AZNHA – What is it?
AZNHA was founded as a consumer protection and business trade association, to be an advocate for the home care industry within the state of Arizona because our state doesn’t require a license to open a home care agency. Simply put, we don’t have a regulatory body to keep our industry operating within a ‘best practice’ standard. After failed attempts to get legislative recognition, leaders in the homecare industry got together to form AZNHA to create self-regulated oversight for an industry that serves a vulnerable population. The other purpose was to establish a higher standard of expectation in the areas of service delivery, human resources, business ethics, education and consumer protection. The homecare industry predominantly serves our elderly population and those who are experiencing ill health. Individuals and families in need must trust in an industry that can provide care safely. They deserve excellence in continuity of care, honesty, integrity and an industry looking out for their best interests.
AZNHA – Why use it?
The Benefits – ‘Best Practice’ Requirements include:
- Member agencies must be insured and bonded and have a store-front office. That means you, as a consumer, are protected under a myriad of circumstances.
- All caregivers must be hired as employees and not contract workers, so that all liability, including paying taxes, workers, comp, and social security, etc. falls to the agency, not the consumer. This is a huge safety net.
- A thorough interview process looking for qualified caregivers includes a 50-state background check of all employees before hiring.
- Employees are drug tested prior to hiring as well as randomly throughout employment.
- Driving record checks and insurance confirmation for those who will be driving clients provides another layer of protection.
- Current CPR and first-aid certification for all caregivers is required.
- Proof of negative tuberculosis tests and infectious disease policies will mitigate exposure to dangerous health risks.
- A robust pool of qualified caregivers means replacement/back-up staff options can be sent temporarily when a caregiver calls in sick, or becomes otherwise unavailable, eliminating you scrambling with staffing in the current world of caregiver shortages.
- Consistent oversight from staff doing in-home supervisory visits every 90 days allows you to have input into your caregiver’s reviews.
- A new client representative will come into your home, free of charge, to assess the individual needing care. Through observation, discussion, and a full assessment process, they will write a complete care plan for the individual needing assistance with the help from the family. They will then use that information to help find a caregiver that would be a good ‘fit’ for the new client. The right personality is usually a determining characteristic, but skill-set for specific needs must also be carefully considered.
- Ongoing professional support – care coordinators, care managers, dementia specialists, etc. are part of your team from your AZNHA-member agency, as well as their community partners and resources.
- The AZNHA organization also functions as a safety net with a formal complaint process that supports you as a consumer when or if your AZNHA homecare company does not fulfill its standards of operation.
- AZNHA members can go into communities and assist residents moving into assisted living or memory care, as well as those in independent living. They also can sit-in for family members who cannot be there if individuals are in the hospital or a rehab.
**Note: COVID restrictions may apply.
In summary, AZNHA agencies are professionals who absorb the headaches, the challenges, the liabilities, and the larger frustrations when needs are immediate and physical resources are limited.
What’s the bottom line?
Non-medical homecare is a savior to individuals and families who want/need one on one caregiving support, in whatever setting they call home, no matter how small or great the need. Whether someone is aging, living with a chronic illness, or recuperating, help is often needed at some point. Bringing someone into your home can be a little scary. It’s a big enough leap to admit it’s time to need assistance, and the thought of having a stranger in the home can be daunting.
People are afraid that homecare means they’re no longer independent. But the reality is that homecare allows you to stay independent longer because you are assessing your situation and making decisions to stay safe. Using an AZNHA agency not only provides the assistance you need, it helps you cover all the angles you need to be in the best and safest situation you can be.
Elaine Poker-Yount, CDP is Director of Care Management and a PAC Certified Dementia Trainer at Visiting Angels East Valley, a Founding Member Organization of AZNHA