home.”

Are you thinking about choosing a home care provider for your loved one?

According to AARP, more than 90 percent of older adults choose to age in their own homes. This makes sense, as changing living arrangements can create anxiety at any age.

Instead of going to a facility to have their needs met, an elder can remain in the comfort of their home and experience minimal disruption in his or her everyday life.

The significance of fully engaging the senior receiving the assistance cannot be overlooked. Put yourself in your elderly loved one’s shoes and ask yourself whether you would prefer accepting help where you have no say in the matter.

Choosing the right provider is important. Without the right blend of experience and skills, your loved one won’t get the best care available. Let’s get started with a few tips to help you in choosing a home care provider.

Understand your loved one’s needs:

  • Make a list of your loved one’s needs. This should include their self-care daily needs: bathing, dressing, grooming, walking, eating, and toileting, as well as their instrumental daily needs: housekeeping, laundry, home care chores, shopping, meal preparation, and medication management.

  • Do they need a home care provider who speaks their native language?

Develop a Care Plan:

  • Set out your loved one’s schedule, including their routines, medications, and the instructions for taking them, mealtimes, and favorite games and leisure activities. Include everything your loved one does on a certain day.

  • In addition, have an emergency document that contains your phone number, the doctor’s phone number, local emergency facility information, and the Life Alert hotline.

Conduct interviews before choosing a home care provider:

  • It is essential to find the right fit for your family. Because home care workers will be an integral part of the day-to-day life of your loved one, it is wise to consider carefully who will be allowed into your home.

  • Does the agency require background checks for all care workers employed? Most states require this.

  • What credentials does the agency require of its care workers? If your loved one needs a level of nursing care, in-home health care workers should have nursing credentials and experience to handle the needs of your loved one. On the other hand, the agency may also provide in-home care workers who perform work such as light meal preparation, general cleaning, and companionship. These workers must meet different criteria than nursing staff must meet. Whatever the level of care needed, it is wise to check the agency’s policy regarding credentials for each type and worker and each level of care.

In home caregiver brining food to an elderly person

  • What type of quality assurance measures does the agency take? An agency that invests in ongoing employee training and regularly reviews employee performance is likely to provide superior service.

  • Will the same care workers be consistently assigned to work with your loved one? It is good to find an agency that will assign specific workers to your loved one’s case. In this way, your senior can get to know the workers and be more comfortable with them. An additional benefit to having the same workers assigned to the case is that in-home care workers who get to know your senior well can spot potential changes in the health of your loved one and alert you to any areas of concern quickly.

  • Look for references and recommendations. You can get recommendations by talking to trusted professionals or community members. Your loved one’s doctor, lawyer, financial advisor, friends, and family members may be familiar or have experience with local agencies as well.

  • Speak with the care providers. Once you have explored a specific agency, consider speaking with their home health care staff. In the process, you can directly ask anything you need to know regarding their operations. Examine whether they are informed, competent, attentive, and truly engaged in learning about your loved one’s needs as you talk with them. Furthermore, ask how they evaluate a patient’s situation and develop plans.

  • Towards the end of the interview, find out if they charge by the hour or by shift and how much services will cost. Also, find out about holiday availability and if there are any extra fees involved.

  • Many agencies also have time minimums for care, which is around two to four hours. If you only need someone to help provide transportation to doctor appointments or to get groceries, be aware that you may be subject to this time minimum when it comes to payment. You may also need to decide if the caregiver needs to bring their meals during visits or if you will provide them.

Finding the best home care provider is a big decision. Take your time, do your research, and be sure to trust your instincts. Once you’ve made your decision, you will have peace of mind knowing that your loved one will be well cared for and safe in their own home. At REACH Home Care, we are flexible, understanding, and ready to serve. Contact us today and let us know how we can help.

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