Homecare Agencies – Ensuring the Highest Level of Care in the Home Environment

Homecare relates to expert supportive, social and medical care which is provided in the comfort of the patient’s home environment. Being available for long and short term contracts, homecare agencies are able to provide the level of care required to ensure that your loved ones receive the highest level of medical care. Whether there is a requirement for short term medical care and assistance with the recovery process after elective surgery, or longer term expert care is required to aid in rehabilitation from a disabling accident or illness, homecare agencies have professional healthcare staff to ensure that this becomes a reality. Furthermore, for those individuals and couples who require assistance in their daily routines as a result of aging, homecare agencies provide a range of medical, grooming and supportive services that enable senior citizens to remain in the community that they live in, which provides valuable social and support networks.

Homecare agencies offer a diverse range of services, including outpatient and post surgery care, prenatal and postnatal care, companionship, personal grooming, housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation, mobility assistance and the delivery of medication. The diverse range of medical staff that homecare agencies provide, including assistants, helpers and qualified nurses ensures that the needs of the patient is matched with the level of care required.

Healthcare policies worldwide are being aimed at reducing the pressure on public hospitals and medical facilities by implementing a process of reducing the timeline for hospital visits, admissions and surgical procedures, while placing greater responsibility for mobile medical services to provide the care that patients require in their home environments.

Furthermore, those senior citizens whose only option in the past was to attend a specialist aged care retirement home now have the option to stay in the family home and receive the care and support they require, whether this is on a temporary or full time basis. The results of this is an increased demand across the medical spectrum for qualified, trusted and experienced healthcare staff to work for homecare agencies in support of the delivery of the highest quality of medical care in a patients home.

Homecare agencies are providing those who have previously retired from the workforce or who are planning on re-entering after time away for family or personal reasons, an opportunity to secure a position, either full time or part time, that enables them to earn a reliable income from a rewarding career. Speak to a specialist recruitment agency today to see what options are available to you.

What is Exactly Homecare Assistance?

Homecare Assistance is one aspect of life that is becoming common place. As members of our population grow older the need for assistance in living is increasing. Most seniors would prefer to remain living in their home instead of being placed in a residential or assisted-living facility. By providing them with Homecare Assistance these seniors are able to continue to lead their everyday lives.

Caregivers who provide Homecare Assistance help with a variety of non-medical related tasks and daily activities. They can assist with personal hygiene, meal preparation, light housekeeping, companionship and even medication distribution. Even though they are considered Homecare providers, these caregivers often provide assistance outside the home with fulfilling transportation needs, grocery shopping or accompanying their care recipients on social activities.

Choosing to provide your loved one with Homecare Assistance is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Extensive research should be done before deciding on an agency to provide service. Many local senior citizen support groups can provide a list of companies in the area that are capable of meeting your needs for Homecare Assistance. Another good source of information is friends and neighbors who may have personal experiences of their own to share.

Once you have decided on a service provider, make sure they meet all necessary State and Federal requirements and if Medicaid is involved then meeting additional requirements are also necessary. A reputable agency will be able to provide you with history about the company, a list of references and documentation certifying their eligibility to provide these services. All employees of the company should have been subjected to an extensive background check prior to their employment and the agency should be able to provide proof of this as well.

The most important aspect of Homecare Assistance is that it meets the needs of the family member receiving the care. They are first priority and need to feel comfortable with the individual who is chosen as the caregiver. A pre-employment interview is essential to check compatibility and to review any concerns that may be present. A level of comfort needs to be established between the caregiver and recipient in order for it to be an effective working relationship. It is important to address any concerns that your loved one may have, do not be dismissive to any ideas, suggestions or concerns they may have.

All caregivers who provide Homecare Assistance are trained by their employer along with other training they may have received. However, it will be necessary to provide them with an outline of your expectations along with a daily schedule of a typical routine. It will most likely be necessary for you to spend a day with them prior to their working independently so you can address any questions or issues that may arise.

Choosing the right individual to provide Homecare Assistance is very important and can be time-consuming but when it is done successfully then the rewards far outweigh the effort and all parties involved can be at peace knowing that everything is in good hands.

Homecare Services – Selecting a Senior Homecare Specialist

Homecare services are a critical sector of the healthcare providers across the country. Selecting a reliable caregiver for the seniors in your life is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Getting an impression of a senior homecare specialist over the phone is nearly impossible. Take some time to do additional research so you can be confident in the quality of the care your loved ones receive. To save yourself a considerable amount of time and frustration, follow these guidelines when sorting through service providers in your area.

