Choosing a Home Care Provider
Hiring in-home support can be an overwhelming process. Families often don’t know what they’re looking for, how much to pay, what their options are, or how long the search process might take. Researching and weighing options can be demanding, not to mention the high stakes nature of finding the right fit.
Finding the right fit requires an understanding of your loved one’s unique needs and preferences, all while considering budget and what might be covered through insurance. Know Medicare insurance coverage is limited and only covers in home care for (typically) a few hours a week and for a limited amount of time after a hospitalization.
Thinking longer term, it’s ok to be careful and choosy. This is a very important hire since the person will be coming into the home and caring for your loved one in very intimate settings. It becomes tricky to find the right person who is qualified, wants to do it, and who is going to be able to connect and build a genuine relationship.
Think about the following:
Level of care
Does your loved one need help with daily activities like dressing and bathing? Does he/she need help administering medication or require lifting? Or maybe a companion to check-in, keep mom/dad engaged and give you peace of mind?
Does your family want someone who can stop in a few days a week or someone who will be there around the clock?
Does your family intend on paying for the aide out-of-pocket or will you need help navigating financial programs to help cover the cost?
Personality and interests
What are your loved one’s favorite activities? Do they enjoy walks, puzzles, or political conversation? Is your family hoping the “helper” will provide companionship instead of or in addition to physical care?
While each family’s needs are different, we thought it might be helpful to share four challenges to finding in-home support.
It’s not uncommon for families to want in-home aides or companions who speak another language. Bilingual adults can even revert to speaking their native language as they age or deal with progressing dementia. You may wish to request written communication and interviews in native language to confirm the provider can work well with your loved one.
Not all care needs are from 9 am – 5 pm. Sometimes, 24/7 care is required, while in other cases, older adults need someone to help with bedtime tasks. Nighttime help can be challenging to find. When looking for nighttime support, it is critical to set clear expectations on the schedule (i.e. 4, night shifts per week, including weekends) and what types of responsibilities are required.
What if your mom’s beloved home aide moves or leaves – what’s next? It can feel so daunting for a family to have to start over with a new person. But this is also an opportunity to find someone new who is equally, or even, more amazing! For instance, when Wellthy helps families replace an in-home aide, they like to get to know what features, personality traits, skills, or special ways made the former in-home aide work well.
Whether a family chooses in-home or a facility for hospice care, the decision to do hospice is a very difficult one. Don’t feel bad about being selective with hospice providers. This is an emotionally difficult time, and you’ll want to choose a hospice provider and the individual care providers (nurses, doctors, in-home aides, etc…) who your loved one likes. It is ok (and, reasonable!) to be picky!