Before you begin interviewing potential homecare agencies, make a detailed list of what you are specifically looking for in a caregiver. Agencies and individual caregivers provide a wide range of assistance with everything from medication management, meal preparation, housecleaning, hygiene care, exercise, transportation, activity planning to medical assistance. Discuss your in-home elder care goals as a family before you look for a suitable agency. Your list, combined with these five considerations, will help you hire the best in-home caregiver for your aging parents and loved ones.
There may be plenty of caregivers to choose from, but are they all certified? Not necessarily. Each state’s Department of Health manages the certification and licensing guidelines for health care workers. All states require certification for nursing aides – but not for caregivers. Ask each homecare agency if their caregivers are certified, and at what level. Keep in mind that “companions” who help with companionship activities may not necessarily be certified, but they could be a good personality fit with your aging parent. Inquire what home care system agencies utilize to track their caregiver's certifications and ensure that they remain up-to-date.
A recent study by The Caregiving Project for Older Adults identified a common misconception that could create problems for families looking for experienced caregivers. Although 78 percent of survey respondents believed that their caregivers had received a recognized level of training, no such training had been completed. Never assume that any caregiver has had formal training unless she is working as a licensed or certified aid or nurse. If you have any doubts, ask.
Nothing speaks louder than the voice of experience. Ask potential caregivers to provide you with a list of references and call each one for their recommendation. Ask detailed questions to get a clear picture of the caregiver’s ethics, work habits, and standard of care.
Linda Fodrini-Johnson, who provides geriatric care consulting says, “The best way to do a caregiver agreement is to do a job description. The new term for our age is transparency, so you want to have transparency in determining a person’s care needs and the specific tasks the caregiver needs to perform.” It eliminates ambiguity and confusion regarding essential care tasks. She adds, “The caregiver’s ability, willingness, and time availability for those tasks must be assessed as well.” This is where a quality homecare system comes in handy, as well as a home care software that allows family caregivers to monitory care plan progress.
Home Care Software
Using an agency that offers ClearCare’s home care software puts you in the best position to monitor your caregiver. ClearCare’s telephony system puts your mind at ease by requiring the caregiver to call the agency as soon as they’ve arrived at the senior’s home. The rest of the software has equally beneficial features that guarantee quality care.
Hiring an in-home caregiver is a decision that should not be made lightly. Remember to give this process the due diligence it deserves.