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Be Very Careful When Choosing a Caregiver Agency
Frank Blood
/ Categories: Organizing, Safety

Be Very Careful When Choosing a Caregiver Agency

Ignorance or faulty logic can cost you – big time.

I’ve heard it argued, “All state-licensed home care agencies are the same, right? They all perform the same tasks, don’t they? They get their caregivers from the same labor pool, don’t they? Any of them will send me a different employee if I don’t like the first one. So, since they are just a commodity, there’s no reason I should waste time with details or spend more on one agency than another.”  

All agencies are not the same. Even among the top providers, each tends to work with different types of clients and conditions; so, their caregivers may not have as much familiarity with your mom’s specific needs as another agency’s employees might. Opposite the best, are licensed agencies that fail to monitor their caregivers and don’t respond when you need them. Their prices are typically cheaper than most but abuse, including neglect and theft, is much more frequent.

Mom’s safety is at stake. Don’t let anyone into your home without thoroughly vetting them and the agency they work for. It isn’t as difficult as you may imagine and if you follow a few simple guidelines, you’ll have the best chance of finding someone with the skills and personality that fits with your family’s requirements and desires. After all, they will become part of your family and your mom will become part of theirs. When you trust your caregiver, you go to work stress-free and confident; which lets you focus on your job.

 

First Things First

Once you’ve decided what kinds of services you need and how to cover their costs, you’ll need to obtain names of agencies in your area. Here are a few places that will get you started:

  • Local Area Agency on Aging – In Illinois click here for services search
  • Medicare search
  • Google search “in-home care”
  • Ask your primary care provider for a referral
  • Ask friends for a referral

 

The next step is to disqualify those on your list that don’t provide your basic requirements; for example:

  • Are they licensed and bonded?
  • Do they accept Medicare, Medicaid or your insurance if you have benefits?
  • Are the agency and caregiver fluent in the language you use at home?
  • Do they provide the services you need (cooking, cleaning, transportation etc.)?
  • How soon will you get a substitute if the regular caregiver fails to show up?

 

Due Diligence

Here is where the difference between just OK and great care is determined. Interview them and listen carefully for incomplete or non-responsive answers. Trust your instincts and if you aren’t fully satisfied with their answers, cross them off your list.

Does the agency:

  • Make their own assessment of needs and discuss their findings with you before assigning a caregiver?
  • Have a process in place for reassessment and how often will they do it?
  • Certify the caregiver and require that they participate in continuing education?
  • Supervise the caregiver and are they open about how they evaluate performance?

 

Is the caregiver:

  • Trained by the agency and what experience do they have relative to your needs?
  • A regular employee and how long have they been with them?
  • Physically able to do all the work, including safely transferring your mom?
  • Familiar with the types of conditions or special behaviors of your mom?

 

It Doesn’t End Here

This article is meant to create awareness that all home care services are not the same and help you understand some differences. In addition, each person places different values on various services that are available; a one-size-fits-all agency doesn’t exist. You can’t know ahead of time if the agency you’ve chosen is the right one for you. Only time will tell how well your family and the caregiver fit together.

Trust but verify. No matter how well your relationship appears to be going, monitor everything as if Mom’s life depends on it. It does. Keep in mind that this is primarily a business partnership and treat it that way.

For more in-depth information about choosing a home care company, check out these resources.

Medicare.gov Home Health Compare

Family Caregiver Alliance: Hiring In-Home Help

Caregiver Harbor: Agency Care vs Private Care

AARP.org: Caregiver Checklist Choosing an Agency for In-Home Care

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2 comments on article "Be Very Careful When Choosing a Caregiver Agency"

Jasper Whiteside

The article uses the term "due diligence" which I understand to mean following the proper process. I like the advice to pay attention to incomplete answers. This can give you a good sense about the caregiver. I would hope to hire a caregiver or caregiver agency that can become friends with my loved ones and help them enjoy themselves. http://www.allcarehawaii.com/#!our-care-services/c1sv8


laustan

Homecare administrations are an incredible alternative for people who require medicinal consideration or even non-therapeutic help with day by day exercises, yet would rather get this care in their home. Parental figures are frequently accessible on an as-required premise, with no hourly least. These administrations are most useful when a family guardian can't or inaccessible to help with the patient's needs.

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