Making the right choice for care

The question
When the unexpected occurs, if you’ve had a recent hospital visit or are experiencing medical problems, where and how do you get that extra care to help you while still enjoying your daily routine in familiar surroundings? How do you accomplish the healing process in the comfort of your own home while the chores pile up and the little things you can’t attend to get ignored?

The answer
The answer is by bringing in a home care provider. These providers do all those things you are not able to do or just plain don’t feel like doing. Making the right choice of providers is critical in your path to recovery and well being. It isn’t easy to make the decision to invite a stranger into your home to provide care for you and you want to make the best decision possible.

The process
Begin the process by thoroughly reviewing your situation. Do this through discussions with involved family members and loved ones. When necessary, consult with your physician(s), social workers, hospitals, or therapist. From these conversations develop a list of wants and needs. Seek references of providers from hospital discharge planners, social workers, friends, and physicians.

The next step is to speak to a few of the companies over the phone to establish if they can provide the services you are seeking. Most reputable agencies provide services such as personal hygiene assistance, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation for errands and shopping, laundry and ironing, and supervision in therapy and medication regimens. While on the phone you will be able to also get a feel for what the personality of the company will be. Look for those companies who are professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. The personality of the people you speak to will be reflected in their care staff. Then, select a couple of companies to come out and visit with you in person. A good company will provide an initial consultation free of charge. They will visit with you to assess the situation and make recommendations for your continuing care. A few key items to look for during this meeting are:

  • caregivers should be employees and the company should handle all the wages, required tax with holdings, and workers compensation issues.
  • the company should be licensed (if required), bonded and fully insured.
  • all caregivers should be thoroughly screened and background checked.
  • the company should have adequate number of employees to handle emergency situations and increased workloads.
  • can you choose your own caregiver?
  • how accessible are the supervisors in times of need?
  • how flexible is the company in its care program?

Once you have made a decision to employ a specific company they will come in and develop a complete and individualized program to manage your care. They should match your needs and desires to the best possible caregiver for you. Remember that in this type of care you are the “boss”. Unless asked to do so, the care provider should not take control of your schedule. Unlike typical nursing agencies or homes, the homecare provider will not dictate to you what the schedule is to be (i.e. What time to get up, when to bathe, meal schedules). The beauty of this care is that they will adapt to your wants and needs and see to it that you remain comfortable in your own home.