End of Life Planning
Five Tips for Finding a Quality Home Care Provider
You and your family have decided that it is time to bring in outside help to assist with the care of a loved one in need. Because you want them to be able to remain safe, comfortable and independent in their own home for as long as possible, you have chosen to hire an in-home caregiver or home healthcare agency. The next step is choosing the best care provider for you and your loved one. But how do you know who the best is?
Here are five tips for finding a quality home care provider:
1. Get recommendations. Talk to trusted professionals and community members. Your parent’s doctor, financial advisor, attorney, other medical providers, friends or family members may have familiarity and experience with local companies that do a good job. A list of providers is also available from your local Area Agency on Aging or hospital social work department. However, it is rare for these resources to make specific recommendations.
2. Know your liability. Understand the possible liabilities and ramifications involved when hiring a caregiver privately. Consider issues such as taxes, insurance, liability and worker’s compensation, backup coverage, background checks/oversight and training. If hiring through a nurse registry or employment agency, the family may end up being the official employer, responsible for pay, taxes and other obligations. On the other end of the spectrum, fully licensed private duty home health agencies offer more comprehensive services and protections as employers of the caregivers.
3. Consider innovation. Research how current their monitoring and communications technology is. How easy is it to monitor the care your loved one is receiving? Can you speak to the caregiver or management at any time?
4. Get to know who you’re hiring. When talking with an agency, get a feel for their process. Will they allow you and your loved one to interview potential caregivers? How do they handle replacing a caregiver that is not a good fit? What steps do they take to ensure coverage and accountability? How do they supervise, train and support staff? Do they strive for continuity or will your loved one have different staff each time? How many caregivers will cover the shifts your loved one requires? While regulations standardize licensed home care agencies to a degree, these are the things that will set one agency apart from another.
5. Research involvement. Seek out providers who have a history in the community and the industry. Check if providers are involved with local and national associations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, the Area Agency on Aging and the National Private Duty Association. Their involvement demonstrates passion and dedication for their field. Management staff that has a history in the community and the profession demonstrates a commitment, stability and a positive reputation that they would want to protect.
With many years of advocating for the rights of seniors and their families in Pinellas County Florida, EasyLiving, Inc., a fully licensed, private duty home healthcare company, has dedicated its company to offering clients more personalized service, flexible scheduling and reliable, expert caregivers. EasyLiving caregivers undergo an extensive interview process to ensure that they maintain fully qualified and licensed team members. Every caregiver has completed a criminal background check and drug screening, and are insured, bonded and covered under worker’s compensation to ensure that our clients receive the highest quality service from trustworthy, experienced professionals. EasyLiving provides paid training as well as all continuing education requirements to its caregivers annually, enabling them to improve their expertise and service. For more information, visit EasyLivingFl.com.
About the authors: Alex Chamberlain is executive director at EasyLiving, Inc., a fully licensed, private duty home health care company serving individuals and families in Pinellas and Pasco counties in Florida. With a strong background of academic and practical experience in sales, marketing, administration and leadership, Alex handles overall company operations, strategic planning and overseeing staff. He serves on the boards of a number of local non-profit organizations and was named a 2009 Tampa Bay Business Journal “Up and Comer.”
Shannon Martin, M.S.W., CMC, has served as director of community relations at Aging Wisely, LLC, a comprehensive care management and consultation company in Clearwater, Fla, over 8 years. Shannon provides marketing and public relations support to EasyLiving, Inc. Prior to Aging Wisely, Shannon served as social services director and admissions coordinator in an assisted living/skilled nursing facility and worked as a social worker and volunteer coordinator for a large hospice in Atlanta, Ga.
For additional information on EasyLiving, Inc. contact Shannon or Alex at 727-448-0900 or Admin@easylivingfl.com.