Making the decision to hire a home care service to provide care for your loved one is an important decision and can, at the same time, be very difficult. If an illness or recovery from surgery requires nursing care or physical therapy, a physician may order skilled home care services that provide both skilled providers and personal aides. Your decision is then based on the obvious medical determinations made by the doctor. But what if you as the family caregiver must determine the extent of care needed without the help of a doctor?
Each home care situation is unique. In the beginning, family or friends step in to help with simple tasks and support for aging seniors who want to stay in their homes. As long term care needs progress, more time is required to manage those needs. Physical and mental conditions change with aging making usually routine hygiene and daily living activities difficult for an aging individual. Even with the healthiest of seniors, the ability to drive a car, shop for groceries or do general housekeeping eventually needs to be relinquished to the responsibility of another person.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (http://www.nahc.org/home.html) gives the following guidelines and checklist in searching for a home care company.
- How long has this provider been serving the community?
- Does this provider supply literature explaining its services, eligibility requirements, fees, and funding sources? Many providers furnish their home care clients with a detailed "Patient Bill of Rights" that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the providers, clients, and family caregivers alike.
- How does this provider select and train its employees? Does it protect its workers with written personnel policies and malpractice insurance? Does it protect clients from theft or abuse by bonding its employees?
- Does this provider assign supervisors to oversee the quality of care clients are receiving in their homes? If so, how often do these individuals make visits? Who can the client and his or her family members call with questions or complaints? How does the company follow up on and resolve problems?
- What are the financial procedures of this provider? Does the provider furnish written statements explaining all of the costs and payment plan options associated with home care?
- What procedures does this provider have in place to handle emergencies? Are its caregivers available on notice?
- How does this provider ensure client confidentiality?
If a home care company has not previously been recommended to you, ask for a list of previous clients and call for their experience with this provider.
At Idaho Estate Planning, we understand the challenges faced by elder Americans and their families. We have resources throughout the Treasure Valley, experts in the field of Elder Care. We have the experience and expertise to help you maintain your options and protect yourself as well as your loved ones now and into the future. Remember, good planning is no accident.