Things to Know in Selecting In Home Caregiving Services

Helping Grandmother Walk

Caregiving for a loved one is a demanding, challenging job and no one is outfitted to do it alone. For many, the challenges of caring for a loved one are part of daily life. If your senior loved one has difficulty living independently, you have options other than a nursing home.

Caregiving for a loved one is a demanding, challenging job and no one is outfitted to do it alone. For many, the challenges of caring for a loved one are part of daily life. If your senior loved one has difficulty living independently, you have options other than a nursing home, assisted living or other senior care facilities. With home care services, your loved one can receive ’round the clock’ or hourly assistance to help them live life according to their needs and on their terms. Even for seniors who only need a little help in their daily living, in home care services may be a good option.

Live-In Home Care

Live-in home caregivers stay for multiple days at a time in the senior’s home. They are expected to provide the senior with full-service, day and night care as needed. Live-in caregivers are able to give their complete attention to sustaining a well-conditioned and positive environment for your loved one. When selecting a live-in home care provider, make sure you choose someone who has enough experience and staff to give senior clients proper safety, care, companionship, and emotional support.

Hourly Home Care

Many elderly people do not need 24-hour or live-in care, and so they use their care providers on an hourly basis. For example, they may need assistance and appropriate care only during the morning evening, on Saturdays and Sundays, or when they visit their doctors or other appointments. With this choice, elderly people can get the appropriate care they need, in the proper place and at the right time.

By obtaining help as required, seniors are able to maintain their normal day-to-day schedules as independently as possible. Thus they can thrive by being in their familiar surroundings, with their own possessions and pets as they are given the help they need.

When searching for an hourly, or “come and go” caregiver, you should look for someone with the same expertise as a live-in home care provider. This includes the agency or the caregiver you may hire. Like a 24-hour or live-in caregiver, the hourly person should also be able to provide safety, emotional support, and companionship to their senior clients. They should also be devoted to the well-being and protection of their clients.

Care Outside Home

During hospital admissions caregivers can also be used for providing companionship and monitoring to your loved one. They may also accompany seniors on vacations or travel to insure their comfort and safety. Now you can have your much needed peace of mind knowing a reliable, professional caregiver is there for your loved one.

Here are some things you may want to consider when preparing to find an agency that will provide quality care to your loved one:

Working with agencies

·         Conduct an in-depth appointment interview with each selection. Screening applicants on the phone should always be followed with a face-to-face personal interview. Initially this interview will be with the agency management, but later you will want to meet their proposed caregiver(s).

·         Be particular of all the tasks, abilities, and daily activities that are required for your situation.

·         Discuss compensation and payment schedules. Do not pay for services in advance. Payment should never be made directly to the caregiver, but instead the agency should issue invoices for payment.

·         Ask for several work and personal reference sources, and then check them thoroughly. Confirm the information provided, and ask all sources about experience, credibility, punctuality and the care provider’s capability to deal with stress and difficult tasks.

·         Demand the highest levels of general and professional liability insurance coverage.

·         Hire only an agency that has properly background checked and credentialed all of their proposed caregivers. Additional credentialing should also include health screenings, drug testing, proper licensing and training.

Be sure to ask the following questions:

·         How are your employees screened?

·         Do you guarantee a compatible “fit” of your proposed person with the client?

·         Is your agency licensed, and by whom?

·         Does your agency have any special accreditations, such as the Joint Commission?

·         Are your proposed personnel payroll employees of your agency, or independent contractors?

·         Can I see a copy of your business insurance coverage’s? Does this include bonding of your employees?

·         Do you require an upfront deposit or length of service commitment?

·         What are the training programs and standards of experience for your personnel?

·         Will you provide specific competency training to meet our unique family needs?

·         How, and by whom, are your personnel supervised? Do you charge for these management services?

·         What are your processes for emergencies or caregiver cancellations?

·         Is your agency licensed and insured to provide medical services as well as basic in home care services?

·         How do you include the extended family in the provision of your services?

·         Does the program offer transportation, meal preparation, laundry and light housekeeping?

·         What is the cost of services? How do you handle invoicing arrangements?

Using these criteria are a great starting point to define the agency and caregiving services that will be required for your situation. Doing this level of homework will protect the client at a critical point in their lives when they need care at home. Doing all these things will allow you to start care with the confidence that you have done your best to select the highest level of care for your loved one. After the start of services, ultimately the real determination about the effectiveness of your decision will come down to the level of the actual care provided in the home, and the relationship that develops with the agency, caregiving staff and the client. This dynamic should be reviewed regularly by the family and adjustments made as necessary to insure continuation of the best possible care for their loved one.

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I’m Jim Flickinger, President CSA, Certified Senior Advisor BrightStar. BrightStar Care of Dupage-Wheaton is committed to delivering the highest quality care we have voluntarily attained accreditation by the Joint Commission which is a nationally recognized quality standards organization with rigorous standards. For more information visit our site at

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