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Getting Started with Home Care
Did you notice some changes in your parents or older loved one's health while you were home visiting for the holidays? Maybe you discussed some of your concerns with your family, and they are open to the idea of having some extra help around the house.  Now what?  Getting started with home care services can be a daunting task with the uncertainty of where to start, who to call, and where to even look for resources.  In this post, we outline our typical process, and give some pointers on questions you should be asking companies as you do your due diligence.

Step 1: Make the Call
Call and tell us more about your specific situation. We will ask questions about your concerns, ask for information on the overall health of your loved one, and give you information on our services and company.  Our call will determine how we could best help you, whether that is with non-medical care, or a consultation with a Geriatric Care Advocate. If we are able to determine on the phone that your loved one’s needs are at a higher level than what we can serve, we can give you some resources to call and point you in the right direction for care. During your initial call, be sure to ask companies about the following:
  • Source of payment: Is the company private-pay, or is health insurance accepted?
  • How are employees screened? This is a very important question to ask! Many companies contract with 1099 employees, which means that their caregivers are not actually employed by them, and could indicate a separate screening process.  It is important to understand the process.  At Happier at Home, all of our caregivers are employed by us, and go through phone screening and in-person interviews, personal and professional reference checks, criminal background checks, drug screenings, motor vehicle record checks, and orientation.
  • Do you carry liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, disability insurance and bonding? This is also very important. Sometimes families choose to hire private caregivers. However, there is a great risk in hiring private caregivers, as the majority of caregivers do not carry insurances and are not bonded.  If the private caregiver were ever hurt in the client’s home, they could sue the home owner’s insurance.  In the same vain, for agencies who contract with 1099 caregivers, it is the responsibility of the contracted person to carry their own insurance, not the agency’s responsibility, so a similar risk could be assumed.
  • What are the minimum required hours per shift? Happier at Home only has a one hour minimum per shift. However, most other agencies have a minimum requirement of at least three hours per shift, and often require a certain number of days per week. Make sure you are clear on this requirement prior to starting care.
Step 2: An Assessment is Completed
If you decide that you would like to move forward with learning more about home care options, an assessment is set-up.  This can be done at your loved one’s home, or in the hospital or rehab center prior to discharge. We will learn about your loved one’s lifestyle, medical conditions and the kind of assistance that is needed to attain their goals. Topics covered include:
  • How caregivers can help to enrich your loved one’s life
  • Ambulation/balance and how it might be improved
  • Health and medication issues
  • Home cleaning concerns
  • Transportation needs
  • Costs of services
  • Possibilities of coverage by long-term care insurance or Veterans Benefits
Step 3: The Care Plan is Created
The care plan is a customized care map to meet your loved one’s needs. We will work with you to determine a schedule that fits with your loved one’s needs and lifestyle.

Step 4: The Best Caregiver is Assigned.
During the assessment we ask questions about the type of personality traits your loved one would enjoy being around, and we will match the best caregiver based on the feedback we are given.  We keep the same caregiver with the same client, so a relationship can be developed.

Some questions to ask companies as you are doing your due diligence are:
  • Will the same caregiver be assigned each visit?
  • What happens if a caregiver calls in sick?
  • What happens if the caregiver isn’t a good fit?
Step 5: Begin Care
A caregiver will be introduced to your loved one at the first visit. The caregiver receives all details of the care plan prior to the start date, so they have ample opportunity to ask questions prior to the first visit.

Step 6: Ongoing Communication
The communication doesn’t stop once care begins, in fact, it’s just the beginning! We empower and encourage our team to stay in close communication with us, and let us know if they notice any decline, or changes in health of our clients.  They give us valuable feedback that we pass along to the family members of our loved ones, for example, if grab bars may be helpful around the bathroom, or if a shower chair is needed.
Our mission is to provide respect, compassion and independence, so we can help your loved ones maintain their goal of living happier in their home. The process of researching and starting home care doesn’t have to be daunting. Please give us a call, we’d be happy to discuss each step in greater detail and answer any questions you have!
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