Posts Tagged: home care

When to Use a Care Manager

Feeling confused about when to hire a Care Manager? We’ve compiled a list of situations when hiring a Care Manager would be beneficial:

1.     When you want to save money

Many people believe that engaging the services of a Care Manager is expensive and beyond their reach. This is often a short-sighted view. Hiring a Care Manager can often save money. Yes, the initial cost may be high and often not covered by insurance, but a Care Manager can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Care Managers know the medical system, senior living communities, and local specialists better than any other senior resource.  Recommendations by a Care Manager, who are usually trained as a social worker or is a registered nurse,  can save you from making uninformed and hasty decisions. They can also assist in developing plans for future care and act as an honest agent of communication between the power of attorney, financial planner, and elder law attorney.

2.     When you’re confused about services

Trying to find the right care for an older adult can be confusing. Good news – there are a lot of choices out there. Bad news – there are a lot of choices out there. Hiring a Care Manager to navigate through these unchartered waters is indispensable. A Care Manager knows their local resources, a company’s reputation, and cost factors. If staying within a certain budget or remaining within a specific insurance plan is important, a Care Manager can guide you through all your options.

3.     What specialist to choose?

If a specialist, new primary care physician, or alternative treatments are on the table, a Care Manager can provide recommendations about local experts. It’s important to recognize that a Care Manager is working on your behalf. They receive no compensation from an outside source. They work for you and are looking out for your well-being. Thus, Care Managers can recommend a specialist for a particular treatment. They can also attend the doctor’s meeting with you, and they can help you communicate with your healthcare professional.

4.     Feel exhausted?

Many caregivers feel obligated to take on too much responsibility in caring for an older adult.  This effort can be exhausting for everyone: the caregiver, the caregiver’s family as well as the older adult. A Care Manager can help share the work burden and suggest ways for you to focus on yourself. A Care Manager can also assist in building your “circle of care” enabling others to assist you with your caregiving duties by driving, making meals, or spending time with your loved one.

When a referral is needed, a Care Manager’s commitment is to recommend the most trusted and respected local care providers. A Care Manager does not accept referral fees or other forms of compensation from the service providers that are recommended. A Care Manager wants you and your family to be completely comfortable when placing your trust in us.

Top Tips for Finding the Right Caregiver

Most people want to continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible. For those who are older or dealing with a disability, remaining in their home can often be a challenge without outside help. For many individuals requiring assistance with their daily activities, they often rely on unpaid care provided by family members and friends.

More and more, older adults and their families are recognizing the benefits of hiring paid caregivers. Professional caregivers help seniors not only remain in their homes longer, but they provide additional comfort and safety. They also offer families peace of mind. More people are finding that they can afford paid caregivers because many state governments and insurance policies cover the cost of private outside help.

So how do you find the right caregiver for your particular situation? Here are a few tips for choosing an in-home caregiver:

1.     Assess home care needs

Before you go out looking for a caregiver, know exactly why a caregiver is needed. Is there a requirement for more assistance with health care, personal care or household care? Is home health care the primary focus with the additional support required for physical therapy or medication management? Or is there more of a need for non-medical personal care such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and meal preparation? Maybe the focus is on providing a companion to escort or drive the older adult to appointments and outings. Do they want someone to help with housecleaning, shopping, running errands, bill paying or money management?

Determining what is required and the type of experience and skill sets a caregiver has to offer is a crucial component in finding a caregiver who is the right fit. Selecting a caregiver that matches the needs of your loved one is crucial for helping their overall health and wellbeing.

2.     Prepare a job description

Take the time to write a job description. Be sure to include details such as a certain level of healthcare training (for example, Certified Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse) being able to drive or able to operate special equipment. Making a list of what the job entails can help the caregiver make an accurate decision about the duties required after the interview. For all parties involved it’s crucial, to be honest, and upfront about what tasks will need to be undertaken by the caregiver. You don’t want to hire a caregiver only to find out later that they are not qualified for the job. 

3.     Ask around

Research and get to know the resources in your community that hire caregivers. It is essential to ask family, your church group, neighbors, medical professionals and members of your local Village about the positives and the negatives of a caregiver agency to narrow down options. Read online reviews for agencies. If you know someone who has used a caregiver from an agency, follow up on that lead.

After determining which caregiving agency you’ll work with, ask to interview the potential in-home caregiver. Don’t go exclusively on a resume. Many caregivers can look good on paper, but will not be a good fit for your situation because of cultural, religious, social or some other reason. Once it’s time to schedule an interview, prepare a list of questions to ask a caregiver. You may wish to invite another family member or friend to provide a second opinion. An interview is a powerful tool for determining a person’s personality as well as how the caregiver will interact with your loved one. Be sure to ask any potential candidates if they have done the types of tasks required and about their qualification. You may wish to introduce your loved one during the interview and assess how the caregiver interacts to determine if this is the right fit. 

4.     Follow up

Once you have agreed upon a caregiver, be sure that the agency has checked references and conducted a criminal background check. You’ll want to be sure that the caregiver is licensed and bonded by the agency. If they are not, you may want to look somewhere else.

After, the caregiver has started to work, set up a schedule to monitor the quality of the services the caregiver provides. Schedule informal meetings by making regular home visits. Get periodic reports from the agency. If there are any problems, address them immediately. Do not wait around. Also, be sure you have a backup plan in case the caregiver or the agency fails to follow through or if problems arise.

At some point, you or your family may also want to hire an independent care manager to monitor the situation if you are unable to do it yourself.

Finding a caregiver that matches the personality and the needs of an older adult can be life-altering.  The right caregiver can enhance the quality of life for a senior while also putting the family at ease knowing that a loved one is in good hands.

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