If you see that your loved one needs help with daily activities, you can explore the range of home care services available. Some home care assistants do housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, and shopping. Others provide more hands-on help with bathing, dressing, and transferring from one position to another, which usually requires special training, a license or certification, depending on the laws in your state.
Your local agency on aging can help you identify the appropriate services and connect you with providers. They can also help you determine eligibility for publicly funded services. If you work with a home care agency or hire someone on your own, be sure to ask about licensing, background checks, training and costs. Get references to help ensure good quality.
Here are 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Assistant:
- How do you recruit home health aides, and what are your hiring requirements?
- Do you do criminal background checks on prospective workers? How about drug screening?
- Are health aides certified in CPR, or do they have any health-related training?
- Are the workers insured and bonded through your agency?
- What competencies are expected of the aide? Lifting and transfers? Personal care skills (bathing, dressing, toileting)? Training in behavioral management, cognitive support?
- How do you assess what the aide is capable of doing?
- What is your policy on providing a substitute home healthcare aide in the event a regular care provider cannot perform the services in your contract?
- If there is dissatisfaction with a particular home-care provider, can he or she be replaced “without cause”?
- Does the agency provide a supervisor who is responsible for regularly evaluating the quality of home care?
- Does supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports or in person at the home of the older adult?
Source: Lee Lindquist, M.D. for AARP.
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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