When attempting to explain what exactly professional in home senior care is, perhaps the best way to start is to mention what it is NOT.
There are those seeking information regarding senior care who are simply unaware of the options available to them because they have never been in need of in home care before; as a result, a common assumption is to seek out a caregiver on your own in order to save time or money.
However, what is of utmost importance to understand, is that when seniors – or loved ones acting on their behalf – hire caregivers privately (or even through a referral source), they themselves become the employer of record and assume all legal and financial responsibilities, including:
- Employee tax withholding
- Unemployment insurance
- Liability insurance
They are also tasked with the process of interviewing and vetting caregiver candidates, including performing background checks, finger printing, making sure they are legal to work in the U.S., and negotiating wages.
When hiring private caregivers, you are not guaranteed that the individual coming into your home is actually qualified in all areas of caregiving or able to provide the services you desire. The highly potential outcome includes, but is not limited to:
- poor quality of care
- inconsistent care
- no backup personnel available when the caregiver is unable to come to work as scheduled
- difficulties matching personality types
- added stress to the senior or loved ones responsible for them
- Legal ramifications, example: when a private caregiver gets injured on duty.
Professional In-Home Care
A professional in-home care agency mitigates these risks as it is dedicated and equipped to provide a much higher quality and consistency of care for the seniors, their families and all involved health care providers.
What does a professional in home senior care agency do?
To qualify as a legal professional in home care agency, an agency has to obtain a license certifying its compliance with basic standards as specified in the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act of 2013. This Act also requires professional in-home care agencies to:
- Conduct background checks on all workers
- Provide a minimum of five hours of training
- List aides in an online registry
- Finger print each caregiver
Professional agencies should furthermore seek certification by a reputable regulatory organization such as the California Association for Health Services at Home and are registered with an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau.
In-home care agencies realize that building a reputation their clients can trust is imperative, and only hire caregivers who are professional, trained, caring and compatible to their senior clients. Their focus is to provide in-home senior care services that will help their elderly clients retain their independence and familiar lifestyles by continuing to live in their own homes, ultimately allowing them to sustain a better quality of life.
A professional in home care company is a business, and conducts itself as such. It has an experienced and professional administrative leadership and infrastructure in place to effectively screen and hire, train, manage, and support their employees and caregivers. This agency is able to:
- conduct background checks,
- follow up on applicants’ references
- verify applicants’ legal status and work experience
- collect fingerprints and access driving records
- coordinate all schedules and fluctuations within them
- match caregivers with their elderly clients
- supervise their employees
- require their employees to attend training for the various needs specific to seniors
- assume all legal and financial responsibilities related to managing caregivers
Senior Patient Care and After-care:
Many seniors seeking in-home care require assistance with “activities of daily living,” also known in the industry as ADL. These can include basic activities such as providing companionship, light housekeeping, meal preparation, running errands, giving medication reminders, and transportation to personal, social or medical appointments. Some elderly clients need a somewhat higher level of attention due to more serious health conditions, hospitalization or advanced age. Professional in home care providers are trained to attend to bathing and grooming, assisting in mobility, keeping the home environment safe, helping the senior follow doctor’s orders, and accompanying them to medical appointments. During medical appointments caregivers serve as support and to ensure both the senior patient and their family members receive and understand the information received from the healthcare professional. They are that critical extra set of eyes and ears to provide peace of mind that pertinent news, instructions or progress reports will not be missed.
Equally important, professional in-home care agencies also provide support to the healthcare professionals such as physicians, discharge planners and therapists, by having a trained professional available at appointments with the senior to receive after-care instructions, monitor patient progress, and interface with responsible family members. When a healthcare professional can be assured that his/her patient has a support system in place, as is the case with an in-home caregiver at their side, there is less risk for lapses in the seniors’ after-care programs. Physicians, for example, can convey treatment and prescription requirements directly to the caregiver and the patient, which provides reassurance that the senior will be able to:
- Follow the healthcare professional’s instructions
- Get her medications
- Schedule follow-up appointments
- Make it to therapy if necessary.
When the patient is able to take care of herself properly (with the assistance from her caregiver), this equates to better quality of health and recovery, resulting in lower return visits for similar injuries or conditions as well as lower readmission rates to hospitals.
Beneficial Impact on Patient Wellness:
When family members are obligated to care for a senior relative, or hire someone privately who may not be fully qualified, the results can negatively impact all involved. The senior’s needs can create such a demand on the relative’s time, that he or she is completely overwhelmed trying to accomplish everything. Too often we see an adult daughter with her own children at home, a full-time job, and various other responsibilities, suddenly encumbered with caring for her elderly parent. No wonder then that they are referred to as the “sandwich generation.”
Her choices turn into: bring the senior parent into her own home, try to care for the parent in their own home, hire a caregiver to help, or place the parent in an assisted living situation. The dynamics of the relationship between adult child and parent shift dramatically in these scenarios, where the parent is now dependent upon the child, and emotional stress ensues. Of course, most often, the senior prefers to remain in their own home. The best option then for the adult child, is to seek the assistance of a professional in home senior care agency.
The agency can provide an assessment to determine the level of care and how often if would be needed. Seniors do not like to give up on their independence, but having a qualified third party involved often helps the senior make the transition and come to terms with the fact that they do need help. With a professional caregiver to lean on, families can focus on quality time together, and reduce the stress on both sides. Less stress means less of a strain on the senior’s health.
For more information please contact us at (707) 763-6600.