Making the decision to bring in home care assistance for your aging parents, or another loved one is a brave step to make, for both the patient and the family member who advocates for them. Sometimes, it is hard to acknowledge that your parents or loved one is not equipped for the same level of independence that they have had their entire adult lives. Entrusting your loved one’s comfort, health, and well-being in a home care service can be scary and intimidating.
To help you make that first terrifying step, we put together six tips for looking for good home care resources for an aging loved one.
- Get reviews from other people who have already taken this journey.
Work with your parents’ doctors to identify a home care provider that best meets their needs. Talk to other friends who have already made this decision and have found home health care services that they are happy with. If your loved one is involved in any local senior citizen communities, this a great place to find a wealth of resources and reviews on popular home care providers. Otherwise, online resources or even talking to social workers who specialize in eldercare are good ways to get references for reliable home health agencies.
- Understand your responsibilities.
The type of home health care services that you use will determine your liability. For example, if you hire a caregiver privately, you may find greater flexibility choosing who actually takes care of your loved one and setting a schedule for care, however if you are considered their employer, you will be responsible for their taxes, insurance, Worker’s Compensation, and background checks. On the other hand, if you utilize a licensed home health agency, these requirements are included in the fees that you or your insurance provider pays. Understanding your liability and responsibility for the home care provider you choose will help you make a decision that best meets your family’s needs.
- Look into training and support of the caregiver.
Even if the home health agency’s policies align with your needs, the most important factor is the actual human taking care of your loved one. Make sure that you are comfortable with the background checks an agency conducts before hiring a caregiver, the education or experience they are required to have, and the training and ongoing support they receive to help equip them for caring for your loved one, especially if they patient has conditions that require special treatment, such as dementia.
- Research the monitoring and communication of the home care provider.
Each home care agency has varying levels of oversight and ease of communication with the caregivers actually taking care of your loved ones. Make sure to consider how hard it is to monitor the care your loved one is getting, and which channels you can communicate with the caregiver and agency if an issue arises.
- Get to know the caregivers.
Before’s hiring agency, flesh out the process that is used to assign a caregiver to a patient:
- Some home care agencies allow you to interview caregivers yourself, to make sure that they are a good fit for your loved one.
- Consider your comfort level with the process for replacing the caregiver if you find that they are not a good fit for your loved one.
- Make sure that you are comfortable with the accountability that the caregivers are held to.
- Ask about continuity of care giving staff. Some agencies give caregivers long-term assignments and some rotate staff. Some patients do not do well when the staff is rotated and the routine is disrupted.
- Consider the community involvement of the home care agency.
Many home health agencies participate in local and national groups that pertain to elderly care, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Association of Retired Persons, the Area Agency for Aging. The home care providers’s involvement in such groups is an indicator that they are passionate about giving elderly people the best care possible. It shows their commitment and empathy towards elderly people, which could give you more confidence in entrusting the care of your loved one.
Do you have any other tips for finding a good home care provider for loved one? Please share below!