Advise on Choosing an In Home Caregiver

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Once the decision has been made that you or a family member needs In Home Care Assistance, what is the next step?

Finding Local Home Care Agencies

  • Ask your doctor, family, friends, clergy or co-workers for referrals.
  • Check with your employer or insurance company to see if they have referrals.
  • Use the internet or phone book and begin researching options in your community
  • Visit local senior centers for referrals. Look for homecare agencies that are active in the community.


Determine Your Budget

  • Consider the amount of time you will need in home care. Do you need hourly care or full time care?
  • Look for assistance on costs if available. Many home care agencies offer a discounted rate for full time care. Some long term care insurance or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) provide coverage or assistance for in home care.

Questions to Consider

  • Does the agency have references or recommendations from people you trust?
  • Is the staff equipped to handle your needs, (speak the same language as the client, appropriate size if lifting is necessary, etc.)
  • What certifications or background checks do you want your home caregiver to have?
  • Does the homecare agency have the capability to support the needs of the elder in their care as their needs increase or decrease?

Choosing the Best Fit Criteria

  • Invite one or two agencies for a site assessment. Most agencies offer these for free. Although you might have assessed your needs, ask them for recommendations.
  • Compare the experience and training of the agency’s home caregivers. What certifications do the caregivers have?  Will they be able to notice changes in health conditions as needs arise?
  • Understand how the caregivers are hired by the agency. How do they match up caregivers to clients? Check to see how long your caregiver has been in the home care industry or related field.
  • Be specific in the services you need.  Is it meal preparation, medication reminders, bathing, dressing, companionship or transportation?
  • If you have a patient with Alzheimer’s, dementia or needs cancer care, try to find a caregiver with experience in that type of in home care.
  • What type of monitoring does the home care agency provide?
  • What involvement does the caregiver agency allow the family member or elder in the care plan? Are there reports or visits made to assess the changing needs of the senior care patient?
  • How does the agency maintain continuity of care? Will there be multiple caregivers or one?
  • Does the agency provide 24-hour phone line for emergencies?



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