The decision to hire a caregiver for a loved one might come after long, slow deliberation, or it may need to happen quickly if a loved one experiences an unexpected hospitalization. Either way, families must consider a number of issues to make the best, most informed decisions for their loved ones.
Decide what caregiving looks like for your situation
Caregiving is a huge umbrella term that means different things to different people. Elisabeth Knight, clinical manager at Caring Excellence At Home, says, “What we normally recommend is asking what caregiving looks like, due to the fact that there is such a wide range of services and needs that can be provided.” For some people, caregiving is mostly companionship, while for others, caregiving means helping manage a health issue such as diabetes or stoma care. It is important for families to have an idea of what needs they think their loved one has prior to contacting a company or home health care agency.
Expect an assessment and a care plan
Most reputable home health companies will perform an assessment of the patient to determine what needs he or she has and then provide a care plan that details what caregiving will specifically look like. “Having some sort of a written contract is a good idea,” Elisabeth says. “It eliminates possible confusion. When a caregiver is supported and knows what their expectations are, they provide the best level of care.” A care plan not only protects the client, ensuring that caregiving requirements are spelled out, it also protects the caregiver from being tasked with services that are beyond his or her scope.
Care plans can change
Elisabeth says it is common for care plans to change. Sometimes this happens because a loved one isn’t keen on bringing a caregiver into the home so the family opts for care to be minimal at first. It often happens that once a caregiver develops a relationship with the client and provides care, the loved one realizes how beneficial it is, which means the care plan is expanded to include other duties. “I think you can almost guarantee that if somebody has had a trip to the hospital, they’re going to need an updated care plan when they get home,” she says.
BY CARRIE VITTITOE