Who needs this Service
The Eldercare Locator is designed to help older adults and their families and caregivers find their way through the maze of services for seniors by identifying trustworthy local support resources. The goal is to provide users with the information and resources that will help older persons live independently and safely in their homes and communities for as long as possible.
Reduces Stress for Client and Loved Ones
Home Care services benefit a senior who has more needs than family members can provide due to work, or need time away from care responsibilities. Home care staff can help families to avoid the missing family time, children’s activities, and declining career opportunities.
If you’re considering home care services, ask the following questions that help to find the best provider for your needs.
If you’re recovering from surgery or need long-term care for chronic illness, or you have a loved one facing a similar situation, home care offers medical and household care.
The Eldercare Locator links those who need assistance with state and local area agencies on aging and community-based organizations that serve older adults and their caregivers. Whether an older person needs help with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver needs training and education or a well-deserved break from caregiving responsibilities, the Eldercare Locator is there to point that person in the right direction.
20 signs your parent may need help
- Recent hospitalization or injury
- Complicated medical issues or medications
- Missing appointments
- Dirty house or clutter piling up (including laundry)
- Spoiled food in fridge or expired food in cabinets
- Stacks of unopened mail or overflowing mailbox
- Late payment notices or mishaps with banking accounts
- Decreased participation in activities outside the home
- Loss of interest in normal activities or hobbies
- Comments of sadness or loneliness
- Unexplained bruising or potential fall hazards in the home
- Difficulty walking or balancing
- Infrequent bathing, showering or grooming
- Poor diet or decreased weight
- Unexplained dents or scratches on a vehicle, or a recent accident
- Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
- Forgetfulness, confusion or memory loss
- Overweight or underweight pets
- Decreased ability to keep up with chores, shopping and errands
- Forgetting to take medication or taking more than prescribed
How Do I Make Sure that Home Health Care is Quality Care?
As with any important purchase, it is always a good idea to talk with friends, neighbors, and your local area agency on aging to learn more about the home health care agencies in your community. In looking for a home health care agency, the following questions can be used to help guide your search:
- How long has the agency been serving this community?
- Does the agency have any printed brochures describing the services it offers and how much they cost? If so, get one.
- Is the agency an approved Medicare provider?
- Is the quality of care certified by a national accrediting body such as the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations?
- Does the agency have a current license to practice (if required in the state where you live)?
- Does the agency offer seniors a “Patients’ Bill of Rights” that describes the rights and responsibilities of both the agency and the senior being cared for?
- Does the agency write a plan of care for the patient (with input from the patient, his or her doctor and family), and update the plan as necessary?
- How closely do supervisors oversee care to ensure quality?
- Are agency staff members available around the clock, seven days a week, if necessary?
- Does the agency have a nursing supervisor available to provide on-call assistance 24 hours a day?
- How does the agency ensure patient confidentiality?
- How are agency caregivers hired and trained?
- What is the procedure for resolving problems when they occur, and who can I call with questions or complaints?
- Is there a sliding fee schedule based on ability to pay, and is financial assistance available to pay for services?
- Will the agency provide a list of references for its caregivers?
- Who does the agency call if the home health care worker cannot come when scheduled?
- What type of employee screening is done?
When purchasing home health care directly from an individual provider (instead of through an agency), it is even more important to screen the person thoroughly. This should include an interview with the home health caregiver to make sure that he or she is qualified for the job. You should request references. Also, prepare for the interview by making a list of any special needs the senior might have. For example, you would want to note whether the elderly patient needs help getting into or out of a wheelchair. If so, the home health caregiver must be able to provide that assistance.
Whether you arrange for home health care through an agency or hire an independent home health care aide on an individual basis, it helps to spend some time preparing for the person who will be doing the work. Ideally, you could spend a day with him or her, before the job formally begins, to discuss what will be involved in the daily routine. If nothing else, tell the home health care provider (both verbally and in writing) the following things that he or she should know about the senior:
- Illnesses/injuries, and signs of an emergency medical situation
- Likes and dislikes
- Medications, and how and when they should be taken
- Need for dentures, eyeglasses, canes, walkers, etc.
- Possible behavior problems and how best to deal with them
- Problems getting around (in or out of a wheelchair, for example, or trouble walking)
- Special diets or nutritional needs
- Therapeutic exercises.