Choosing an expert in-home care provider service requires thoughtful consideration. There are several issues which need to be addressed in order to choose the right home care services. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before selecting a home care provider.
1. Are your Home Care Providers Certified?
The first thing to check for is whether your home care providers are certified by Medicare or not. A number of Medicare certified agencies also offer services which are usually not covered by Medicare. These services may include assistance with everyday activities and are often referred to as “private pay.” Make sure you are not hiring amateurs for something as serious as in-home care to waste your time and money.
2. Does your Home Care Service possess it’s own Employees or hire a contract staff?
Sometimes, home care providers are not able to discover satisfactory nursing or rehabilitation staff to meet the needs and requirements of their patients. In such a situation, these providers may require to contract with other providers or staffing agencies to utilize professional staff for part-time or full time basis. Whatever kind of staff they use, make sure they have enough credibility to successfully provide you the best of in-home care services and also cover your needs professionally.
3. Do they Document Clear and Specific Agreements?
Agreements are an important part of availing home care services. Your written agreement with the home care provider must deal with one or more of the following, if relevant:
- The time-period for which the quoted rate is guaranteed
- In case of any rate increases, there must be advance notices
- Rates for holidays, night shifts or emergencies should be mentioned separately
- Any other significant requirement
4. Safe and Secure Payment System
For your services to be covered by your Medicare insurance, you have to check whether your home care providers are Medicare certified or not. You need to inquire your home care providers whether they allow the process of “Assignment of Benefits” which allows the insurance company to pay the home care providers directly. While you are paying the agency directly, make extra efforts to completely understand all the payment terms. Information regarding the grace period from the end of the billing cycle or late fee come in handy for a smooth and swift payment process.
5. Make sure your loved one’s daily activities and health conditions are Monitored
Several in-home care providers make the home care staff responsible for keeping a daily log of activities and episodes. The home care providers at all times make notes about every individual patient’s mood, energy and appetite. You must inquire your providers, whether these logs are ever evaluated by a professional clinical staff for any future concerns.
Written by Michelle Y. Llamas of Drugwatch.com
Caring for an older loved one over the holidays can pose some unique challenges. In addition to looking out for the health of a loved one, caregivers also have to deal with the stress of caring and of the holidays. It can be easy for caregivers to become overwhelmed physically and emotionally, especially when caring for a loved one who may be mentally or physically impaired.
Even with these challenges, there are some steps that caregivers can take to ensure that the holidays are safe and enjoyable for loved ones as well as themselves. Here are a few suggestions.
Keep Family Gatherings Simple and Warm
People may have a tendency to go overboard during holiday get-togethers. There may be a lot of time spent planning, preparing food and travelling. This can cause stress for both the caregiver and the senior. Instead, focus on quality versus quantity.
Try having the parties or holiday dinners at the primary place where you care for your loved one; this will eliminate stress of travel. If a loved one suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, removing them from a familiar environment may cause unnecessary stress or confusion.
Instead of decorating the entire house, focus on a few lights, wreaths or garlands. Focus on enjoying the process, routine and time together rather than the result.
When inviting guests, rather than having a large number of people over at a time, try spreading out visits. This will keep the stress level down while still allowing your loved one to socialize and connect with friends and family. Make sure to plan gatherings in advance. This will allow for plenty of time to organize an event and get your loved one ready for it.
When it comes to dinner, suggest a potluck. This will cut down on the amount of work you have to do to organize and clean up. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If family members are not available, third-party companies can also provide caregiving assistance to reduce the burden on you.
Keeping Yourself and Your Loved One Healthy
Caregivers spend a good deal of time fulfilling the needs of others and often forget their own needs. Some can even feel guilty for doing something for themselves. The holidays should be a time for caregivers to relax and enjoy their time as well.
In the middle of all the rushing about, make sure to stop and take a breath. Loved ones depend on caregivers, so they need to stay healthy too. Make sure to eat a balanced diet, and get some exercise. This will also help you manage stress.
When it comes loved ones, be mindful of their diets and exercise as well. Overeating and drinking too much alcohol are common during the holidays. Both are risk factors for developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure – all diseases that seniors have a higher risk for. If they already have these diseases, poor diet can increase complications from these conditions.
Icy conditions may also make getting around safely more difficult. Caregivers need to be mindful of the slippery conditions when outdoors.
Older adults are also more susceptible to colds and viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting older adults vaccinated, and there are special, stronger doses to keep seniors from getting the flu.
Most importantly, caregivers need to remember to take time out for themselves. Schedule it into the day, and stick to it. Take time to be thankful for the things that bring happiness and joy this season. With some careful planning, caregivers can decrease holiday stress while keeping loved ones safe and healthy.
Michelle Y. Llamas is a published writer and researcher. She hosts Drugwatch Radio, a health podcast, and writes about drugs and medical devices for Drugwatch.com.