Have you considered hiring an in-home caregiver for a loved one? While hiring in-home help may be stressful at first, the benefits when you find the right person make the process worthwhile. Having the right support can lead to a healthy, happy patient who can age or heal in their own home.
When to Hire In-Home Help
It can be challenging to recognize when hiring in-home help is appropriate. It might seem like a drastic step to take, but in some cases, hiring an in-home care professional is essential.
It’s time to hire in-home help when you experience:
- Declining Personal Care. If your loved one avoids showers, bathing, or otherwise caring for their physical hygiene, it may be time to hire in-home help. The need for hygiene help and the refusal to ask for or accept it may stop someone from completing these basic personal care tasks.
- Decreased Domestic Attention. Are the dishes piling up, or are other chores going undone? Is the fridge chronically empty? These are signs that you or your loved one may need some help.
- Worsening Physical or Mental State. When a person’s physical or mental health declines to the point that you no longer feel comfortable with them being alone, in-home help can provide necessary safety and support.
- Onset of Illness or Injury. Have you or your loved one suddenly become ill or suffered an injury? In-home care can allow a person to heal at home instead of in a hospital.
- Diminished Capacity to Provide Support. Have you been caring for a loved one but suddenly find it increasingly more difficult to provide consistent care?. That may be a sign that you need an in-home caretaker.
If this checklist makes you realize it’s time to hire a care professional, don’t worry. You’re already on the right track. In-home help can provide a variety of services and take the pressure off of you as a caregiver.
What Does In-Home Help Provide?
There are different types of in-home care providers, so you must understand the distinctions to hire the right professional. Here are the types of in-home help.
Home Health Care
A home health care provider can help a patient recovering from an injury or dealing with a chronic illness. Take this route if your loved one has a declining physical or mental state. These trained medical professionals can provide a great healthcare experience in the comfort of the patient’s home.
A home health care provider can assist with:
- Taking vitals
- Monitoring chronic medical conditions
- Helping patients recover from acute medical issues (such as surgery)
- Caring for wounds
- Providing physical, occupational and speech therapy
- Managing medications
- Administering IVs and injections
- Educating patients, family members, and caregivers on treatments
- Communicating with physicians and nurses
- Coordinating or obtaining labs, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests
While a home health care provider focuses mainly on providing medical services, they may also provide limited personal care, such as a bath.
If your loved one hasn’t had a recent illness, surgery or fall but is experiencing a decline in their own personal care or ability to manage their domestic duties, you probably need a personal care professional. While these professionals don’t provide health care services, they help with many other personal care responsibilities.
A personal care professional helps with:
- Helping with daily activities like dressing, bathing, and grooming
- Assisting with ambulation, transfer, and fall prevention
- Helping the person safely manage tasks around the house
- Providing companionship
- Meal planning and preparation
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Medication reminders
A personal care professional can be a great option, but if you need help with a loved one in the last stages of their life, you need hospice care.
Hospice care professionals focus on improving the quality of life for people in the last phases of life.
A hospice care professional provides:
- Pain and symptom management
- Spiritual care, such as participating in conversations about the afterlife
- Medical care, such as administering medication
- Supporting the patient emotionally
- Coordinating with doctors and the patient’s health care team
- Helping with personal care
- Bereavement counseling
- Locating additional resources
- Needed medical equipment and supplies
If your loved one is nearing the end of their life, you likely need in-home hospice care.
Now that you understand the in-home care options, it’s time to review how to hire a professional to help your loved one.
Hiring In-Home Help
Deciding to get in-home help is a big choice. Hiring in-home help can be stressful. After all, you’re trusting that person with the well-being of someone you love, and the person will work in your loved one’s home. But you can feel secure about hiring help with thoughtful consideration.
Steps for hiring in-home help:
- Evaluate Your Care Needs. Before you hire a professional, you need to know your care needs. Carefully think through the tasks your loved one needs help with and document the requirements. Think about it as if you’re writing a job description. If you are still unsure, ask a home care provider if they can send a nurse to evaluate your needs.
