Home care for seniors is currently an industry experiencing almost explosive growth, resulting in a multitude of choices for those who are looking for someone to provide elder care for an aging friend or relative. While choice can be good, it is important to make sure that you make the right choice. This leads to a dilemma for most Americans. The average person has little experience in the medical field and is at a disadvantage when trying to evaluate in-home care agencies. How can you make sure that the senior care organization you are considering will deliver services that are safe, reliable, and appropriate?
Hiring and Supervision
One thing to verify is the diligence that a home care agency exercises with regard to hiring and supervising caregivers. It is important to ask questions and get answers that are clear and understandable. If a homecare agency seems to be reluctant to freely disclose information, eliminate it from consideration. You don’t want to trust your loved one to a business that appears anything less than completely trustworthy.
Some of the most important questions to ask are:
* What state certifications do you require from caregivers?
* How do you make sure that employees actually possess the certificates or credentials they claim?
* Do you run a criminal background check on all caregivers prior to hiring them?
* How often do you repeat such background checks for existing employees?
* What additional training and retraining do you require of caregivers?
* Are all caregivers periodically tested to guarantee that important procedures such as first aid and CPR remain mastered?
* How do you supervise your employees?
* Do you conduct periodic announced visits to sites where in-home care is being provided? If so, how often?
* Do you conduct unannounced visits as well? If so, how often?
* How do you deal with an employee who has been discovered providing a substandard level of care
The best elder care agencies will be able to provide you with a consistent caregiver, or at the very least, a team of a few individuals who will work closely with your relative in need of elder care. This is important because senior care in the home environment works best when an atmosphere of trust has been established. Your aging friend or relative does not need the additional stress of greeting a stranger each day, or having someone unknown enter the home premises to provide services that are very personal in nature.
It is therefore vital that the in-home care agency you engage has a stable relationship with its own employees instead of an ever-changing roster of short-term workers. Asking questions about the caregiver staff to see how long the average employee has been engaged is a start towards gaining some peace of mind on this topic, but there are some other issues you can check that will help in this area.
One of the most important is to verify that caregivers are true employees, not independent contractors. Employees receive benefits such as workers’ compensation insurance; this makes them more likely to remain with the agency in the long term.