With Americans aging in record numbers, home care is becoming an ever more popular option for seniors who need intensive health care but would prefer to age on the spot rather than live in a traditional nursing home. If you have a family member who needs help with aspects of daily living but would prefer to stay in his/her home, here are seven questions to ask to help you find the right home caregiver.
1. Do you have a Patient Bill of Rights?
Although it may go by a different name, documentation should be readily available explaining the scope of services, fees, funding sources, eligibility requirements, and any other relevant information to potential clients.
2. How long have you been working?
While new home caregivers need not be shunned, the long history in the field suggests that the organization is doing something right. They should also be able to provide references from satisfied customers.
3. Do you provide medical care as well as personal care and escort services?
In addition to medical services, you may want to find a caregiver who helps with tasks of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grocery shopping, meal preparation, light housekeeping, recreation, conversation, and companionship. This largely depends on the needs and preferences of your loved one.
4. Who are your carers?
Learn as much as you can about the hiring process for nurses and nurse’s assistants with the agency you’re considering. You’ll want to be clear about how you will select, train, and monitor employees. It is also essential that anyone caring for a member of your family undergo a thorough background check.
5. What is the care planning process?
Family and individual members should be involved in this process whenever possible. There should also be mechanisms in place to document the tasks to be performed by the caregiver and to make and communicate changes to the plan of care when necessary.
6. How are problems dealt with?
The agency should have a clear procedure for not only supervising caregivers in the home but also for recording and following up on patient and family questions and complaints. You should also ensure that emergency procedures are explained, readily available, and followed by all caregivers.
7. Are you Medicare Certified and state licensed?
While home care is often a less expensive alternative than facility-based nursing care, most agencies must be set up to accept Medicare, and be able to explain how much care will be covered, and how much it will cost your family — out of pocket. State licensing is critical to any home care agency; You can also check with your state agency to see if the caregiver is in good standing.
If you or a loved one needs intensive health care or assistance with daily living, home care may be a more palatable option than a nursing home facility. These seven questions can help ensure peace of mind when choosing a provider.