How Do I Choose Home Care?
Home Care services are beneficial for those who need non-medical assistance to safely stay in their own home, while Home Health Care services provide ongoing medical support. Here, we explore how to choose Home Care.
If you're looking for the professional support of a caregiver so that you or a loved one can continue living at home, Home Care and Home Health Care are options for the immediate future. First of all, it’s important to be aware of the difference between these two in-home care types:
- Home Care services are beneficial for those who need non-medical assistance to continue to live independently.
- Home Health Care services are for those who are recovering from illness or injury and need ongoing medical support.
Please be aware that there will most likely come a time when moving to an Assisted Living or Memory Care Community becomes the essential and practical choice to address these needs; Home Care is often a temporary solution to a long-term need. For now, there are a number of factors to consider when you’re deciding how to choose Home Care.
Let’s take a look at the services often included with Home Care, and the questions you should ask potential providers.
What Questions Should You Ask a Caregiver?
When an individual needs Home Care, the tendency is to rely on family and loved ones, or perhaps even someone without the training necessary who is looking for part-time work. The much better option is to engage the services of a professional caregiver. This will ease the burden on your loved ones, and should ensure you’re getting the right kind of care from a professional who works for a qualified, established agency.
As you consider caregivers in your area, it’s important to remember they’re not screening you, you’re interviewing them. If you find the right services, that means you’ll have more time, independence, and freedom to enjoy your retirement, and your loved ones don’t have to take on the responsibility of being a weekly or daily caregiver.
Questions to Ask Home Care and Home Health Care Providers
Remembering that Home Care is much more focused on support whereas Home Health Care provides certain medically-related services, here are some key questions you should ask when considering potential Home Care or Home Health Care options:
What is the provider’s experience and credibility?
Does the provider have literature or a website that explains its services, fees, funding sources and eligibility requirements?
What type of training does the caregiver have?
Your caregiver(s) should be professionals who are licensed and certified in their particular specialties. They should have passed extensive background checks and should be receiving ongoing training. (Again: this is why professional Home Care is preferable to hiring “your friend’s sister’s cousin” to look in on you or your loved one.) If you need help with something like handling stairs or dressing, you want the person assisting you to be trained and capable of providing suitable Home Care, and medical assistance should be handled by Home Health Care professionals.
Does the provider have a longstanding record and strong history in the community?
Can they provide references? It’s also a good idea to ask your friends, colleagues, and loved ones if they have any recommendations for Home Care or Home Health Care help. Odds are you know someone who has already researched or received Home Care, and they might know the perfect provider for you!
Can they provide specialized health care services?
This is the type of question that’s tailored to the needs of the individual. If you require physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy or other related services, you’ll need to look for a Home Health Care provider. Review our article on what services and activities home care provides.
Does the caregiver have 24/7 availability?
Ask if the staff is on call, 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. If the provider has someone on call around the clock, that means you can rely on them in case of an emergency.
Can the caregiver provide a personalized care plan?
Your Home Care or Home Health Care plan should include input from your doctor and should allow for consistent communication between your doctor and caregiver.
Is the Home Care provider licensed, bonded, and insured?
This question is especially important for Home Care services that don’t require extensive qualifications. The sad reality is that rogue freelance caregivers who aren’t affiliated or screened by professional agencies could take advantage of the situation. Family valuables and heirlooms can’t be replaced. You deserve the peace of mind that comes with having a licensed caregiver in your home. To that end, you’ll also want to make sure the provider has a supervisor who will periodically check in to make sure you’re getting the right quality of care and to address any concerns or questions you have.
Can the Home Care provider assist with activities of daily living (ADLs)?
This includes assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, moving about, or using the restroom, as required. You may also wish to ask about managing tasks around the home, companionship and rehabilitation services.
You can learn more about the benefits that Home Care provides in our article “What are the Top Benefits of Home Care?”
Aging in Place – Pros and Cons
While growing older in your home with the assistance of someone else is an option, it should be weighed heavily. For example, aging in place allows you to stay in a home you’ve likely built memories and experiences in. However, it also means you will need to have professional staff come to you, which, over time, is often more expensive than moving into an Assisted Living Community.
Adult Day Care – Pros and Cons
Another choice for seniors who need supervision and company is Adult Day Care. Programs allow for friendships and the ability to enjoy new activities. However, this type of programming is not specialized, meaning it is not best suited to individuals with specific needs. Instead, moving to an Assisted Living Community is likely to be the right choice.
Consider a Home Care Alternative
If you or your loved one requires daily or even hourly assistance with activities or medical support, Home Care or Home Health Care may be short-term solutions. However, an Assisted Living Community could be a better fit and provide more financial and quality of life value in the long run. Talk with the friendly staff at Referah about finding the right community for you, when you’re ready to consider a long-term solution.