What to Look for in Home Care Providers
It can be difficult to know how to find a high-quality home care provider, whether searching for yourself or a loved one. That’s why GeriCareFinder is here—to guide you through the decision process. What to look for depends in part on what you need. Nursing care services can provide various types of assistance like meal preparation, errands, companionship, housekeeping, as well as support with mobility, safety and medical care.
To narrow down your search, first determine which of these needs are essential for you. Some agencies provide home companion helpers, others provide medical professionals, and some even have both. Also assess how often you will need nursing care visits. Home care can be available once or twice a week or around the clock. Once you have a basic sketch in your mind of your retirement needs, then you can start assessing other qualities that nursing care services have to offer. As you’re making a decision, be sure to assess the agencies as well as the individual caregivers who work for them.
Here are the Home Care qualities to look for:
Credentials: For health and safety, adequate caregiver credentials are critical. At minimum, all caregivers should be screened with a criminal background check, reference check, drug screening and health screening. It’s also best if they have current CPR certification, a Hepatitis B vaccination and blood borne pathogens training. Nursing care agencies should meet all license and verification guidelines required by state law. If you require medical assistance such as physical therapy or prescription drug management, only a qualified health professional should provide it. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Certified Home Health Aids (CHHAs), Registered Nurses (RNs) or Physical Therapists (PTs) are some of the medical professionals who might be working with you, depending on what type of care you need. Even if you don’t need medical assistance, the best services use RNs to conduct assessments and oversee all caregivers.
Reliability: Assistance should be available whenever you need it. Good home care providers should be able to work around your schedule and be on time. If a caregiver is absent for any reason, you should expect a qualified replacement in a timely manner. It’s also best to find an agency that has a low employee turnover rate. This will foster the most consistent care service. Employees who stay longer with the same company tend to enjoy their jobs more and provide better support.
Personal connection: You don’t want someone who is rude, unprofessional or condescending in your home on a regular basis. Who is best for you will depend on your personal
preferences. Ask house care agencies if you can interview and choose the caregivers you prefer. Also ask if it’s possible to change caregivers once they’ve been assigned, just in case one doesn’t work out. Good caregivers are compassionate, patient, professional and hard-working. Ideally they should also be good communicators, creative, and capable of executing sound judgment. With time, they may start feeling like a part of your family.
Financial viability: You may need to consider if a agency’s services are covered under your health insurance and what sort of payment options you have. Use GeriCareFinder’s Support Tools to help you calculate the costs of care. Also check if agencies’ employees are bonded and insured; you won’t want to be responsible if a caregiver is injured in your home.
As you make this important decision, GeriCareFinder will assist you in narrowing down all of your choices. Our online tools and articles are there to help you understand the industry and what is available in your area.