If you have finally taken the plunge and have decided to hire an in-home caregiver for your elderly loved one, then congratulations. Hiring an in-home caregiver is a big step for both you and your loved one. In-home caregivers allow your loved one to get the help they need in the setting of their own home. It allows your loved one to gain some of their independence back and to have someone to rely on throughout the day while you and other family members may be at work. Hiring an in-home caregiver is a great way to help your elderly loved ones spend their twilight years happy and healthy. But, once you hire an in-home caregiver for them, how do you know if the caregiver is doing a good job? Keep reading to find out how you can determine if your loved one’s caregiver is stepping up to the plate when it truly matters.
Do Not Skimp On Your Research
The first step in obtaining a wonderful caregiver for your loved one occurs long before you even meet the caregiver. The first step is to do your research. Many communities have caregiving or home health care agencies that provide professional caregivers for in-home services. If your loved one’s local community has more than one agency, it is essential that you research all of the agencies and do your homework. It is important that you understand each agency’s insurance policies, the training they provide for caregivers, if they perform background checks on caregivers, etc. Each home health care agency has different policies and rules regarding all of these issues, so it is important that you understand the policies of each agency in your loved one’s city. Then, choose an agency based upon the rules and policies you agree with the most.
Once you have chosen a home health care agency, contact them to set up an assessment between you, your loved one and a representative from the agency. During the assessment, ask the representative from the home health care agency any questions you may have. Do not be afraid to ask any of your questions. The representative should be able to answer them for you or find the answer through their agency. You want to be able to hire the agency that you know has the best interests of your loved one in mind.
After hiring a caregiver, the best way to evaluate their care is to stop by your loved one’s home periodically unannounced. This will allow you to see the caregiver at work and see how they react to you stopping by. If the caregiver is a good worker, then they will be actively working or interacting with your loved one during your visit. Caregivers who are not good workers may be away from your loved one or not caring for them properly when you show up.
Another great way to evaluate your loved one’s care is to ask their caregiver a set of questions during your occasional drop-ins. The following list of questions is a great starting point that you can build upon during your conversation with them.
Is the care plan being followed?
The caregiver and the home health care agency should have made a care plan for your elderly loved one during the first days or weeks on the job. The care plan is designed to make the household run smoothly for both your loved one and the caregiver. You should ask about whether or not it is being followed and ask if it has been revised at all. It is not uncommon for care plans to be revised as the caregiver learns more about their patient.
Is your elderly loved one’s life being improved?
The main goal of home health care is to improve the life of your loved one. Ask the caregiver if they believe your loved one’s life has been improved and how. If they cannot answer the question or if you do not see how your loved one’s life has been improved then it may be time for a new caregiver.
Has your loved one expressed any concerns?
If you elderly loved one is cognitively aware then they will be able to communicate with you and their caregiver any concerns they may have. Ask the caregiver if your loved one has expressed any concerns about their care or health, then determine how the concerns were addressed. Alternatively, if your loved one has discussed concerns with you, then sit the caregiver down and discuss your loved one’s concerns. You may be able to fix the issue and help your loved one become more comfortable.
Does the agency keep tabs on the caregiver?
Ask the caregiver about the involvement of the home health care agency that they work under. Does the agency stop by unannounced to check on the caregiver? How do they ensure the caregiver is completing his or her job? Ask these questions to determine how well-involved the agency stays with the caregiver.
If your loved one is cognitively aware, then you can also ask them questions about any concerns or issues they may have. Also, look at their overall demeanor and behavior. If they are happy, smiling and generally in a good mood, then it is likely that their caregiver is a loving and caring person. However, if they are withdrawn, angry or have any new medical issues such as bruising or cuts then they may need a new caregiver.
Hiring a caregiver can be a wonderful addition to your loved one’s life. But, it sometimes takes a while to find the perfect caregiver for their needs. If you have recently hired a caregiver for your loved one, then use these tips to determine if the caregiver is doing his or her job properly. But overall, ask your loved one. If they like their new caregiver, then put your own fear or reservations away and let your loved one enjoy their care. If they cannot stand their new caregiver, then start to direct questions to the home health care agency and the caregiver to determine if the caregiver is doing poorly or if your loved one simply does not want a caregiver.
Check the following articles on the topic of caregivers:
- Ways to Be a True Friend to a Family Caregiver
- Common Signs Indicating That Being a Caregiver is Not Right for You
- Signs of an Over-Involved Caregiver
- Recommended Books for Sibling Caregivers
- Caregiving and Sibling Relationships (3 parts article)