COORDINATING CARE THE HOME CARE WAY
What if your aging mother needed care tomorrow? Where would you turn to get her the care and medical or assistive services she needed? Navigating the elder care system and all the options now available to families can be overwhelming, especially when the needs are immediate. This is one of the important reasons why home care agencies such as AAging Better In-Home Care, can be the answer to a significant dilemma for families looking for immediate care for their loved one, versus being lost in a maze of “care” choices and not knowing which way to turn. Care coordination from a home care agency can include skilled nursing by RNs, physical therapy or occupational therapy, speech therapy and, of course, all the normal chores that need to be accomplished around a home, such as laundry, meal preparation, cleaning and dusting. Home Care agencies can also coordinate community services for clients, such as:
Medical care with specialists like dentists, optometrists, podiatrists and audiologists
Assistance with making or keeping appointments (many elderly often forget they’ve made an appointment and fail to keep them as a result)
Coordinating medicines and checking for contraindications
Nutritional counseling and/or nutritionists
Bill paying and checkbook balancing (with a fiduciary or with permission from family members if done by the home care agency’s caregiver)
Financial planning and advice
Home renovations tailored to “aging in place”
Meal delivery, e.g., Meals on Wheels
Ancillary medical supplies (provision and delivery)
In-home medical equipment (suggestions, delivery and maintenance)
Emergency alert response services like Lifeline, MedAlert, etc.
Health home monitoring services
Being aware of all the available community services is an important step toward successful aging in place. It is also important to understand that not all home care is alike. Choices in home care can be confusing, although there are two main types: registries and private duty agencies. Registries, also known as referral services or nursing registries, match independent contractors to clients and patients. These workers are not employed by the registry as employees; instead, the registry serves as the middleman to match independent workers to clients seeking home care and does not cover the expenses of workman’s comp, taxes or any employer-mandated coverage. On the other hand, private duty agencies, such as AAging Better, provide caregivers who are fingerprint background checked by the FBI before being hired, are bonded, licensed and insured. Training, supervising and discipline are also administered by the agency. And probably most importantly, agencies also ensure that all shifts are covered with an alternate caregiver when the scheduled caregiver calls in sick or does not show up for the shift for whatever reason. Private hires – caregivers hired out of a newspaper ad or through a referral from family, friends or associations – often present the same risks and liabilities as those obtained through a registry. Experience across the Home Care industry has shown that rather than retain the services of a qualified Home Care agency, more risks come when families try to hire privately, including the increased potential for theft and instances of abuse or exploitation of the loved one. If or when you need an agency with a reputation for providing highly trained and compassionate caregivers to help coordinate or provide your loved one’s care, contact AAging Better In-Home Care. Call (208) 777-0308 in the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls or Hayden areas; (208) 263-7889 in the Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry or Priest River areas; or (208) 784-1505 in the Kellogg, Wallace or Pinehurst areas.