For many, getting their parents to embrace the idea of in-home care is the biggest obstacle. But for others the biggest task is finding the right in-home care provider. With the well-being of your parents in mind, it is important to do some research and make sure you choose a reputable, experienced and caring company. Not all senior care agencies are the same, despite the fact that they must all meet demanding state and Federal standards.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to find good in-home care is to ask friends and family for their recommendations. The Internet is also a good source of reviews and customer comments – both positive and not so positive – and can help you to get a feel for whether a company may be an option or not. Talking to your doctor, social worker or hospital discharge planner can also be beneficial in choosing the right senior care company. Your local Better Business Bureau and Department of Aging can tell you whether any complaints have been made against a specific agency.
Once you have narrowed your search down to several in-home care agencies that seem reliable, your next step is to come up with a list of questions to ask them. Ideally, you’ll want to make a point of visiting their offices, as this will also give you some insight into how efficiently the place is run, as well as the attitude and helpfulness of employees. Although you’ll probably come up with your own questions, you should ask the agency the following: How long have you been in business? Do you have the required bonding, licensing and accreditation? Can you provide references as well as written information about their services offered? Ask to see the results of the most recent inspection by an outside agency, if applicable.
There are also several key questions to ask potential caregivers. You should ask what their training consists of, what their credentials are, and whether the agency carries out background checks and drug tests. Some in-home care agencies, such as Seniors Helping Seniors, also evaluate the personalities of potential caregivers. You may also want to find out whether your elderly parent would have a documented care plan, and whether the patient’s changing needs are evaluated regularly by a nurse or therapist. Of course, communication is also important, and you want to be able to communicate with the senior care provider as well as the agency, and to be kept informed and be assured your concerns are immediately addressed. And because it sometimes happens, you need to know what the agency’s policy is if there just isn’t a good connection between the provider and the patient.
Money is an issue too, when in-home care can cost hundreds of dollars each month. Most agencies charge by the hour, so it’s worth trying to get an idea of how many hours of care your loved one typically needs in a week, or a month. The insurance situation can be confusing, and you need to be reassured that your insurance will cover the senior care provided.
You want the best possible care and attention for your loved one, so be sure to ask the right questions – and to hold out for the right answers. It may take some time, but you’ll feel so much better if your loved one is able to receive care from a well-established and reputable home care provider.