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Hiring in-home elderly care for yourself or a senior loved one can feel anxiety-provoking – especially if you’ve had a poor experience with a caregiver in the past.
Although choosing a home caregiver sometimes feels overwhelming, doing so can also be one of the most rewarding decisions you make for yourself or your loved one. This article neatly compiles what our team wishes everyone knew before hiring an in-home caregiver for themselves or their elderly loved one.
Before we begin, if you are struggling to find the right caregiver, don’t worry! This is totally normal.
Few people are adequately educated on how to look for the perfect in-home caregiver for themselves or their loved ones. Even fewer people are trained to identify possible red flags that could arise after having hired someone to provide them with care.
We’ve created this list of exclusive tips to help you know what to look for in a person providing care, what you ought to avoid when hiring a caregiver, and how to dodge any unnecessary agency fees.
A quick note before we begin: If you or someone you know is looking for home care, be sure to share our article with them – it might just be the difference between them finding the right or wrong caregiver.
1. What to Look for in a Caregiver
Not every home health aide, CNA, or caregiver is the same. Caregivers vary in expertise, personality traits, qualifications, and skills. Some caregivers’ strengths may lie in their hospital expertise, while others are incredible at providing companionship care and emotional support.
It can be challenging to find a caregiver with a personality and skill set that matches you or your loved one’s needs perfectly (and your budget) but it’s also completely possible!
When you are hiring a caregiver, remember that you are also going to be entering a mutually-beneficial relationship with this person. Great relationships take communication, connection, honesty, trust, and skill. When hiring caregivers to work at Like Family Personal Care, we require a certain combination of invaluable traits and skills that are sure to satisfy each of our clients. If you are in the process of hiring an independent caregiver, we suggest you look for the following traits in your potential care provider:
- Honesty: Your ideal caregiver should be transparent about care, costs, and plans. They should alarm you if anything of importance should arise when providing care services. If they are concerned about something, they should be honest about it and voice it to you immediately.
- Compassion: Does your potential caregiver show empathy, compassion, and kindness – even when they aren’t caring for you or your loved one? If so, they might just be a great fit.
- Patience: Your ideal in-home caregiver should display patience while caring for you or your loved one. Patience is an invaluable trait in caregiving and the field of healthcare.
- Problem-Solving Skills: If your caregiver experiences an issue while caring for you and your loved one, do they give up right away or give it their best shot of solving the issue for you?
- Passionate: We might be biased, but the best in-home personal caregivers are passionate about their career and love helping those in need!
- Attentiveness: If your current or potential caregiver gives the person they are caring for their undivided attention, this is a massive sign of an exceptional caregiver.
- Reliability: Reliability is one of the most important qualities for a caregiver to have. Make sure that your caregiver always shows up to their shift on time, and if they are late, make sure that they communicate with you properly and respectfully. Everyone makes mistakes, but if someone is consistently late, doesn’t show up to provide care, or repeatedly exhibits poor care-taking practices, it may be smart to hire someone else.
- Expertise/Skill Set: Your perfect in-home caregiver should possess the expertise and skill set necessary to provide you with exceptional, knowledgeable, and informed care.
- Excellent Communication: Excellent communication is vital in any relationship, including a caregiving relationship. Your caregiver ought to be able to showcase healthy and effective communication skills when discussing care-related matters.
- Professionalism: Is your caregiver respectful? Do they follow their company protocols, and possess personal boundaries?
By knowing what personality traits to look for in a home caregiver, you may find it easier to spot red flags in a caregiver’s character (should they arise). Overall, remember that certain qualities can be taught, while others can’t. Kindness, honesty, and a genuine passion for caregiving are certainly some of those innate qualities! Aside from personality traits, we also suggest you ask your caregiver certain questions upon initially meeting with them.
Key questions to ask your potential caregiver:
- What are the caregiver’s credentials? Once the aide answers, check with the credentialing body to confirm whether or not their answer is correct.
- Where has the aide worked previously? Be sure to ask for at least two to three references from former or current employers. Most of all, make sure to contact the references to inquire about the caregiver’s reliability, honesty, expertise, and attentiveness.
- Do you have experience caring for seniors, or people with your specific condition(s)?
At LFPC, we only hire thoroughly-experienced personal caregivers who are credentialed, have the thorough experience in caring for people with various health conditions, and genuinely love caring for others. We are extra-picky about our team members’ personalities and qualifications so that our clients can rest assured they are getting one of the highest-quality caregivers in Southern Utah at our agency.
2. What Are Your Needs?
What you look for in an in-home caregiver also depends entirely on your needs. To hire the best caregiver for you or your loved one, you must have at least a slight understanding of the type of care, supervision, and expertise you’ll require after you choose someone.
For example, if you or your loved one suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, you may need assistance with eating, cooking, cleaning, and more. Consider your needs or the needs of the person you are caring for. Here are services that Like Family Personal Care’s caregivers and other home caregivers are generally able to provide:
- Health care: Medication reminders, physical therapy, transportation to and from physician’s appointments
- Personal care: Bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, grooming
- Household care: Cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
- Emotional care: Companionship and companion care, meaningful conversation, hobbies.
At Like Family Personal Care, we offer the services above and more, including:
3. Payment Methods Accepted at Your Home Care Agency
When compared to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and more, in-home caregiving can be quite affordable. However, the cost of your home care will depend completely on the home care agency (or independent caregiver) you choose, your location, and the type of services you require.
