February 19,2021 will be National Caregivers Day in this country, so in Oxford and elsewhere around the U.S., people will take the opportunity to recognize the immense contribution made to society by these dedicated professionals. Senior home care professionals have both the necessary skills and the right temperament for providing care, and that includes being patient, understanding, compassionate, and gentle. When it comes time for you to choose the right caregiver for your senior loved one, you’ll need to be thorough and cautious, so that you find just the right person for your needs. Here are some tips on how you can find the best person to provide care for your family member.
Decide on a type of caregiver
There are a number of different types of caregivers available, and you will have to choose the specific type which matches the level of skill you need, as well as your budget. Personal care aides are not licensed but do have various levels of training and experience. They’re capable of assisting with dressing and bathing, providing companionship, performing light housekeeping, preparing meals, delivering transportation for appointments and shopping, and for taking neighborhood walks with your loved one.
Licensed nursing assistants have some level of medical training and are capable of monitoring vital signs, changing dressings, monitoring infections, administering some types of treatment, and performing tasks under the direction of a registered nurse. Licensed practical nurses are licensed by the states they work in, and meet federal guidelines for safety and health. They can provide a level of medical care which home health aides cannot, for instance administering IV drugs, changing dressings, delivering shots and feedings, and educating patients and their caregivers.
Some LPNs are also skilled in physical therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy. Registered nurses hold a degree in nursing and will have passed an examination issued by the National Council Licensure. They can provide direct care, administer medications, operate medical equipment, assist doctors with medical procedures, and advise family members on the proper care for their loved ones.
Set a standard of care requirements
A good preliminary step four choosing a caregiver for your senior loved one would be to establish exactly what kind of care they need. For instance, if your parent is still very mobile and able to provide for most of their own daily needs, you might only need a caregiver who can provide companionship and assist with light housekeeping.
A parent who was recently returned home from the hospital after surgery might require a caregiver who can perform physical therapy with them as they recover from surgery. If your parent is in some stage of dementia, it might be necessary to have a caregiver in residence so that 24-hour care can be delivered. Any senior who becomes disoriented at times during the day could be at risk for having some kind of accident or wandering dangerously around the neighborhood.
The type of care which your loved one requires should be a primary consideration when you’re looking for the right kind of caregiver. You’ll need to match up the needs of your parent with the skills of a caregiver so that you’ll be sure of providing adequate coverage. In this regard, it might be helpful to prepare a list of care needs that your loved one has and to use this when interviewing candidates for the job as caregiver.
How to conduct your search
In terms of how you conduct your search for a caregiver, you’ll need to decide whether you want to work with a staffing agency, or whether you prefer to interview candidates yourself. There are several advantages of working with a staffing agency, beginning with the fact that all candidates will have been pre-screened, and should have the relevant work experience you’re looking for.
If your staffing agency caregiver happens to be sick on any given day, there should be no trouble with the agency providing a backup caregiver, even on short notice. When your loved one has a change in their medical condition and requires a higher level of skill and care in their treatment, it should be fairly easy to work with your staffing agency to find a professional with that higher skill level.
You might also want to use a home healthcare registry, whose function is to connect families with independent contractors who provide home health services. All you have to do is provide the registry service with the kind of skills you’re looking for in a candidate, and they can deliver you a list of qualified individuals. Once the match has been made, the registry service drops out of the picture and all other negotiations occur between you and the caregiver.
There are some benefits to be derived from working with a registry, the first of which is that you should be sure of finding a caregiver with the skills you’re looking for. It should also be fairly easy to find a part-time caregiver or someone who can work on your specific schedule. Since you won’t be paying staffing agency fees, it’s entirely likely that you’ll find a caregiver who can provide adequate service, but still cost less than the staffing agency personnel.
Another subtle difference of hiring through a registry is that the caregiver you hire is not obliged to follow agency rules, and as an independent, will be free to work with you so that whatever works best for everyone can be implemented. Working through a registry will eliminate a great deal of the legwork you’d have to do on your own if you directly hire a candidate.