Many people unexpectedly find themselves in situations where they need help from child care providers, caregivers, companions, or home health aides. Because most of us don't have experience navigating the realm of domestic professional services, it's often difficult to know where to turn. A good home care agency can be a godsend, providing us with highly qualified assistants and much-needed peace of mind. Here, then, are answers to common questions about a home care agency...
Who Uses a Home Care Agency?
The best home care agencies serve a variety of people, such as professional couples, single parents, retired seniors, the terminally ill, and those who are developmentally or physically challenged.
For example, a professional couple might require the services of a nanny, who can care for their children, as well as do light housework and cook. A single parent may need child care providers who can come in and help when two hands and one heart just aren't enough. A mother who works from home could use a mother's helper to run errands, help with meals, and do the laundry.
For adult children whose parents are infirm, a home health aide can provide respite from the responsibilities associated with caring for elderly parents. For adult children who live a long distance from their parents, having a caregiver can bring peace of mind. And seniors who prefer to live at home rather than in a retirement home or assisted living facility can often use a helping hand.
What Services Does a Home Care Agency Provide?
You can think of a home care agency as a kind of employment agency, in that it provides highly qualified child care providers, nannies, a home health aide, a nurse aide/assistant, and other types of caregivers.
In the realm of health care, assistance can encompass everything from medication supervision to incontinence assistance and from meal planning to accompanying someone to doctors' appointments. Child care can incorporate everything from babysitting to full-time live-in nannies.
A good home care agency provides caregivers for a wide range of needs, including short-term or long-term, part-time or full-time, and live-in or live-out. They should also be able to accommodate your needs in terms of the times of day you need assistance, such as day shifts, swing shifts, or overnight service.
How Do I Know Providers are Qualified?
It's crucial to find a home care agency that has rigorous screening procedures. All home care providers, for example, should have verifiable references, an impeccable background check, a clean driving record, and CPR training. If you need a Certified Nurses' Assistant or a Certified Home Health Aide, the agency should provide you with their credentials.
In addition to the caregiver's qualifications, you should ensure that he or she is a good "fit" with your loved one. Therefore, the home care agency should give you the opportunity to interview several qualified providers, either in your home or in the agency's office. Only when you are comfortable with both the caregiver's qualifications and their personality should you consent to hire him or her.