After deciding home care is the right option for you or a loved one, the next decision is which home care professional to choose. Phone books or internet searches reveal dozens or hundreds of options, so how do you narrow the field to find the best caregiver?
Independent Contractor or Home Care Agency
One quick way to reduce the list of choices is to decide between hiring a home care agency and hiring an individual to provide care.
On the surface, an individual caregiver may seem appealing. They are often less expensive than home health agencies, a help to families already struggling with high medical bills. However the cost of an independent caregiver doesn’t include all expenses associated with care. The family must calculate and pay payroll taxes. The family may have to pay for a criminal background check. If the caregiver is injured on the job, the family may be responsible for another set of medical expenses.
A home health agency handles the above situations, leaving the family free to focus on caring for the loved one. Agencies can provide backup caregivers in the event additional care is needed or the primary caregiver is sick or on vacation. An agency is familiar with all care a patient might need and can provide caregivers of any skill level.
Whether you are looking for services as involved as home nursing or as straightforward as companionship, the caregiver should have appropriate training and licensing to ensure your loved one receives needed services and is protected in an emergency. Ask about what training and experience the caregiver and the home care agency have had. Confirm the agency performs thorough background checks on their employees.
Medical needs don’t care what time it is. You want a home care agency that is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Verify there is a support system in place to cover for the caregiver in the event of illness or other absence. Ask what the agency can do if you need emergency coverage in the event your loved one suffers an unanticipated setback.
Too many clients overlook the importance of personal compatibility between the caregiver and the patient. These two people will be spending a lot of time together and clashing personalities not only create an unpleasant environment, but can create also stress that can endanger the patient’s health.
A home care agency performs an interview with the family not only to gauge the level and type of service needed, but also to get insight about who the patient is. The agency will try to match patients with compatible caregivers but in the end no one can predict how two people will get along. If there is friction that can’t be resolved, ask the agency for a replacement. This is no reflection on the caregiver’s ability and is common practice in the home care industry. find a caregiver near me