- Assess Your Budget. Know what you can afford to pay, but also be fair with the price you settle upon. If you want a professional with more experience, you’ll likely need to pay a higher rate. Also, if you need in-home personal care, that will likely be out of pocket. However, skilled nursing or therapy needs provided by home health clinicians are often completely or partially covered by health insurance. Hospice care is also covered through health insurance.
- Outline Your Requirements. In addition to tasks, what other requirements do you have? Are there specific traits or knowledge the person needs to help your loved one? Write these down, so you have a list to reference.
- Seek Referrals. Do you have family or friends who have hired in-home help before? Ask them for referrals. If you don’t, perform online research and read reviews before interviewing. Aside from reviews, pay attention to client testimonials and references. This preliminary research will help you avoid interviewing caregivers that aren’t a great fit.
- Prepare Interview Questions. Before you interview an agency or caregiver, come up with a list of questions to help you gauge how they will handle the caregiving tasks.
- Interview Agencies and Caregivers. Interview agencies and caregivers until you find the right fit. Don’t forget to ask personality questions because these will help determine how well the caregiver will get along with the patient.
- Sign a Contract. Formalizing the details you’ve discussed in a contract will provide a firm foundation for your relationship with an agency or caregiver. This contract should include a detailed job description, hours, pay rate, pay schedule, and anything else you’ve spoken about during the interviews.
Private Employment vs. Home Care Agency
It’s essential to find a person who is the right fit for your needs. Whether you hire a private individual or employ someone through a home care agency is up to you. Here are some factors to consider when making this choice.
A private, independent home care professional is someone you locate and hire on your own. They work for themselves instead of an agency or organization.
Benefits of private employment include:
- Personal Selection. You get more freedom in selecting your home care professional.
- Flexibility in Services. You’ll have more ability to pick and choose the services you receive.
- Potential Cost Savings. Hiring an independent home care professional could mean cheaper costs.
Limitations of hiring independent in-home help include:
- Increased Liability. If anything goes wrong, you are liable. Whereas with an agency, the agency will be liable.
- Additional Responsibilities. The independent caretaker will answer to you as their employer. That may mean more responsibility and stress for you.
- Lack of Coverage. Your insurance probably won’t cover an independent home care professional, so the costs might actually be more.
- No Back-Up Help. If your independent caretaker gets sick or is otherwise unavailable, there’s no back-up staff to cover them. It’s left up to you to find care for that time.
- Limited Schedule Flexibility. An independent caretaker usually has a lot of other patients to care for, so their schedule is most likely not as flexible.
- Less Training or Experience. Almost anyone can become an independent caretaker, so they may have fewer qualifications.
Home Care Agency
A home care agency hires a variety of professionals for you to choose from. Since they’re the employer, you don’t take on as much personal responsibility or liability.
Benefits of a home care agency include:
- Screening and Hiring Processes. The home care agency takes care of the screening and hiring processes, meaning less responsibility for you. It also probably means these caretakers will have more training and experience.
- Alternate Caregivers. If a caretaker is unavailable, the home care agency has staff to cover for them. If you or your loved one doesn’t get along well with a caretaker at the agency, you can switch caretakers easily rather than starting the hiring process from scratch.
- Relationship and Conflict Management. If issues arise between the patient and the caretaker, a home care agency is highly skilled at managing and resolving the conflict.
- Insurance. Your insurance will likely pay for a home care agency, which can save you money.
- Flexibility in Care. As your needs change and evolve, the home care agency can quickly swap out one caretaker for another.
- Security. Home care agencies vet their caretakers to make sure you have a responsible and trustworthy person helping you or your loved one. An agency is much more secure than hiring independently.
Limitations of home care agencies include:
- Cost. An agency may cost more than an independent caretaker because the helpers are likely to have more and better experience. However, many are able to pass the cost on to your insurance provider.
- Turnover. You may lose a caregiver you love simply because they leave the agency.
Overall, going through an agency is much more secure and has many more benefits than hiring independently.
We Have the Help You Need
Whether you need a home health care, personal care, or hospice care provider, Providence Home Care has the help you need. We’ve been providing hope and healing to Oklahomans since 2002. We value every patient we serve and treat them with compassion and kindness. Contact us today to get the in-home help you need.