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Steps to Hiring In-Home Help Through an Agency

nurse serving food to seniors

As time goes by and loved ones get older, it can become harder for them to comfortably complete various daily tasks. While family members can do everything possible to provide assistance, eventually the need may arise for extra help. Fortunately, many services provide in-home senior care in Seattle that gives families the assistance they need, as well as provide specialized aid. Hiring through an agency alleviates the need for you to personally hire, oversee, pay, or fire a caregiver, as the work is done entirely through the agency. A quick search can reveal a number of horror stories of in-home caregivers scamming their patients or committing other felony acts. While those stories are at a minimum, some trepidation is understandable. Those situations can be easily avoided by following these steps to hiring in-home help through an agency that make the process manageable and ensure that your loved ones will get the best personalized care possible. Keep in mind issues regarding insurance and liability. A reputable agency employs licensed, bonded, and insured at-home caregivers, who go through a rigorous screening process. This assurance provides you with peace of mind as you select your caregiver.

Determine the Type of Care You Need

Everyone’s needs vary depending on the person and their condition. Some just need company or assistance getting some errands done, while others with more severe health conditions need more skilled nursing in order to perform basic tasks. In-home help can meet all of those arrangements, but it’s important to set a care plan that doesn’t do too little or too much. Below are various types of in-home care providers:

  • Personal care aides. While their training levels vary, personal care aides (or PCAs) serve primarily as companions for your loved ones. They provide aid for bathing and dressing, meals, transportation, housekeeping, and conversation.
  • Home health aides. Similar to PCAs, home health aides (or HHAs) provide aid for the patient’s daily activities, but monitor their condition, manage their medications, and check their vital signs as well.
  • Licensed nursing assistants (LNAs). LNAs focus more on the medical aspects of caregiving, taking vital signs, monitoring infections, cleaning catheters, conducting exercises, setting up medical equipment, and administering some treatments.
  • Certified nursing assistants. In addition to the work that LNAs do, certified nursing assistants (or CNAs) provide personal care aid. This includes but is not limited to bathing, feeding, bathroom assistance, and changing bedsheets.
  • Skilled nursing providers. Also known as licensed practical nurses (LPNs), they provide direct medical care beyond the scope of the previous aides’ abilities. This includes administering IV drugs and shots, changing dressings, and educating caregivers and patients. In some cases, LPNs can provide occupational, physical, or speech therapy.
  • Registered nurses. This is the most advanced position, requiring a nursing diploma and all mandated licensing requirements. Registered nurses (RNs) administer medications, advise family members, and assist doctors in medical procedures when necessary.

The best bet if you’re not sure is to talk to your physician or get an assessment visit from a home care provider to determine what course to take based on your particular needs.

Background Checks and Evaluations

Having an agency do the heavy lifting can eliminate your need to personally hire a caregiver and oversee everything going on, but it still helps to ensure that whoever the agency picks meets the necessary qualifications. Ask the agency how they background check their caregivers and supervise the quality of care. If something seems off about either of those, you might want to consider looking to another agency. Another helpful thing you can do is check to see if the agency has any references from clients or partners that can verify their legitimacy.

Their experience with the agency can be a factor in your decision. Consider the training that caregivers are required to have in order to qualify for employment, as some extra criteria might be necessary depending on your needs. Someone with CPR or first-aid training can be helpful in the event of an accident while on duty, while in some cases special language skills would be required to communicate. You’ll want to make sure that whomever the agency selects has all the capabilities to properly care for your loved one.

Meet the Caregiver First

While a trusted background check can prove that a caregiver is competent at their job, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a good fit for your loved one. As such, a useful step to hiring in-home through an agency is to meet with the potential caregiver prior to their first shift to confirm a compatible relationship. The more they can connect with each other, the better the partnership will be. During the initial meeting, take a look at how the caregiver and care receiver are interacting with each other, as it can be a good indicator of how they will get along in the future. If the caregiver is hired, consider hanging around for the first few visits to help guide them through the process. The extra knowledge about how to care for your loved one in particular will prove beneficial to their abilities.

Ensure the Care Plan Is Followed

Given the work you’re entrusting to the agency and caregiver, you’ll want to make sure that what they’ve been hired to do is getting done. As an initial step, come up with a care plan with the agency and caregiver before the first shift. This will establish how your loved one’s needs will be handled and make sure nothing is left out. Additionally, make sure the agency is tracking the care plan’s progress to ensure that everything is being followed.

It can be daunting initially to entrust the care of your loved ones to anyone else. While hiring through an agency can make the process easier, it still comes with that uncertainty that they won’t be receiving the best care possible that fits them. Fortunately, those fears can easily be assuaged by taking more of a look into their hiring process, determining the care that fits your loved one’s needs the most, and ensuring a compatibility between the attendant and receiver. This way, you can maintain your current schedule and rest assured knowing that they are safe and well taken care of.

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