The last thing that you want to do when deciding whether to hire an in-home caregiver for one or both of your parents is rush the decision. Picking this person takes time because they will be intimately involved in every part of your parent’s life. However, the right caregiver can ease the pressure that you feel to ensure that your parent is being properly taken care of.
If you are unsure of where to start in the caregiver process, here are a few questions to ask yourself, your loved ones, and the caregivers that you interview.
Is in-home care the best choice?
Before you begin the caregiver search, the first question that you should be asking is whether this is the right option for care. Some people do better in a nursing home facility than at home, where they can socialize with other seniors. Elderly parents with round the clock medical needs may also need more than an in-home caregiver.
What level of assistance is needed?
There are different types of in-home caregivers available, and the right one for you will be determined by the level of care that is required. Home health aides and personal care attendants are both options as in-home caregivers. Both provide assistance with daily activities like bathing, walking and dressing, shopping, and preparing meals. However, home health aides also can provide other health-related tasks for your loved one.
What level of training and screening does the caregiver have?
State laws vary on the definitions of home health aides and personal care attendants in addition to the levels of training that are required for each type of caregiver. Make sure that the agency that you choose is licensed, bonded, insured, and up to code with the laws of your state.
If your loved one needs special care for an issue like dementia, stroke, or paralysis you should make sure that the caregiver has the special training required to handle such care. You should also ask about whether the agency performs background checks and drug tests their employees.
What is the cost, and how will bills be paid?
Make sure that you understand the entire payment package for the agency and the caregiver. Extra charges for billing, taxes, workers’ compensation, itemized charges, and administrative costs can be tacked on separately or include them in a single fee for services. Furthermore, it is important to remember that neither Medicare nor other supplemental plans will cover in-home caregivers. Medicaid programs at the state level will pay for some home care services.
What are the caregiver agency’s rules of operation?
Check to see what the agency’s rules of operation are for their caregivers. Some require that you book a certain number of hours per week, others run round the clock, and some go off of the clock in the evening. Also, check to see what the policies are for cancellation and what backup procedure it has if the caregiver does not show.
Does your loved one like and approve of the caregiver?
The most important question of all to ask is whether your loved one likes and approves of the caregiver that is chosen. If the answer is anything but yes, the arrangement is bound to fail. To the extent that they are able, your loved one should have a say in who they want their caregiver to be.
Michael Ettinger, Esq.
Ettinger Law Firm
Albany, New York