1. Determine your own level of involvement. Homecare providers range from full-service to referral agencies, while others put you in touch with private caregivers for hire. If you don’t have time to screen potential employees, work with a company that can match you with a reliable specialist who can meet your needs.

Full-service homecare services are ideal if you can’t be a hands-on employer. They will check caregiver references, handle finances including payroll, taxes, and workman’s compensation. They also take a great deal of responsibility when it comes to supervising the placement and continued success of a caregiver in your home. If you do have the ability to be more involved, you can pursue a private-hire caregiver that you may have learned about through a recommendation or healthcare group. Keep in mind that the background checks and interviewing of potential employees will fall to you, as will payment and insurance. A referral agency offers a middle-of-the-road option, and will handle employee selection and placement before turning over the professional relationship to you.

2. Be clear about your expectations. Before contacting any of the homecare services mentioned above, determine exactly what the needs of you and your loved ones entail. When will the caregiver need to be in your home? Be sure to make a list of duties that will fall to the caregiver, and highlight any specialized care that the senior requires. The more specific you can be, the better your chances of finding a qualified employee with whom you can develop a long-standing professional relationship.

3. Ask questions. Be inquisitive and ask as many questions as necessary to confirm the reputation of the homecare services you investigate. How long has the agency been providing in-home senior care? How extensively are employees screened? Can the agency provide references to you? If emergencies arise during or after work hours, how are they handled and who is responsible for contacting you? Are caregivers supervised regularly when working in private homes? Don’t forget to ask about payroll policies so that you are aware of how the financial aspects of the business deal will be handled.

4. Exercise caution and common sense. It is a good idea to meet with the caregiver in person prior to the start of any homecare service. You want to ensure that you find someone with a positive personality who you will be comfortable working with. Additionally, remember that this employee will likely have access to your home when you are away, so plan accordingly. Keep valuables locked away, and monitor your credit card and bank statements regularly.

Home Safety Tips and Private Duty Homecare

Home accessibility for the disabled is a key component to their ability to live happy and healthy lives. There can be many dangers lurking in a home that can cause serious injury to an elderly or disabled family member. If your loved one has recently become disabled, or if you just want to learn more about private duty homecare services, the tips below may help you make her home a safer place to live.

Stairs
Stairs are particularly dangerous for someone with a walker or a wheelchair. If she lives in a two story home and needs to access the upper or lower levels, the first step is to secure the staircase. Installing a ramp would be helpful for a small staircase, like those leading outside. A lift may be necessary for a large flight of inside stairs. These lifts can get costly, so other options such as relegating the person to one floor may be more feasible. In either case a stair guard is important to dissuade her from using the stairs on her own.

Pathways
Either you or the private duty homecare agency will also need to clear pathways to essential areas in the home to ensure that she can easily move throughout the house. This may mean removing or repositioning furniture, removing or taping down rugs, widening paths, securing cords that may get in her way, and removing excess clutter. These safety measures will make it easier for your disabled loved one to get around all areas of the home.

Handrails
Handrails should be installed in all hazardous areas-especially bathrooms and kitchens. In the bathroom handrails will help provide support and prevent falls. Handrails should also be placed in any areas that may be difficult for her to access. They may be particularly helpful in the kitchen if she needs to cook for herself. Handrails are essential in any place that a disabled individual may need to feel steady and safe.

Kitchen
Make sure the kitchen is accessible for the disabled person. Keeping all necessary kitchen items in lower drawers and cabinets will help them tremendously. Making sure there is clear space to prepare food while being able to sit down is essential as well. You can purchase a reaching aid to provide a way for a disabled individual to reach higher shelves. If you don’t feel comfortable with your disabled loved one cooking alone, hiring a trusted private duty homecare services company may be the best option.

Bathroom
Toilets and showers are unsafe places even for the most careful elderly or disabled person. Installing handrails inside and outside of the shower or tub is vital to her safety. Buying a toilet seat lift can help the disabled person easily get on and off the toilet. If it is reasonable, a walk-in tub or shower can be installed to help her access this area. Safety chairs and non-slip mats inside the shower or tub will also provide additional support and will decrease the likelihood of a fall. Make sure all faucets are clearly marked hot and cold and are easy to turn on and off. Since bathrooms are usually small, keeping the area clutter-free is essential. Any unnecessary items or shelving should be removed. Contacting a private duty homecare company to assist the disabled person with bathing can be very helpful as well.

