When it comes to hiring a home care service provider, there are many factors you need to consider. The most important factor is whether or not the agency can provide the type of care that your loved one needs.
If you’re just looking for someone who will sit with your loved one and watch TV all day, then any agency might do.
But if you want caring professionals who understand the effects of dementia on an individual’s behavior, then it’s best to choose an agency that specializes in memory care services. Here are some other things to keep in mind when choosing a home care service provider:
It is always better to hire an experienced professional than someone new because they have more knowledge about how best to serve people living with certain conditions.
Knowledge and Skills
A home care service provider should have the knowledge and skills to provide the type of care that your loved one needs. For example, if you need someone who can administer daily injections or give prescribed medication, make sure the agency provides this type of care.
The home care service provider should be able to provide a wide range of different services such as personal care, companionship, transfer assistance, etc. It is important to ask what types of services they offer because depending on your loved one’s condition and preferences in living arrangements, he/she may need certain types of care over others.
If the agency only offers toileting and bathing for instance then this may not meet all of your loved one’s needs and he/she may require an alternative living arrangement.
This is a little more complicated than most people realize because staffing levels can be different depending on the specific state regulations.
In some states, for example, nursing care requires that there is at least 1 caregiver per 5 residents whereas other states such as California only require one caregiver per 8-12 residents.
The reason this matters is because sometimes what you need most from a provider is help with daily tasks such as bathing and toileting and if they have enough staff to provide these types of services then this meets your loved one’s needs.
On the other hand, if your loved one needs more specialized servicessuch as IV medication administration), it may be more important for them to have 1 caregiver per 2-4 residents.
Caregiver Quality and Satisfaction
This is a major factor in determining if your loved one will get the quality of care he/she deserves.
A home care service provider with many satisfied clients can provide you with references, which may make it easier for you to choose an agency. Ask about their caregiver screening process and how they maintain high standards when hiring new caregivers.
Staff Communication Skills
Your loved one’s caregiver should communicate well (be able to clearly explain what they’re doing at any given time). They should also be able to answer any questions that you or your loved one might have about their condition and the services they provide.
Safety and Security
This is a major concern for people who choose home care service providers. It’s important to make sure the agency you choose has strict policies in place when it comes to protecting your loved one’s safety, especially if he/she lives alone or with someone else.
Ask the agency what they do to ensure their clients are safe at all times. Also ask if they have video cameras installed in common areas of their homes to monitor activity at all times.
Be wary of agencies that don’t take many precautions because this could be an indication that something is wrong or not quite right with how they operate.
Your loved one’s caregiver should always be learning new skills through on-going education and training.
A home care service provider with a very small staff or one that never offers caregiver training may not be the best choice for your loved one’s condition(s) because in order to provide quality services caregivers need to have up-to-date knowledge about how best to serve people living with certain conditions.
Ask if they have all of the equipment, supplies, medications, etc., your loved one needs when they are providing their services. Also ask what referrals are available in case he/she needs additional assistance from outside agencies with specialized services like physical therapy or wound care.
It is especially important that your loved one has everything he/she needs when you’re not there (and you’re the primary caregiver).
This refers to how close the agency is located to where your loved one lives. Also, it’s worth mentioning that some agencies have more than one location which might suit you or your loved one better.
Make sure that you know what locations are available before making a final decision about which agency to choose because if their service area isn’t convenient for you then this may not be the best choice for your family.
Find out how much time their administrative staff spends helping clients versus how much time they spend doing clerical tasks such as filing paperwork or keeping track of billing information.
If most of their time is spent on things other than actually providing direct services then this could indicate that they’re not running a good operation. A good agency will have a small administrative staff that does most of its work behind the scenes in order to serve clients better.
You or your loved one should be able to request specific kinds of care from their caregiver(s). For example, if you want them to do certain exercises with your loved one then they should all be willing and able to accommodate this type of request.
This means caregivers treat their clients with respect at all times, understand what’s expected during visits, follow policies and procedures they’ve been given by the home care service provider, etc.
Availability for Emergencies
When making arrangements for home care services it’s best to choose an agency that has 24/7 availability in case of emergencies or when they’re needed outside of their normal hours.
Ask for references and contact information from families who have used their services recently. This is especially important if you want recommendations from former clients because they will typically be more than happy to share details about the care they received and any problems or complaints they had which may help you make a more informed decision about how best to serve your loved one’s needs.
Once you speak with these people ask them questions like
- What type(s) of services did you get?
- How were the caregivers?
- Did anything go wrong during visits?
- Was there ever a time when it was difficult reaching their staff members? If something like this happened would they be willing to let you know on the record?
After your first conversation with these people follow up with a phone call or email asking if they can answer any more questions. This will help you get as much information from them as possible so that making the best choice for your loved one is easy.
These are just some of the things you should find out before hiring a home care service provider to take care of a family member, friend or loved one who needs assistance with daily living activities because being well informed will help ensure that it’s truly the best choice for everyone involved.
The most important factor when choosing a home care service provider is whether or not the agency can provide the type of care your loved one needs. If you’re looking for someone who will sit with your loved one all day and watch TV, then any agency might be okay.
But if you want caring professionals who understand dementia’s effects on behavior, it’s best to choose an agency that specializes in memory care services like ours does. It may cost more than some other agencies but we think it’s worth every penny!