Organizations That Help With Finances When Families Loss A Child Elder Care Insights – Choosing an In-Home Health Care Provider

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Elder Care Insights – Choosing an In-Home Health Care Provider

As America’s “baby boomer” generation enters the second half of their lives, we face some heartbreaking choices about how to care for our aging parents. Many families are already struggling to cope with these issues, as they care for their aging parents and raise their children who are staying at home. Stretched to the limits of their physical and personal resources, these families must realize that the time has come to hire an in-home health care provider. If you’re at a loss for where to start, below are some tips to help you assess your needs, as well as those of your loved ones, and make decisions that give everyone peace of mind.

First, decide whether you want to hire a caregiver from a state agency or a private agency. Generally, a state agency is funded by the state in which it operates, and is considered a state subcontractor. Sounds like a private agency. It is independently owned and operated, and its customers are called private paying customers. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Recruiting caregivers from government agencies is subject to standardized practices. Accountability and administrative processes are taken care of in the agency. Private payroll companies are often staffed by a small group of hourly workers. They have their own accountability standards, just like any sole proprietorship. The option you choose may depend on your financial situation. Private payment services are usually very expensive.

Get it in writing: Assess the needs of both the family caregiver and the person for whom care will be provided. Use the worksheet to create an “Agreement for Services” so that it is clear what is expected of the care provider.

Generally, caregivers provide four categories of services (think of the acronym HELP): health care services, emotional care, independent living, and personal care services. Health care services may include managing medical appointments, medications, and physical therapy. Emotional care includes meaningful social activities, hobbies, a creative outlet or a simple companion. Living independently may require a caregiver to run errands, meet transportation needs, do shopping, cooking, cleaning, and other household tasks. Personal care services may include bathing, dressing, and using the toilet.

Both you and your parents should actively participate in the recruitment process. Your loved one may have strong preferences about the type of person he or she wants to hire. Make sure these preferences are clearly expressed in writing. For example, your parent may prefer the other gender, cultural similarity, not smoking, and so on. You may also want to note what kind of cooking, shopping, and housework routines you like.

Get all the information: Many agencies and private payroll companies run background checks on their care workers; However, get all the information available about your loved ones and the person who has full access to their home. Be as thorough as you can be for childcare.

Check in on occasion. By checking in on your loved ones, you are letting the care providers know that they are being monitored. While you may adore the young lady or gentleman taking care of your elderly mother, you may not know who or what has been brought home in your absence.

Recognize the signs of abuse: Isolation from family and friends is one of the first signs of abuse. If you are not allowed uninterrupted access to your family member, or you believe that excuses are being made for your parent’s absence or lack of availability by phone or in person, be sure to take a close look at the situation.

Call for backup: Learn what options are available for last-minute services if a care provider is unavailable. Have backup options ready. Caregivers also sometimes need to call the patient.

Reassess regularly: As health needs and individual preferences change, services should be provided. Establish a pre-set date for periodic review of individual service contracts. This allows for maximum flexibility and gives you the breathing room you need to modify or amend the contract if changes are needed.

Finally, be sure to express your gratitude. You’re hiring a care provider because you either can’t or won’t take on this enormous task. Taking care of your parent’s needs is the greatest gift they can give. Theirs is a great profession, which requires kindness and infinite patience. Be sure you acknowledge their efforts and show your appreciation for a job well done.

Copyright 2005 All rights reserved.

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