How Can You Be Sure Mom’s Getting the Best Care?

One of the most stressful things as a family caregiver is wondering if Mom is getting the best care. It can be hard to judge, especially if you’re caring from a distance. Asking Mom may not always reveal the truth, or really get at the quality level of the care.

Our team will share steps to ensuring the best home care for your aging parent (stay tuned for our upcoming article on ALF care). Hopefully, this will help you avoid some of the painful mistakes other families have experienced.

1. Do your homework in hiring home care.

It’s not just about issues like liability, worker’s compensation and taxes (though those are all important). A quality home care agency has put a lot of things into place to ensure things go well. They’ll do quality assurance. And, they’ll be there to help you resolve any issues that do come up swiftly. If you are the employer, you will be responsible for all those things and you won’t have the benefit of back-up care.

We’ve run across a lot of horror stories with private caregivers over the years, but more frequently it’s the seemingly small issues that become problematic for families. For example, we got a call from a daughter who was in a real bind with Mom’s home care situation. Unbeknownst to her, Mom’s caregiver had started shifting around her hours and not handling some of the tasks they’d discussed. She only found out when she noticed Mom wasn’t getting her bath and didn’t have fresh groceries. So, the daughter started taking time off work to fill in and handle these tasks. Though the caregiver wasn’t doing her job properly, she didn’t really know what to do because Mom liked the caregiver and was hesitant to make a change.

Grab a copy of our handout, Caregiver Concerns: Warning Signs and What to Do, to help spot potential problems early. Heed the warning signs and don’t let the issues get worse. Feel free to call us to talk with one of our care managers if you find yourself worrying or unsure of what to do.

Even with licensed agencies, you’ll find a lot of options. While meeting basic requirements, home care companies vary widely in terms of quality. You want to get familiar with the home care agency’s processes. Here’s a good basic list of questions to ask/consider. We’ll talk more about these below, including what we’ve put into place to ensure high-quality home care for all EasyLiving clients.

2. Make sure caregivers are trained to provide the home care your loved one needs.

The Special Skills Needed for In-Home Care

Matching and Putting Training to the Test

3. Set caregivers up for success.

Home care is very personal; you don’t want someone caring for your Mom without giving them direction. If you were hiring for an important position at your company, would you simply sit the person at a desk and tell them to get started? This is the most important job you’ll ever need someone to do. Without good information, the caregiver has no direction and you’re unlikely to get the best results.

Always set clear expectations from the start. Be honest and open in giving the full story about the situation. Be specific. Don’t expect the caregiver to read your mind.

4. Communicate and give feedback proactively. Continually monitor home care.

How will you know what’s going on with your loved one’s care? And, how will you communicate any concerns, needs or changes? This is all essential to establish up front.

EasyLiving uses an online care system called Clearcare, which offers a family portal. This keeps the whole home care team organized. It allows family members to see what’s going on and ask questions or provide information. It simplifies the communication and keeps everyone apprised of the client’s care.

When we started EasyLiving, we found that many caregivers were used to being provided little to no information before starting a job/shift. They would be late due to not having good directions. Or, they’d arrive and be caught by surprise by the client’s needs or situation. And, sometimes the client was even caught by surprise when no one informed them the caregiver would be coming at that time. These were basic things we knew we needed to do differently.

From the start, our mission has been focused on setting up our caregivers for success. This is our priority in everything we do. As such, we’ve set up systems that eliminate these seemingly simple but highly disruptive issues. And, with a focus on always improving, we monitor feedback and constantly check in to make improvements.

We know our caregivers have big hearts and want to do a great job. But, we also know that it takes a lot to be sure Mom is getting the best care. Caregivers need tools, support and feedback to do their best. And, you need good communication and information to have confidence Mom is getting the best care. A strong care team can do more than simply make sure Mom’s needs are met, they can enhance her life and give you peace of mind.

Read more, get resources or contact us for top-quality care: visit EasyLivingFL.com.