Ensuring You Hire Quality Care


Ensuring You Hire Quality Care

hiring-resume-225-mdFor the most part, you feel like you're managing your caree's care needs fairly well. Over time, you've created a routine that works for both of you. You also both understand your caree's care needs, which means providing them has become easier.

It's just the constant feeling of being on call that wears you out. If I could just have Saturday afternoons to myself, you think, I would feel better.

You begin to search for a home care worker who can stay with your caree while you take a break. You don't need the home care worker to provide care--you just need a professional to keep your caree comfortable and safe.

So, as you search for help, you realize that the agency which can provide what you need for your caree--companionship, supervision and light housekeeping--is not required to be certified through Medicare. And that means you can't use research the agency to find its quality care rating system through Medicare.gov's Home Health Compare database. (See yesterday's blog post about Medicare.gov's Home Health Compare.)

Without Home Health Compare, how do you know what kind of quality you're hiring?

Last summer, Lee Lindquist, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, published research that indicated consumers, like you, must be cautious when hiring home care workers. To help you in your quest to find good help, Dr. Lindquist suggests you ask any home care agency you interview about services these questions:

1. How do you recruit caregivers, and what are your hiring requirements?

2. What types of screenings are performed on caregivers before you hire them? Criminal background check—federal or state? Drug screening? Other?

3. Are they certified in CPR or do they have any health-related training?

4. Are the caregivers insured and bonded through your agency?

5. What competencies are expected of the caregiver you send to the home? (These could include lifting and transfers, homemaking skills, personal care skills such as bathing, dressing, toileting, training in behavioral management and cognitive support.)

6. How do you assess what the caregiver is capable of doing?

7. What is your policy on providing a substitute caregiver if a regular caregiver cannot provide the contracted services?

8. If there is dissatisfaction with a particular caregiver, will a substitute be provided?

9. Does the agency provide a supervisor to evaluate the quality of home care on a regular basis? How frequently?

10. Does supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports or in-person at the home of the older adult?

As you search for the right company to help you, ask family members and friends for recommendations of agencies they've used. And, listen to your gut--if it screams, then act (or run, depending on what it screams). Consider staying home the first time the home care worker will be with your caree. You can busy yourself in other parts of the house as you monitor how well the home care worker engages your caree.

Most important, you are the buyer of the home care agency's service. When you have concerns, contact the agency to discuss and resolve.

How did you choose the agency that provides help in your home? Please share in our comments section, below.

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