There’s no question that home care is a valuable service – it enables elderly or disabled loved ones to stay in their own homes and receive the care they need, which can be critical for their health and well-being. But with so many home care providers out there, how do you choose the right one for your family?
Here are some tips to help you make the best decision.
Of course, you want your loved one to receive care from someone with the experience and skills to do an excellent job. So when interviewing home care providers, ask them how long they’ve been in the business.
Be sure that they are licensed to provide the service you need, have any necessary training or certification, are bonded or insured, are ready to take on new clients, and have specific information about the types of cases they typically accept.
Professional Conduct From The Start
You may be able to tell quickly whether a provider’s professional conduct is up front and honest by observing how they present themselves during their initial interview.
They should be cordial but not overly friendly tactful in discussing potential needs, but not too pushy about offering services. They will also want to understand your loved one’s needs and preferences, whether they are safe living alone, what support they may need with daily activities like getting dressed or bathing, etc.
The Right Home Care Services For Your Loved One
After you’ve interviewed several home care providers and chosen the ones who seem best suited for your family, be sure that their services include everything you think is needed – including the number of hours per week that may be all that’s required in some cases, up to 24/7 live-in care if necessary.
Be clear about the things you don’t want provided (like cooking meals or driving), as well as the things you do need (like assistance with medications, getting in and out of bed, housekeeping, etc.).
Personalized Care Plans
Your loved one is unique so it’s important that their care plan reflects his or her individual needs. That’s why the best home care providers have customized plans for each client they serve.
They can explain exactly what they provide and how this may change over time depending on your loved one’s condition. The provider should also invite you to contact them anytime if you have questions about any aspect of your loved one’s care.
Respect For Your Loved One As An Individual With Unique Needs
Of course, the key to providing quality home care is respecting the needs and feelings of your loved one.
He or she deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, whether they are able to speak for themselves or not.
A good provider will make every effort to communicate clearly with you about how your loved one is doing what they can do, and what they cannot.
A Good Fit With Your Loved One’s Lifestyle
It’s important that your loved one feels comfortable around their home care providers – especially if they provide live-in support during the day (or night).
For example, if your loved one has pets, does he or she enjoy having them around? Does the provider like pets? Or would it be better for everyone concerned if pet visits were kept to a minimum?
Obviously, you want the person providing care for your family member to have a loving and nurturing attitude toward them – but there are other things about this person that also need to work well for your family member.
Flexibility In Changing Circumstances
Families caring for their loved ones at home may go through periods of heightened stress and emotional highs and lows. It’s important to find a provider who is flexible enough to accommodate these changes without requiring too much advance notice or giving you all the reasons why they can’t work with you right now.
The Ability To Communicate Clearly With You And Your Loved One
Home care providers should be able to communicate clearly with your family member, even if he or she doesn’t speak English as their first language, has dementia , or some other condition that affects their ability to speak.
They should also be patient in explaining what they do and how this might impact your loved one – especially when it comes to any medications they administer.
The Ability To Be On Time, Thorough And Reliable
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to find a home care provider who can be on time for their visits and reliable in following through with the things they say they will do. Their ability to prioritize your loved one’s needs among all of their other clients is also an important consideration.
Flexibility In Working With You As Your Loved One’s Needs Change
Home care providers should be open to discussing various levels of care that may be appropriate for your loved one at different times and stages in his or her life (like when he or she first needs help getting out of bed versus total assistance with all activities).
They ought to also be able to suggest modifications or additions to their care plans that may help provide for your loved one’s changing needs.
The Ability To Assist With Personal Care And Hygiene
Home care providers should be able and willing to assist your loved one with personal hygiene and grooming, as well as practical things like getting dressed and putting on shoes and socks (especially if he or she can no longer do these activities independently).
A Willingness To Accept Feedback, Suggestions And Feedback
Your home care provider should welcome feedback from you about what is working well in service provision, doors that need locks replaced, ways they could make the house more accessible for your loved one etc., as well as negative feedback when necessary (e.g., if they are late, or don’t follow through with their tasks or responsibilities).
The Ability To Housetrain Your Pets If Needed
If your loved one has pets in the home, does his or her caregiver need to make sure the animals are confined before they arrive for care? It may be helpful to work together on a plan that ensures everyone stays safe and happy during the day.
An Understanding That Providing Personal Care Doesn’t Mean Sexually Touching Your Loved One
Your loved one is entitled to respect no matter what state he or she might be in physically when it comes to being touched inappropriately by someone else who cares for them at home. It’s important to tell home care providers what you expect of them in this regard, even if your loved one can no longer speak for himself or herself.
A Willingness To Accept All The Personal Data You Are Willing To Share
If you are considering hiring an agency to provide caregiving services, they should be open and willing to work with you on discussing the kinds of information that would need to be shared about your loved one – including any diagnoses that have been made, medications he or she is currently taking, personal preferences/likes/dislikes etc.
This kind of ongoing conversation can help improve the quality of service provision over time and minimize misunderstandings down the road.
The Ability And Desire To Work With Your Family, Friends And Other Relatives
Having to rely on home care services can be a stressful and emotional experience for many people – especially for those who are used to providing their own care or having more control over the kinds of support they receive (or don’t).
It’s important to find someone who is willing to work with you and other family members, friends or neighbors who might want/need to participate in your loved one’s day-to-day life.
A Clear Understanding Of What You Are Entitled To Expect From Your Caregiver As Far As Insurance, License Or Certification Are Concerned
Don’t assume that being part of an agency means each caregiver will be insured and licensed, or that they will have passed any sort of certification with the applicable state/provincial licensing board.
It’s important to ask questions and get clear answers about what you can expect from the agency in terms of insurance coverage for their personnel (both while on your property and when taking them out in public), as well as what type of qualifications and training each caregiver has had to be able to do their job effectively.
The Ability To Meet Your Loved One’s Needs Any Time Of The Day Or Night
Your loved one may need care during times other than normal business hours – which means it is essential for caregivers at home care agencies to understand this and be flexible enough in scheduling arrangements so that you know you can depend on them to be there when necessary.
A Desire To Provide Assistance When You Are Ready To Have An Outside Party Help Out With Personal Care (e.g., The Ability To Assist Your Loved One In And Out Of Bed When They Are Having Difficulty Moving Around)
A Promise Not To Discriminate Against Your Loved One Or Talk Behind His/Her Back Based On Age, Race, Ethnicity, Gender Identity Or Sexual Orientation
“A good home care provider will come to your loved one’s home, assess their needs and work with them on a plan for how they can continue living in the comfort of their own space.
It all depends on what you need from a service like this – but hopefully these tips have helped get you started! What are some other considerations when choosing a quality home care provider? Let us know below or by contacting our team at [email protected] today. We’re here to help!”