For many seniors, deciding to age in place at home is an easy “no brainer” decision when their health allows them to do so. But when the time comes to choose a home care agency, many families have trouble deciding. Home care is a booming business, with new agencies popping up in every city. How do seniors know which agency to use? What kind of services should families look for when interviewing home care providers? How important is cost?
Questions like these have brought considerable stress upon countless families. Comparing agencies and understanding home care costs might seem overwhelming, but here are a few guidelines that may help.
Compare Value – not Price
A recent survey conducted by researchers at Northwestern University discovered that not all home care agencies employ qualified caregivers. For instance, among the 180 private home care agencies surveyed, none of the agencies assessed their caregivers’ ability to understand medical terminology, and only 15 percent provided their workers with training before sending them to clients’ homes.
Lee Lindquist, MD, lead author of the study, remarked how important it was for families to conduct thorough interviews with potential home care agencies. “Consumers need to be aware that they may not be getting the safe, qualified caregiver they expect.” Asking agencies if they offer a home care system or home care software program like ClearCare is an excellent way to determine the agency’s dedication to high quality care.
Hiring an in-home caregiver through a reputable agency has many advantages, especially when caregivers use ClearCare’s home care system and home care software. As the Northwestern University study shows, not all agencies are created equal. It is up to you – the customer – to spend the time and effort to studiously interview each agency you’re considering. Your questions should focus on how the agency screens their caregivers and what type of home care software and home care system is in place – rather than worrying about the price.
The Cons of “Cheap” Home Care
The Northwestern University study discovered that only one-third of private care agencies performed drug tests. With the prevalence of drug abuse today, this can be risky. “Cheap” home care agencies may cut corners such as this, as well as staffing caregivers that lack the proper training and certifications. Some agencies may go so far as to lie when asked about caregiver certifications, so it is vital for families to perform due diligence when researching home care providers.
Agencies that rely on ClearCare’s home care system and home care software have easy access to each caregiver’s background, training, and certifications. Agency administrators should be able to provide you with this information, as well as references that you can follow up with.
Working with a dependable agency that offers a home care system and home care software program like ClearCare will give you confidence that you’ve made the right decision.