Lights
Keep all areas well lit. Many disabled people have a hard time maneuvering, so keeping pathways clearly lit will help them get around without problems. Secure table lamps and floor lamps to ensure they do not fall and cause a fire. All wall switches should be lowered to help with accessibility.

Most of these changes can be made quickly for little to no cost and will help you to create a safer place for your disabled family member. Many of the tools you will need may be purchased at a pharmacy and insurance may even cover them. Check with your loved one’s insurance company to see what they may cover. If you are unable to make some of these changes or if your disabled family member needs additional care, check with your local private duty homecare company at http://www.CambrianHomecare.com or by calling 877.422.2270.

Homecare Agencies Help Prevent Senior Abuse

Senior abuse affects thousands of elderly adults every year, often in their own homes, relatives’ homes, or long-term care facilities. Seniors can become victims of abuse for a wide variety of reasons. Since they are typically not as strong and may not see, hear, or think as well as they once did, they are especially vulnerable to both active and passive attacks. One of the best ways to prevent elder abuse in our area is to hire a trusted homecare agency to care for your loved one and watch out for the tell-tale signs of senior abuse.

Signs of Senior Abuse:
These are the most common types and warning signs of senior abuse:
• Physical senior abuse: Physical abuse can range from unexplained scars or bruises to sprains and even broken bones. Other signs of physical senior abuse include the improper use of prescribed medications as indicated by having too many or too few pills remaining, and evidence of restraint such as having rope marks on wrists.

• Emotional elder abuse: Psychological abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse, and can be both verbal and nonverbal. Verbal senior abuse can include intimidation through constant threats and yelling to the use of humiliation and ridicule. Nonverbal emotional senior abuse can include isolation from family and friends or ignoring basic needs. A homecare agency can provide the type of daily support many seniors need and help prevent emotional abuse.

• Financial senior abuse: Since most seniors are on a fixed income, financial abuse can be especially devastating. Signs include suspicious changes in insurance policies, wills, titles, and power of attorney; large amounts of cash missing from the senior’s bank accounts or home; and payment of unnecessary good, services, or subscriptions.

• Healthcare fraud and abuse: Medical identity theft and healthcare fraud are prevalent in every part of the population, but seniors are especially vulnerable. Signs of healthcare fraud and abuse include abnormal activity on credit reports, inaccuracies in insurance statements or explanation of benefits (EOBs), overbilling or duplicate billings for healthcare services or devices, incorrect info evidence of insufficient care when healthcare bills have been paid, and evidence of being either undermedicated or overmedicated. If you are not available on a regular basis, a homecare agency can be a vigilant protector against senior healthcare fraud and abuse.

• Sexual senior abuse: This type of senior abuse is particularly unconscionable. Signs include unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding, bruises around genitals, and even venereal diseases.

• Neglect: Signs that seniors are being neglected by a caregiver include untreated bedsores, unexplained weight loss or malnutrition, unsanitary living conditions, being unbathed or improperly clothed, and even living in a home without heat or running water.

Preventing Senior Abuse:
There are many things you can do to help prevent elder abuse, starting with recognizing there is a problem and reporting it right away. Pay close attention to the behavior of seniors and their caregivers, be on the lookout for the various types and signs of elder abuse described above, and consider hiring a homecare agency to be your eyes and ears. All seniors deserve an advocate to protect them from any kind of abuse.

Unlocking the Potential of the Senior Homecare Franchise This 2012

The senior homecare industry is expected by many to boom this 2012 and in the coming years, creating many rewarding opportunities for prospective entrepreneurs. Given that they choose the right company, dedicated entrepreneurs will find that a homecare franchise can be a worthy investment.

At present, the senior population (particularly adults aged 65 and above) constitutes roughly 12 percent of the total U.S. population, with about 7,000 people turning 65 everyday. Research shows that this demographic will double its present number and reach approximately 70 million by 2030, and about 87 million by 2050. Senior care is already a $55 billion industry in the U.S., and this figure is expected to swell in the coming years, given the growing market and the improvement of senior care services.

