Currently in the United States, the home care industry is experiencing a dramatic growth. In fact, professional home care is among the fastest growing industries, with over a million more caregivers needed by the year 2026. The population of seniors over age 85 is expected to increase sharply in the next three decades, and with the boom comes the need for professional home health care.
Given that more seniors require professional at-home assistance, hiring qualified help becomes critical. When families seek additional assistance for a loved one, interviewing potential home health care professionals leads to satisfactory results. The questions a family member poses to candidates help reveal what kind of services a caregiver provides, how the caregiver responds to crisis situations and how well the caregiver’s and care recipient’s personalities match.
Four types of questions to ask include straightforward questions (such as experience and background), behavioral questions that reveal personality (past actions best predict future actions), hypothetical questions (asking how the caregiver would react if certain scenarios took place) and skills questions that determine the caregiver’s knowledge and skills sets.
The caregiver you hire will likely perform multiple caregiving services, from meal preparation to cooking to assisting with the activities of daily living (including bathing, dressing and toileting). Tailor your questions to the services required by your loved one.
Daily & Non-emergency Medical Transportation
A typical service caregivers offer is transportation to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store or senior social events. Ensure you bring on board a caregiver who has a clean driving record. Ask if the individual has a driver’s license, insurance and reliable transportation. Find out whether the caregiver is comfortable driving the senior’s car or prefers to use her own vehicle to transport the care recipient.
Caregivers should be trustworthy individuals, since you allow these service providers into your loved one’s home. While most caregivers are reliable, a vulnerable senior with deteriorating cognitive abilities may fall to ruses. Ask the potential caregiver whether or not she will agree to sign a contract stipulating she will not accept monetary gifts from your aging loved one without your prior consent.
In addition, a bonded and insured caregiver offers families significant peace of mind. Many home care agencies are licensed, bonded and insured to provide maximum protection.
Skills, Experience and Training
Caregiving skills fall into many categories, from basic care (light housekeeping, cooking) to skilled nursing care (changing wound dressings, taking vital signs). If your aging loved one suffers from a severe ailment, such as a stroke or Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to find a suitable caregiver who has experience providing specific care relevant to the condition. Ask the potential caregiver what is his or her training, skill level and experience working with chronically ill care recipients.
Find out if the candidate has CPR training or is experienced with first aid. You have the option to offer the caregiver an additional payment to undergo training in these areas. Caregiving certification training is invaluable. If regular caregiver training sessions are available, find out if the candidate is willing to participate.
Cooking meals for a frail senior is a part of routine caregiving duties. An elderly individual who is unable to stand for long periods over a stove is unable to regularly prepare wholesome meals. Ask the potential caregiver if she has the knowledge and skill to cook nutritional dishes, especially if the care recipient has certain dietary requirements. Diabetic seniors, for instance, will require lean proteins (like skinless fish and chicken), healthy carbohydrates and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Caregiver shifts take on all forms, from respite care to 24-hour care to urgent care. Dive into a full discussion about the caregiver’s availability, including upcoming vacations and unplanned sick days. Can she provide care over a holiday weekend? Will the candidate, if hired, be available for respite care? Most importantly, ask whether or not the caregiver is available to work for the duration of hours the senior needs.
A suitable caregiver is someone who has an instant, or, alternately, a well-developed rapport with the elderly care recipient. If you hire a home care professional through an agency, coordinate with the agency representative to send different caregivers until a connection and trust are made between the senior and caregiver. Ideally, when a senior has bonded with a caregiver, the same professional should provide continual care. If you are working with an agency, ask about constancy of service from their caregivers.
Present the potential caregiver with a host of crisis scenarios and ask her how she would handle each one. Two examples of scenarios you deserve a solid answer to include the following:
- The 85-year old senior has fallen, fails to recognize the caregiver and responds with hostility. How would you handle this?
- An aging parent is reluctant to get out of bed, eat breakfast and get dressed in time for a physical therapy appointment within the hour. What is your response?
Every caregiver candidate should be thoroughly vetted prior to hire. Answers to hypothetical situations will steer you toward the right professional.
Whether you are hiring a caregiver independently or prefer to utilize the services of a senior home care agency, ask plenty of questions. The responses you receive are likely to lead to an enduring, positive caregiving relationship. When considering agencies, turn to Assisting Hands Home Care, a senior care agency with a staff of compassionate caregivers, all of whom are background checked and trained to offer the most optimal caregiving experience.
Assisting Hands Home Care’s professional in-home caregivers provide comprehensive elder care services, including assistance with the activities of daily living, transportation, meal preparation, light housekeeping and companionship. Certain caregivers at the agency specialize in dementia care, diabetes care and stroke care. When your situation calls for 24-hour care, respite services or live-in care, Assisting Hands Home Care will step in to take care of all your loved one’s needs.
Contact Assisting Hands Palm Beach by calling (561) 781-5885 for home care services from a licensed, bonded and insured home care agency serving North and Central Palm Beach County, FL area.
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