With people living longer, but not necessarily healthier lives, many people are finding they are not equipped to provide care for their aging loved ones all on their own. Whether you are part of the sandwich generation where you find yourself tasked with caring for elderly parents and younger children at the same time, or are just someone whose other responsibilities make it difficult to provide the level of care necessary, you may be looking into home care so your loved one can remain in the comfort of familiar surroundings. Here are just a few important considerations for choosing a home health care provider.
While this is a common tip when looking for any product or service, it is a particularly sound suggestion when looking for home health care providers. The truth is there are lots of good people out there and lots of not so good ones. All the horror stories out there may give you pause in bringing someone in, and getting names from trusted friends, professionals and the like can go a long way in bringing you peace of mind and finding someone good right off the bat. You can also find a list of people from organizations such as the Area Agency on Aging or a hospital social work department, they are not likely to give a specific recommendation, but it can be a good place to get some names.
Know Your Liability
If you are hiring a caregiver privately, it is important you are familiar with your responsibilities, liabilities and the like. You must think about issues such as insurance, worker’s compensation, taxes, back up coverage, training, oversight and background checks. If you hire through an employment agency or a nurse registry, you may be considered the person’s employer, which would make you responsible for things like taxes. If you were to go with a licensed private agency, which would likely be a different story as the person is considered the employee of the agency and not the individual family.
Get to Know Who You are Hiring
If you are working through an agency, there are several questions you would want to ask to get a feel for their process and what to expect when working with them. Are you allowed to interview potential caregivers? If a person is not a good fit, how do they handle replacements? What do they do to ensure accountability and proper coverage for shifts? How are staff supported, supervised and trained? Will the same caregivers be working with your loved one on a continual basis or will there be different staff each time? Check if these agencies are affiliated with organizations such as the Area Agency on Aging, National Private Duty Association or the Alzheimer’s Association. Does management staff have a history with the community? Meeting these criteria demonstrates passion and dedication.
Hiring in-home care may seem like a daunting task, but it is not as hard as it may seem. You simply must educate yourself on the process, know what to look for in an agency and caregiver, and clearly define your needs.