Chicago’s Northshore elderly population continues to increase, so there is a growing need for in-home care. It is important that every family does research prior to hiring a home care agency to ensure they choose the best possible fit.
Knowing how long the home care agency has been around is a great place to start. Finding out information on a home care company’s background can give seniors and their family insight into the company. The companies that have been in business for an extended period of time tend to be more competent, proficient and have it all figured out.
Another bit of information one should know before hiring an agency is to understand the agency’s initial assessment process and ongoing Quality Assurance process. Seniors looking to hire a home care agency for the first time may initially feel nervous and uneasy, so it is important the home care agency takes the time to understand the senior’s needs and ease them into the process.
If an elderly person is looking for overnight or 24/7 care, discuss with the agency how they handle situations after office hours. In the case of an emergency, it is important that the home care agency has an on-call line and procedures put into place to handle incidents in a timely and professional manner.
It is imperative that a senior’s care plan is updated regularly, as a senior’s needs are ever changing. A social worker or case manager employed by the home care agency should make regular visits to a client’s home to ensure all needs are being addressed. Things can be added or taken off of a care plan depending on the senior’s condition.
When seniors sign up to use a home care agency, they typically receive a Client Rights and Responsibilities Statement. Signing a written service agreement helps protect both the senior and the agency should anything happen while the senior is receiving care. Additionally, the agreement outlines the terms of agreement for payment.
When using a home care agency, the family should confirm that all caregivers are employed with the agency and are not employed by the client. This means all payroll taxes, insurance and workers compensation are the responsibility of the agency, not the senior and their family. It is also the responsibility of the home care agency to thoroughly screen the caregivers before hiring them. In most cases, caregivers are being sent into a private home, and seniors need to feel comfortable having a caregiver in their home.
In order to be the best, many home care companies provide their caregivers with on-going training to ensure the clients are receiving the best care possible. Since a senior’s needs are ever changing, it is vital that the caregiver’s skill set is broadened as well. Providing extensive and ongoing training for employees of a home care agency is one of the keys to success.