Scenario 1: The hospital calls you at work to tell you that they are ready to send your 92-year-old uncle home tomorrow.
Scenario 2: Your mom takes a nasty fall and is no longer safe at home on her own.
You need to arrange senior care, and you need to do it quickly. But how? Where do you start, and what do you need to know?
If your family is struggling with a senior care crisis, these seven questions will help you select the home care services for your elderly parent that are right for them – and you:
Does the home care services provider specialize in senior care?
Seniors have unique needs. Seniors can have illnesses that are age related and they may respond to medication differently than younger adults. They often take different medications altogether. Seniors require care and treatment that recognize these special needs.
Is the company actually qualified to provide home care services for seniors?
Watch out for companies that use the words “Seniors”, “Elder” or “Nurse” in their name, yet don’t have professionals on staff who have the credentials and experience to provide proper care to older adults.
Does a Registered Nurse meet with and assess the needs of the senior who requires care?
Choose a home health care services provider that arranges a Registered Nurse assessment before assigning a caregiver to provide assistance with the activities of daily living. Only a Registered Nurse has the knowledge to assess a senior’s health, create an appropriate plan of care and select and supervise a skilled and specialized caregiver.
Do the RNs and Personal Support Workers have specialized training in providing care to seniors?
Registered Nurses should have specialized education and experience providing care to the elderly. Staff should participate in continuing education programs that focus on providing quality care to seniors.Beware the children’s Nanny suddenly turned senior caregiver. Older people have significantly different care needs than children. Many companies do not recognize this and will assign caregivers with no special skills, education or experience to care for a senior.
Are the caregivers employees and are they covered by insurance?
Ask if all the caregivers are employees of the company. Caregivers should be qualified, insured and bonded. They should have background checks through the Police. Learn more about the pitfalls of so-called “under the table” care arrangements in this article Lisa Wiseman wrote for the local Toronto newspaper “The Town Crier”
Is there a minimum number of hours per shift?
Some services may offer to provide one or two hour shifts. Be aware that short shifts often lead to caregiver turnover. Good caregivers who can find a more dependable work arrangement will leave. Yet consistency of caregiver is fundamental to quality service. Nobody wants different people in and out of their home at unpredictable times each day of the week.
Who interviews and selects the RNs and caregivers?
Hiring the right staff is the first step in providing quality senior care. The person interviewing applicants should be a healthcare professional with experience interviewing and hiring caregivers – not an office support person. The interviewer needs to understand how the education, skills and attitude of the potential caregiver will affect the well-being of the client.
Consistency provides clients with a sense of security. It also enables caregivers to become familiar with a client’s health so that they can quickly notice changes such as a fever, pain, constipation, or depression and can respond appropriately.
The seven questions above should help put you on the path to choosing the right home care services for seniors. Good luck!
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