Making the decision that a loved one needs some sort of in home care or senior care can be a difficult step to take (read here for four signs that your family might be at this decision point). Who you hire is one of the most important decisions to make, and it can have a big impact on your family’s experience with senior care. Just consider: this is a person or company that might be spending significant time with a family member (potentially in the home), and might also be involved in care of a personal, private nature, like assistance with toileting, bathing, finances, etc. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a few true stories of in home care gone wrong...and more importantly, how to mitigate the risks of this happening to your family!
- “Our elderly neighbor and his wife had hired a caretaker for years to help with daily tasks and maintain a clean home. After the wife had passed away, the caretaker (50 years younger) suggested to our neighbor that they get married. By this time, he was quite a bit older and had few family members left to advocate for him. We thought this might put him in a vulnerable position. Thankfully, our friendship was such that my wife and I could intervene and urge him to reconsider. The caretaker ended up leaving shortly afterwards.” Ted B (Canton, Illinois)
- “Be sure that a primary caretaker is trained on what to do in case of an emergency or urgent situation. Our neighbor Betsy would occasionally fall, the caretaker would come over and ask my husband to help pick her up. She was dead weight, and when they pulled on her arms to get her up, her arms almost came out of her sockets...he wasn’t trained to help, and neither was the caretaker. We finally had to mention to Betsy's daughter that her mom's caretaker kept coming over and asking for assistance to get Betsy up.” Hortencia G (San Diego, California)
How can you ensure that you’re hiring the right staff for senior care?
In both of the cases mentioned above, the caretakers were independent contractors. Why is this important? Well, there are a lot of differences between employees of a home care agency, and a listing of independent contractors. Quick Tip: When a home care agency employs its caretakers, it is assuming financial, legal, and organizational responsibility for the actions of those caretakers. This should put potential clients at ease because the caretakers are thoroughly vetted and vouched for. This is not to say that there are not excellent primary caretakers who work as independent contractors (there are), but rather to ensure that your family is empowered to make the best decision by having as much relevant knowledge as possible.
Other indicators that the agency you’re hiring for in home care is the right choice:
- Their client-caregiver matching process is thorough and thoughtful
- Backup staff is available for emergencies
- Multiple referrals are given (you should check with more than one referral source to get a good idea of previous clients’ experiences)
- All cases have Registered Nurse supervision and multiple opportunities for feedback
- The agency is willing to assign different caregivers if the client desires
In conclusion, finding the right senior care agency can be a very rewarding experience. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of knowing that your loved ones are in trusted, capable hands. We hope you enjoyed reading this blog, and incorporate the tips above into your search for a senior care agency.