In-home care providers offer a practical option when seniors are no longer able to care for themselves in their own homes. But how do you know if a potential in-home caregiver has the skills to provide the compassionate and competent care you want for your loved one?
In-home care services are individualized because every senior has a different set of needs. While one person may need an hour or two each morning to help with bathing and dressing, another may need round-the-clock medical care. Before you hire an individual or agency to provide services, it’s essential to assess your loves one’s care requirements and desires to determine exactly what help he or she needs.
Effective in-home care providers have the necessary skills to address these needs and are able to forge relationships with the people in their care. Here are five critical questions that can help you decide if a prospective provider has what it takes.
1. How will they provide a capable substitute if they are unable to work on any given day? You need assurance that the caregiver has a backup who can provide the same quality of care.
2. Can they provide references for three clients for whom they have provided care in recent months? It’s a good idea to call the clients or their families to find out if they were pleased with the care provided, and if they have any concerns about the competence of the caregiver.
3. What has been their greatest challenge in caring for elderly clients and how have they dealt with it? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. You are looking for awareness, caring, insight and the ability to solve problems.
4. What is their experience providing the specific services your loved one needs? For example, if the senior needs help toileting or transferring, ask about that. If medication assistance is needed, ask about that.
5. Describe a situation that might affect your loved one and ask how the caregiver would approach it. If the senior is at risk of falling, ask what the caregiver would do. If the senior is reluctant to get out of bed in the morning, ask about the caregiver’s approach.
These questions aim at giving you a sense of an in-home care provider’s ability to take care of your loved one. You will also want to ask about their rates and availability. Find out whether the provider accepts insurance and is bonded and insured. If a license is required to provide the services, you will want to ask for a copy.
According to several recent studies, 90% of older Americans will continue to live in their own homes for the remainder of their lives. As loved ones become less able to attend to their own needs, family members can help make sure they have the quality in-home care they need and deserve.