As we age, one of the keys to living our best lives is anticipating needs and preparing for them before a medical crisis forces a hasty decision.
Having a candid conversation about what in-home assistance may be needed and researching options for care with the right home health agency creates a feeling of preparedness for you and for your loved ones. As the saying goes, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark."
Start with an objective assessment of your health, daily tasks and lifestyle. Address what may already be burdensome. Maybe routine chores like changing bed linens and other housework are more taxing. Are you avoiding extensive meal preparation at the cost of your nutrition? Is organizing your medication becoming increasingly more difficult? Are you socializing less?
If chronic or complex health conditions must be managed, finding an agency with qualified nurses is important. Some agencies will help you with this preliminary assessment and then will do a formal assessment when you’re ready to begin service.
We are social creatures, so pet care and companion care are crucial to alleviate boredom or isolation and provide stimulating enrichment activities. Keep that on the agenda when you speak with an agency.
Family situations change. Consider how much of that care a personal support network of family and friends can reasonably provide. If those caregivers can’t sustain the level of help needed for the long term, it’s time to consider reviewing in-home health care agencies.
Having a set of pertinent questions to ask home care agencies allows for better apples-to-apples comparisons. Start with your self-assessment needs and include basic administration questions. For example: How long has the agency been in business? Do they have state licenses? Do they carry general liability and Worker’s Compensation insurance? Also it is important to ask to see current results from state inspections.
Next, find out the agency’s scope of services. Not all agencies provide the type of services needed. Many agencies help with personal care, such as bathing, grooming, dressing and medication requirements. Companion care can include errands and shopping, light housekeeping and meal preparation as well as coordinating social events and appointments and helping with mental and physical exercise and fun leisure pursuits.
Some agencies offer more extensive life enrichment activities like drawing, painting or crafts that are relaxing and can help boost cognitive functioning. Ask the agency to explain how they assess clients’ needs for services and if a personalized care plan is developed and reviewed with the individual and, if desired, the family. Because needs change over time, it also is important to know whether or not the care plan is reviewed regularly and revised if necessary.
Are nurses available, at what skill levels, and are they agency staff or subcontractors? These could include nursing professionals who help with basic catheter care to registered nurses skilled in cardiac care, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions under a physician’s supervision. A few agencies offer wellness services such as nutrition counseling, exercise physiology, massage, physical therapy and brain-boosting activities. Discover whether the agency provides ongoing professional training for its caregivers.
Also, once a client’s needs are identified, how is that individual’s caregiver trained to meet those needs and their personal preferences? How often are they supervised? Ideally, a nurse provides both training and ongoing supervision. Are caregivers bonded and, when hiring, are references required and backgrounds checked?
Life happens sometimes, so know the agency’s after hours and emergency availability. It is best if you can reach someone 24/7 who can address your needs immediately. The agency also should readily tell you exactly what happens if your usual caregiver is not available or running late. Home care agencies ought to provide a pricing schedule and their process for handling complaints if something doesn’t go as expected.
In home health agencies are prepared to respond to urgent calls when someone is in crisis or pre-crisis and care may be needed immediately. However, scheduling an informative consultation ahead of time reduces stress by streamlining the process. It’s also comforting to know who will be caring for you and that they are familiar with you as well.
We all hope that we will never need “Noah’s Ark” but in order to live your best life being prepared is a must.
For more information visit us at https://youthfulaginghomecare.com/.
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