As a family caregiver, you know the stress of being on call 24/7. You understand how very hard it can be to keep up with your other responsibilities. You’ve learned that great love for the person you take care of is no guarantee against burnout.
What happens if you simply need a day or two off? What if you get called out of town and have no one to cover for you? Should you think about contacting a professional home health care agency before the need arises?
While turning the care of your loved one over to a stranger can be scary, there are some steps you can take to rest assured that the caregivers you hire is the best for the job.
What should you do?
Start by asking your doctor for recommendations. Friends and family may also have helpful suggestions. The next step is to call or look up the agency’s website for basic information:
- How long has the agency been in business?
- What geographic areas do they serve?
- What types of care do they offer?
Home health agencies generally offer everything from an unskilled companion who can make a meal and do some tidying up, to nursing staff that can give medications and check vital signs.
How can you be sure the person sent by the agency is trustworthy?
Check for these:
- Do they have a testing program for employees? New hires should be tested for the skills they need to perform their caregiver duties.
- Do they run a background check? A reputable agency will do their best to screen all hires.
- Do they have insurance? Agency employees should be bonded.
When you contact the agency, they will ask about your loved one’s specific needs.
Have that kind of information ready:
- Does she need help with basic things like dressing, using the toilet, or eating?
- Does she need to do any special exercises as part of her care plan?
- Is her mind clear, or does she struggle with dementia?
To wrap up, don’t forget to ask if the agency has someone with any special skills you need, like fluency in a language other than English. And remind them that you will be present for the first visit. Be sure the worker is a good fit with your loved one. Your comfort is vital to success.
Because good communication is critical, we recommend using a platform like CareSync to collaborate around care. You'll be better positioned to relax knowing that everybody has access to important information, and convenient notifications for medications and appointments.
To learn more, visit the CareSync website, or give us a call at 800.587.5227. We'll happily give you a tour of what we do and help you get your caregiver team set up.