Caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s on your own can be challenging. When you’re the sole caregiver, you’re at a higher risk of caregiver burnout and it can be challenging to find time to take care of your own needs. Hiring in-home care, whether it is respite care or permanent, recurring care, will give your loved one a safer and more peaceful experience. When searching for a quality in-home Alzheimer’s care or memory care agency, follow these tips.
Ask for Recommendations From a Medical Professional
Rather than Googling “in-home care in Arizona” and choosing the first result, you should carefully consider all of your options. You can start by asking your loved one’s physician or another medical specialist for recommendations. A social worker or elder care agency can also provide advice on where to begin your search.
If you don’t have any professionals to ask in person, you can use a referral agency like Care.com, the Family Caregiver Alliance, Medicare’s Home Health Compare, a local in-home healthcare registry, or a local social services agency.
Check Reviews and Reputation
When you have a list of potential in-home caregivers, you will want to check their online reviews and testimonials. Keep in mind that every company occasionally gets bad reviews. When looking at reviews, you should keep an eye out for red flags and for whether the agency has responded to the review.
If they have not responded or their response is rude, defensive, and makes no attempt to right the situation, that is a red flag in itself. Other red flags are:
- Allegations of health and safety issues with caregivers
- Claims that a loved one was injured or poorly cared for
- Allegations of abuse or fraud
- Claims of unfair billing practices or breach of contract
- Complaints about professionalism, punctuality, hygiene, experience, or compassion of caregivers
- Lack of communication or poor communication skills
You should also check for complaints or violations against the business. Check websites like Angi, the Better Business Bureau, and local caregiver registries for complaints and violations. You should also confirm that the agencies are insured. Their website should confirm that they carry insurance to protect the caregivers and clients.
Evaluate Their Experience
A reputable Alzheimer’s care or memory care agency will provide information about their experience in the industry. Their website should outline how many years of experience they have, how they began, how they have evolved, and what services they provide. It should also outline any special certifications, licenses, and other credentials they have.
Assess Their Staff
Next, consider their staff. If their website doesn’t have any information about their staffing, training, and evaluation processes, make sure to ask about it during a consultation. You want to confirm that their staff is required to pass a criminal background check and DMV record checks. They should have car insurance and liability insurance. Confirm that each in-home caregiver is fully screened and vetted, drug tested, and highly trained.
Schedule a Consultation
All elder care agencies should offer consultations. This consultation gives you the chance to ask questions, discuss their caregiving philosophy, evaluate their services and resources, meet their staff, and discuss their fees.
Keep in mind that not all consultations are free. You will also need to consider transportation to and from these agencies; if some are far away, it may be difficult to schedule an in-person consultation. If that is the case, you should ask about scheduling a phone or video consultation.
Ask a Lot of Questions
During the consultation, you have the opportunity to ask questions. Make a list of questions to ask ahead of time, so you won’t forget anything. Some examples of questions to ask a potential in-home care agency are:
- Is the agency licensed?
- Is the agency accredited by any organizations?
- Are the caregivers supervised or evaluated by registered nurses or licensed physicians?
- Does the agency perform background checks prior to hiring in-home caregivers?
- Does the agency schedule an initial meeting between the family and caregiver?
- Do caregivers create personalized care plans for each patient?
- How do the caregivers confirm their identity when hired and when arriving at the home?
- What can I do if I am not happy with the caregiver assigned?
- How does the caregiver document services provided each day? Do they log activities, mood, behavior, and other notes?
- Does the agency offer 24/7 in-home care services?
- Does the agency have special qualifications, certifications, or credentials in Alzheimer’s care or memory care?
- How long has the agency been in business?
- Is the agency Medicare-certified?
- What insurance plans do you accept?
- What financing services do you offer?
- How do you handle billing and expenses?
- How do you recruit caregivers?
- Do you have a ‘rights and responsibilities of providers, patients, and caregivers’ document?
- Are caregivers insured and bonded?
- How are caregivers trained, and how do you determine that they are capable of providing services?
- How do you monitor and evaluate caregivers’ performance?
- Do you work with other local agencies and organizations to coordinate care and other services?
Include Your Loved One and Family in the Decision
If possible, you should include your loved one and other family members in the decision. Have them go with you to initial consultations with caregiving agencies. Involve them in writing up questions and evaluating the answers. Invite them to spend time with your loved one and their caregiver when one is chosen.
Review Their Contract or Terms of Service
The agency you choose should have a written contract or terms of service that patients and their families enter into. Ask to see a copy of one during your consultation. You want to make sure your rights are protected and that you have recourse should something go wrong when your loved one is in their care.
Schedule a Home Safety Evaluation
Once you have chosen an in-home care agency, schedule a home safety evaluation. This is a thorough, comprehensive assessment of the home’s interior and exterior. During the evaluation, a professional will check for health and safety hazards like loose floorboards, damaged carpeting or rugs, trip hazards, poor lighting, broken doors and windows, and more.
They will give you a detailed report of their findings and make recommendations. Most agencies who offer this service can also refer you to a reputable local handyman to make necessary repairs, such as installing railings and safety bars.
Learn More About In-Home Dementia Care in Southern Arizona
If you’re looking for a reputable, experienced in-home care agency to provide Alzheimer’s care or memory care in Southern Arizona, contact us at Placita In Home Care. We specialize in compassionate, quality home care services. Our caregivers undergo extensive background and MVD record checks as well as thorough training. We are active with local senior services that provide low or no-cost social and educational opportunities for seniors, including art classes, social hours, and special interest clubs.
Our in-home care services include companionship and social engagement, assistance with activities of daily living, thorough monitoring and reporting, meal preparation, light housework, medication assistance, and transportation. To schedule a consultation for dementia care in the Tucson or Phoenix metro area, call us today or fill out our contact form online.