Making a Successful Home Care Match

Making a successful home care match doesn’t just happen. It takes planning and a lot of truthful information. But, the right match is magic. perfect senior and aide matchSome areas of the country, like South Florida have many more choices to select from than other areas. It is helpful to have the person meeting with the home care representative be knowledgeable about the situation, needs and the personality of the person to be cared for. Care is usually for a parent. Sometimes the needs are obvious and sometimes less so. Do your research. Check out different companies online and speak to a couple of companies. Personal referrals from friends or in the community are a great starting point. Because you may be responding to an emergency know what the client needs now rather than a long term plan. Once you speak with a company you feel comfortable with, meet with their representative.

What are some Benefits of Having Home Care?

It does take getting used to having an assistant or aide around to help out. Home care allows older adults to remain at home longer. A little help results in greater independence. Other attributes of home care include:

Increased Safety                                                                                                                                                                                          Healthier eating and better nutrition                                                                                                                                                            Greater Medication compliance                                                                                                                                                                    Decreases loneliness and depression                                                                                                                                                            Gives  peace of mind to all involved

Tips on What Makes the Magic

Firstly, go with a licensed home care company with a track record. Some variables are determined easily, the gender of aide, location of service and the presenting situation. Cost is a consideration. Is there long term care insurance or out of pocket. Who will be paying for care?

~Know the needs – do you or your loved one have physical or cognitive challenges or both? Experienced companies match aides/caregivers experienced in similar situations or diagnoses.

~Knowledge of special equipment like a Hoyer Lift, ileostomy bag, etc.

~ Specific needs -Kosher kitchen, Alcohol or substance use, up at night, etc.

~Personality of the client – this is a key consideration and hardest to define. Illness often changes us. Denial colors the truth at the time and emotions can make us less reasonable than usual. Do you or your loved one want to be hovered over or just checked on? How proactive does the caregiver need to be and how much deference to client and family? Is the client upbeat or depressed?

~When family/spouse is in the home, discuss and list who is responsible for what.

~Who is in charge of medications? By law in Florida, the aide cannot do anything invasive, put in eye drops or fill pillboxes. They can clean equipment to guide the person’s hand and give medication reminders. Determine a system for medications.

~Be clear, upfront what your expectations are. Everyone wants a nice, educated, experienced aide. Nice and experienced are realistic, a high level of education, less so. Remember they are currently aides, not nurses, though many may be studying to become a nurse or therapist.

~Priorities, the task is to keep your loved one safe, cared for and as independent as possible.  For short term assignments, recovering from surgery, the Care Plan is straight forward. Long term assignments; progressive disease care, may require multiple aides.

Doing Your Best

Good companies try to get the match right the first time. It is in everyone’s best interest. But, this is a human-driven service and sometimes things need to be tweaked or situations suddenly change. The company, the family, the client, and the caregiver generally are doing their best in a difficult situation. It may take trial and error to get the right person in place, and it may not be the type of aide you thought of.  Embrace what is important. If you’re loved one likes and responds well to the caregiver. That is more important than their command of English. The caregiver is entering the home and situation with the information provided to the company staffer.

Being honest with the information you provide, having realistic expectations going in impacts the outcome. Schedules are also a critical variable in home care. Aides are looking for shifts and schedules to make a living. Home Care and working with seniors is a calling couched in the realities of everyday life. Having a consistent schedule is good for the client, family members and the aide – everyone knows what is happening when. Of course, schedules change but the core schedule is best intact.  Home Care is an art of sorts and well worth tweaking plans for the right match!