How to Assess the Quality of your Home Caregiver

May 6, 2016

How to Assess the Quality of your Home Caregiver

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Whether you hire a home caregiver from an agency or not, the quality of the home caregiver that you hire to take care of your loved one is of utmost importance. Their capabilities, expertise, and way of handling situations are what directly impact how your loved one is cared for. What exactly defines “quality” depends on every person and situation, so make sure the caregiver you hire is able to fit what you determine to be a quality home caregiver.

When Should Quality be Assessed?

The quality of your home care worker should be assessed before employment as well as periodically throughout their employment to ensure that they are continuing to provide care at the level required by both you and your loved one. Assessments can either be done on a routine basis or anytime that you think it is necessary to check the quality of care being provided.

How Quality Should be Assessed

Pre-employment

During the hiring process, there are specific methods to determine if the potential caregiver meets the quality that you are looking for.  Some of the biggest things are to make sure that the home caregiver has experience in the areas that they will be needed, that they have viable references, and can handle and situation that may arise.

Additionally, if applicable and relevant, your loved one who will be receiving care should also be part of the decision-making process. Quality can go beyond the caregiver’s capabilities for medical care and home help, but also how they “mesh” and interact with the person they are caring for. Language, culture, and personality compatibility are huge factors in the quality of care that can be provided.

During employment

Quality should also be assessed during employment because things can change and experiences gained. It is a good idea to bring your loved one into the conversation and ask their opinion of the caregiver. Depending on their medical needs, some of their input should be taken with a grain of salt because certain cognitive problems can influence their feelings, even when they are being treated well and at a high quality of care. That being said, make sure to take their comments and complaints into your assessment because they spend the most time with the caregiver. If your loved one has voiced their concerns about a method the caregiver is using but no changes are made, that should be considered.

What is expected of a home caregiver?

The caregiver’s ability to take and apply complaints and feedback is essential in their assessment of quality. It is one thing for the caregiver to make a mistake or two because nobody is perfect, but problems may arise when mistakes aren’t fixed. Someone’s ability to accept and understand that they have made a mistake, and then take the steps necessary to make changes, really is a tell tail sign of their character. In a home care situation, you need someone who can make adjustments and changes when needed.

An at-home caregiver should also be able to handle different types of situations. They should be able to complete anything that is required of them for the job. For example, if your loved one is disabled, they should have the ability to get them into a vehicle for doctors’ appointments as well as help them use the bathroom. Loved ones, when receiving care, at times may try to refuse treatment, and a caregiver that is able to appropriately handle that type of situation is necessary. Also, mood swings may be a common occurrence and having someone that is able to understand and work with the challenges proves that he or she is a quality caregiver.

How exactly you assess the quality of the caregiver providing care to your loved one is up to you, but it should be done. You should have a system in place to make sure that your loved one is receiving the care they need in an environment that suits them.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between home care and an assisted living facility?

There are several differences between home care and assisted living. Home care means hiring a trained professional to provide care right in your home, while assisted living involves moving to a community to receive similar care. The amount of assistance that home care provides depends on your senior's needs and can be tailored accordingly. Home care can range anywhere from weekly companionship and therapy to 24-hour skilled nursing care or even hospice. In contrast, assisted living provides seniors with an enriching community of their peers and medical attention as needed, making it a flexible option for many. 

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Due to our financial situation, I simply cannot afford to put my parents in a home, but having them live with me isn’t exactly ideal. Are there any other affordable options?

We realize that senior care communities can be costly, but there are a few things to be considered. Many healthcare providers will help offset the costs of moving to a senior care community. If that’s still not financially possible, look into having a home care aid come to your parents' house a few times a week. These home care aids can be hired through an agency or independently and can provide a variety of services to take care of senior loved ones. Don’t let money get in the way of providing the care your parents deserve.

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