Many home care agencies accept insurance and/or Medicaid plans, while other home care agencies only accept private payments. Before hiring a caregiver or home care agency, be sure to understand how you are going to pay for your care. You’ll also want to make sure that you, the caregiver, and the caregiving agency agree upon an hourly, daily, or weekly fee that satisfies all parties – and that this pay rate is documented through a contract.
To find out whether or not your payment method is accepted at Like Family Personal Care, reach out to us at (435)-414-8551. We’ll be happy to help you find out whether or not care services with us will be your perfect fit, and if they aren’t, we’ll be pleased to point you in your best next direction.
4. How to Identify a Reputable Home Care Agency or Caregiver
At first glance, many home care companies may appear the same. But they aren’t.
The first sign of an illegitimacy personal care company begins with their licensing. To ethically provide personal care services in the state of Utah, a home care company must be licensed with their state licensing board and be approved to provide personal care services. If you are working with a home care agency, make sure to inquire with your state licensor on whether their business is registered in your state. You can do this by asking for your company’s license number and then calling your state health department to validate their license.
Additionally, companies belonging to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have demonstrated high quality standards in business and care operations. LFPC is proudly licensed with the state of Utah and belongs to the BBB. You can search for whether the home care company you’re considering is listed in the Better Business Bureau database here.
If you are working with a caregiving agency or individual caregiver, make sure they possesses professional and personal liability insurance. This insurance will protect you, your loved one, and your caregiver if any accident should happen during care.
Last, reputable home care companies and caregivers tend to own their own form of transportation.
5. Hidden Fees and Costs
While searching for the right in-home caregiver for yourself or your loved one, you want to be sure that you are not only partnering with a trustworthy business or individual but also getting your money’s worth of care services.
Most home health agencies, home care agencies, and caregivers will charge you or your family member for the time and money it takes to drive to and from your home, as well as the time it takes to drive you or your loved one to any appointments, errands, or activities.
These additional mileage fees are often not predetermined, usually not factored into your initial hourly rate quote, and are rarely capped. These additional fees are also often unnecessary.
Don’t be fooled by driving fees and other hidden costs. While larger franchise companies may charge you additional fees for mileage and driving time, companies like Like Family Personal Care understand this is frankly unnecessary unless a client requires driving as a regular, robust care service.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For a New Caregiver
Remember: YOU are the customer in this situation. If you are paying someone else to provide you or your loved one with personal care, you deserve to receive care that is perfectly fitting to your needs – nothing less!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for a different caregiver if you don’t feel like they’re the right fit. In fact, at Like Family Personal Care, we encourage our clients to speak up and let us know if they are unhappy with their caregiver or would like to see improvements and adjustments in the care services we provide. This is your life and your care – so don’t be afraid to speak up.
7. Know Your Goals for Receiving Care
Last, it’s helpful to keep in mind a few worthwhile goals you have for yourself, your loved one, and your caregiver before hiring a caregiver. Although you don’t need to know everything that you’ll wish to accomplish by receiving care services, having goals for your care can be extremely beneficial. Plus, goals contribute to happy, healthy minds!
Some clients list improved hygiene, consistent medication consumption, or rehabilitation services (such as physical therapy) as a part of their care goals. Others may wish to find companionship in a caregiver or wish for their caregiver to help them resume their favorite hobbies. Goals vary, but they’re universally important to keep in mind and add a healthy dose of structure to caregiving routines.
The Bottom Line
Overall, remember to trust your gut when it comes to hiring a caregiver for yourself or a loved one. Your caregiver should remain reliable, honest, and able to perform agreed-upon caregiving tasks. Most of all, your caregiver ought to be kind, patient, and attentive to the person they are providing care to. If you feel like something is “off”, listen to your gut, and don’t be afraid to hire a different caregiver or switch agencies.
If you or your loved one is in need of in-home care in Southern Utah, or if you simply have questions about caregiving, please call Like Family Personal Care today at (435)-414-8551. A care specialist is waiting for your call and will be excited to listen to your situation and recommend your next best steps.
Bonus: COVID-19 Protocols
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) global health pandemic has shifted the way that the entire world functions, including the healthcare industry. The novel coronavirus has drastically shifted the world of home care, too.
Many personal care clients are considered part of the “at-risk” group for contracting the COVID-19 virus. When you hire a caregiver or home care agency, make sure they have the proper equipment, cleaning supplies, and protocols to protect you or your loved one from getting sick. Don’t be afraid to ask your caregiver about their protocols, their own safety measures, and how they protect their clients during this outbreak.
Know How to Spot Red Flags
We’ve all encountered red flags – they fester as the uncomfortable feeling you get in your stomach when you just know something is off.
There are various warning signs that you may observe if your caregiver isn’t the ideal fit for you. For example, if your caregiver is often late, doesn’t perform tasks up to agreed-upon standards, or has a consistently poor attitude, you might want to consider hiring a different caregiver.
In the worst cases, if you feel you are being overcharged and are worried that someone’s caregiving services might not be worth your money, listen to your instinct and take action.
Sometimes, it can take a few tries to find the right person to provide you or your loved one with care. But remember, finding the right caregiver is entirely possible and extremely rewarding.
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