Recently our CEO, Gerri Flowers, was asked to speak at the monthly executive coalition meeting of the African American Health Program (AAHP). Pat Grant, Chair of AAHP, asked Gerri to speak on the important topic of home health care during Home Health Care and Hospice Care Month (November).
Gerri was joined by Assistant Under Secretary for Health and Chief Medical Officer U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Erica Scavella for an in-depth discussion on healthcare.
First Four Questions People Ask About In-Home Care
Deciding if your loved one needs care can be difficult. The need can come on suddenly and be in a time of crisis. There are likely decisions you will need to make that you didn’t even consider just days or weeks before.
This is when you turn to the professionals for help. Comfort Home Care has been providing support to our community since 1999 and have had hundreds of thousands of conversations just like the one you are considering.
There are four primary questions that most, if not all, people who are considering in-home care need to know the answer to.
- What does in-home care entail?
- Are there different types of in-home care?
- How do I know if Mom/Dad needs assistance?
- How do I start the conversation with Mom/Dad?
Gerri’s life’s work has been taking care of others when they need us the most. She has made it her mission to educate our communities on how to obtain the best care and maintain their health.
In her conversation during the AAHP meeting, Gerri answered the most pressing questions people have when thinking about supplemental care.
What Is In-Home Care?
During her interview, Gerri explained the variety of services in-home care agencies can offer to help people recover from injury or surgery, for those who are disabled, aging, and those who are coming to the end of their lives. The goal of in-home care provider is to help their clients continue to live as independently as possible while staying healthy and happy – both mentally and physically.
Caregivers can provide these services whether the individual is still living at home or has moved to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).
The primary service offered is usually assistance with the Activities of Daily Living:
Types of In-Home Care
There are two primary types of in-home care providers – the independent (private) home health aide and the home health care agency.
While the care of client may be similar, there are some very distinct and significant differences in these two options.
- You are responsible for all the details of setting up care
- Searching for candidates
- Conducting interviews
- Drawing up contracts
- Paying for services
- Finding alternative solutions for illness or vacation (or fill in yourself)
Home Health Care Agency
- They own the responsibility for the care of your loved one
- They manage all aspects of hiring and employing a caregiver(s)
- Finding the right candidates
- Verify qualifications
- Background checks
- Check references
- Verify licensure
- Finding the right candidates
- They manage schedules including backfilling for vacations or due to illness
- They provide supervision and quality control
It also important to point out that with an agency, your caregiver will be licensed and certified. Whether they are a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) or a Home Health Aide (HHA) they will have completed extensive training both in the classroom and hands-on through a state approved program. They also complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education yearly.
An independent care giver may not have the same qualifications. And you may find doing background checks to be difficult.
How Do You Know If Mom/Dad Needs Assistance?
This can be a tough one. Sometimes it’s hard for Mom/Dad to admit that they are having difficulty and need help. Sometimes it’s hard for us to admit the same thing.
The best way to answer this question is with a series of more questions:
- Have you noticed changes in Mom/Dad – eating habits, weight, mood, mobility?
- Have you noticed changes in way Mom/Dad’s appearance – clothing, hygiene?
- Has Mom/Dad become forgetful?
- Has Mom/Dad started to withdraw from family and/or friends?
- Has Mom/Dad fallen?
We created our Free Assessment: The Activities of Daily Living to help you understand your loved one’s capabilities and start the conversation. If they won’t participate, you can always take the test for them scoring them as you see them.
Call their doctor and share the results of the assessment. Get their opinion on in-home care. If they agree Mom/Dad could use some help, then schedule an appointment and have their care team make the suggestion.
How Do I Start The Conversation?
- Take the assessment.
- Introduce the topic slowly and gently. Be Patient.
- Involve Mom/Dad’s care team. There is level of authority with doctors, nurses, physical therapists, care managers that Mom/Dad will respond to…sometimes more than you.