Private Duty Homecare Buyer’s Guide

Private Duty Homecare Buyer’s Guide

A useful guide provided by BrightStar
We understand that budget is a primary consideration when you are making arrangements for homecare, and it is our expectation that you will “shop around” to find the best provider at a manageable cost. As you do, please consider the following points in order to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected and receive the best care possible.

Before you make your first phone call, thoroughly consider what your care needs are. Make sure to paint a realistic picture of the patient’s needs so that the right caregiver match can be made:
 Do you need a companion, or someone who can provide
hands-on care (i.e. assisting getting in/out of bath, etc.)
 Do you need assistance with cooking and light housework?
 Do you need skilled medical assistance for things like blood pressure & blood sugar testing, medication administration, wound care or tube/drain/bag maintenance?
 Do you need a caregiver who can drive you to social events appointments or?
 Is a memory loss diagnosis (i.e. Alzheimer’s, dementia) a factor or is the patient becoming confused?
 Do you need a caregiver trained in a specialization such as hospice care or mobility needs?
 Do you need a caregiver that speaks a particular language or is versed in sign language?

In order to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential liability, be sure to ask about and consider the following when selecting a homecare agency:
 What levels of care are available? Are you licensed for medical care or only companion care services?
 Are your caregivers supervised by an RN? Who conducts the initial assessment before starting each case?
 Are all caregivers employees that are licensed, bonded, and insured? What happens if a worker is injured in my home?
 Do you take care of paying the taxes and withholdings for the caregiver?
 If there is a personality conflict or other problem with a worker, can a change be made? How is this handled?
 How much notice will you give me if a caregiver is leaving or will be unavailable for an extended period of time?
 What are your rates? Is there a minimum # of hours that I have to commit to each day/week/month?
 What happens if a caregiver calls out sick or has an emergency? Will you send another caregiver of equal skill and experience?
 Can I interview the caregiver(s) before I commit to using your agency? Do you check references, and can I get details of the caregivers experience and background? Can I get someone that has worked on similar cases / patients?
 What happens in case of an emergency? Can your caregiver provide hands-on help (i.e. lifting, CPR, etc.) or do they need to wait for emergency services?

The following are a few suggestions on ways to make the process of obtaining quality homecare a little easier and eliminate the unwanted surprises:
 Before a new caregiver starts, write out a basic daily and weekly schedule for the patient. Be sure to include a list of likes and dislikes with respect to both foods and activities. This will make the transition much easier and less stressful for the patient, and will allow the caregiver to get up to speed quickly.
 Remember that you are the customer – do not hesitate to express your needs and give feedback, especially if you are dissatisfied or worried. The matching of a caregiver to a patient is as much and art as a science, and clear, constructive feedback will help everyone settle in quickly.
 A note on 24-hour care; Live-in caregivers are often more convenient and cost-effective than utilizing multiple workers in 12-hour shifts. However, live-ins do require some time off and private space for meals, sleeping, and grooming, while 12-hour workers generally do not sleep while on duty. Therefore, if the patient requires lots of attention during the night, 12-hour shifts or an additional overnight caregiver may be the right solution. Live-in caregivers do need to sleep sometime in order to provide quality care!

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