Families have lots of questions and concerns when considering hiring caretakers to look after the health of a loved one. Deciding when is the right time to in-home care for seniors or a disabled family member can be difficult, but finding the right agency to provide reliable nursing and domestic care can prove to be even more challenging.
Luckily, there are many options and resources available to help make the selection process easier and facilitate the transition to in-home assistance. In order to choose the best assisted living agency for your loved one, start by defining his or her particular needs, get recommendations, compare service providers, ask the tough questions and, finally, evaluate the agency once it has been selected.
Why Trust an Agency for In-Home Care?
Caregiving is an important job and finding the right fit to ensure the health and safety of an elderly or handicapped family member, while helping them live comfortably at home, can make this a sensitive time. Though some families prefer to hire a private caregiver directly, relying on an agency can ease the stress and alleviate some of the worries associated with hiring in-home care.
A fully licensed assisted living agency offers a wider range of services and more protections as employers of health aides. These businesses take on the responsibility of screening workers through background checks and relevant experience in other nursing or healthcare-related roles. Usually, they are able to assign a caregiver with experience with a particular disability or condition and provide aides who have more training as your elderly or disabled family member’s needs change or increase.
Agencies also take care of the many complications of employing personnel. Nursing care companies promptly provide substitute aides when necessary, manage all of the paperwork and liability insurance for the caretaker employed, plus they handle any other concerns or complaints that may come up.
Outline Your Specific Needs
Before beginning the search for a reliable in-home care agency, take the time to sit down and list the individual requirements, restrictions and doctor’s recommendations. The first thing the care agency staff should do is an assessment of the senior or disabled patient, but it’s good to discuss your family’s particular expectations related to nursing and domestic care beforehand.
In addition to nursing care or physical therapy, your loved one may need help with bathing, meal preparation, housework and errands if he or she has limited mobility. It’s also important to note if a caregiver will need to understand a language other than English.
This is also a good time to discuss insurance. Find out what types of long-term health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid coverage are applicable and if there are any particular requirements for in-home care to qualify for insurance coverage. Some policies require confirmation from a doctor that regular nursing or medical care is necessary, for example.
The next step is to ask trustworthy professionals in your community for referrals. Your parent or loved one’s doctor, rehab discharge planner or local senior centers, social workers, hospital resources department and organizations – like the Alzheimer’s Association – are all good places to start.
A reliable resource, even if this person does not have Medicare coverage, is the Medicare Directory for Home Health Agencies where you can easily compare nursing providers nearby and contact them to schedule a consultation.
Accessibility Services & Mobility Products
If your elderly or disabled loved one also needs safety modifications, home remodeling, a scooter or car lift to make living at home possible, Sage Mobility provides a wide range of mobility solutions.
Compare the In-Home Care Agency in Your Area
Based on recommendations for domestic healthcare service providers in your area, choose a few to screen in order to find the agency that fits your family’s needs best. This may be difficult to do if the need for in-home assistance arises without a lot of warning, but these details can be discussed at any point.
Top priorities when selecting a reputable agency include Medicare or Medicaid certification, required background checks and special training for caregivers, as well as a 24-hour phone line providing assistance in case of emergency. It’s important to understand up front how the agency will assess and supervise the care plan and any changes to the level of care needed in the future.
You will also want to discuss insurance coverage, the billing process and payment plan options. Get all of the details about additional fees for weekends or holidays, extra costs for medical equipment needed and deposits that may not be included in the estimate to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.
Ask the Right Questions
Here are some of the main questions you will want to ask when screening potential in-home care businesses:
- What experience, certification or continued education is required for the staff?
- Are aides trained to identify more serious medical situations or changes in health conditions?
- Is a medical professional involved in determining the appropriate care plan and supervising the care provided? Does regular supervision include visits in home?
- What services can be provided in terms of transportation, administering medication, bathing and personal care, housework or cooking?
- Is it possible to interview caretakers or give input to help find the right fit?
- How does the agency manage the assignment of caregivers, replacement or substitution of aides when necessary, and maintain continuity of care?
- How will the agency communicate schedule changes to the person in their care and with his or her family?
Regulations standardize assisted living services, but their answers to these questions will help you find the best option available in your area.
Regularly Evaluate the In-Home Care
Check in periodically with your parent or loved one and ask about the care provided by the agency. Be sure that caretakers are assisting in the ways initially agreed upon and that the level of care continues to be appropriate for his/her needs. It’s important to reevaluate the agency whenever there are significant changes in the services required to keep your loved one comfortable.
Speak with an In-Home Care Specialist Today
If you’re in the process of searching for an in-home nurse for your parent or loved one, we are happy to refer you to our sister company Relative Care Advance Home Health. Relative Care provides a variety of in-home care, nursing, and rehabilitation services. You can find more information by viewing the website or calling (610) 269-2935