A homecare franchise or business offers either medical or non-medical assistance, or in some cases, both. The former involves medical services as prescribed by a medical professional. The latter includes medication oversight, accompaniment to doctor’s appointments, even dementia or Alzheimer’s care, as well as the basic services such as bathing, grooming, meal preparation, and basic housekeeping.

The success of the homecare industry – and its potential for growth – can be credited to various factors. First is the fact that more and more seniors wish to remain at home for as long as possible – an estimated 89 percent, in fact. Staying at home gives seniors more independence and mobility, and many find being in a familiar environment gives seniors comfort and peace of mind. Homecare is made even more possible by advancements in technology and medicine, which means that seniors do not need to receive care in a nursing home or similar facility.

The second factor is cost. Homecare is a less expensive alternative to staying at a nursing home or senior living facility. This is true not just for seniors and their families, but from the government programs’, insurance companies’, and PPOs’ standpoint as well.

While there are many things working in their favor, prospective entrepreneurs still need to take great care in deciding which homecare franchise to invest in. Many smaller companies are entering the scene, making it all the more important for entrepreneurs to invest in a franchise with a tried and tested business model. This allows them to benefit from the franchisor’s best practices, comprehensive training, and even ongoing support while running and growing the business.

More than that, however, entrepreneurs interested in starting a homecare franchise will also need to have the passion and dedication to provide a better life for the seniors and families they serve.

Homecare Services Versus Nursing Homes

Most seniors would prefer to stay in their homes rather than go to a nursing home. The surroundings are more familiar and comfortable at home. They may have friends or a religious community that they’re connected to, and are worried about losing those connections. It can be hard for seniors to live on their own, however; particularly if they have health problems and need supervisory care. So you have two main choices in services-either enroll them in a nursing home, or hire a homecare service to be a live-in assistant to your beloved senior.

In a nursing home, doctors and nurses work together and provide constant care. From serious health concerns to the everyday struggles of bathing, eating, dressing, and toileting, they have experience in all matters. Another benefit of nursing homes is that they can connect seniors to other people their own age-with a shared background and similar experiences. This is a great opportunity for them to meet new friends, and to stay socially interactive. Nursing homes are a particularly good option for seniors who are having a very difficult time handling their everyday tasks, or need constant medical supervision.

Homecare service is another option in senior care. In this instance, a senior would be able to stay at their home while being attended to on a regular basis by a homecare services professional. These people have healthcare expertise, and can provide any health supervisory care that the senior may need, as well as assisting with bathing, dressing, eating, etc, plus providing just plain companionship. Homecare services are an especially good option if the senior already has a strong social network close to his/her home, does not have too serious of health concerns, and is of sound mind.

Whether you choose homecare services or a nursing home, make sure that both you and the senior that you love are comfortable with the decision, and that it is the best possible solution for your unique circumstances.

Making the Choice for Homecare

People don’t really think about homecare until they need it. When a situation arises that you need of someone to help you in your home or residence most people go into panic mode as they deal with the crisis. You then look in the Yellow Pages, call friends or rely on someone to guide you to the places and people that can assist you. If you are in this crisis intervention category rest assured you are not alone. This is typical of most of us when it comes to many healthcare issues particularly home care.

We go about our days doing all our routine activities of daily living such as brushing our teeth, showering, putting on deodorant, tying your shoes, dressing, preparing our meals, eating, doing laundry and cleaning our living spaces. When you are healthy, these activities are taken for granted as they are just part of every day. What happens when we break a leg, are in a car accident or slip on ice and fracture an arm? We soon learn that those every day activities are not so ordinary or easy to do anymore. Aging can also play a part in our decreased ability to perform these activities without thinking about them. Diseases such as Arthritis, MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and sometimes Diabetes can also add to our frustration in not being able to do those things for ourselves that we have done since our parents gave us the gift of independence and taught us self-care.

Lets talk about a man in his early 80’s, living alone with arthritis. This person may find that he could use a little assistance with the housekeeping as it has become very difficult to carry that heavy vacuum up and down the stairs and changing their bed. They may require only a few hours a week to complete these tasks and then be able to cope themselves with everything else. Possibly a family member has been helping out doing his shopping and other tasks but he is finding when their loved one comes to help there is no time for a visit. He wants to remain independent, but realizes he requires assistance. This person would benefit from having a home care worker.

There are different ways one could go about finding the right person to assist them. The local Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) are there to assist people in their home that meet a certain criteria. The service is paid through our OHIP dollars and being an Ontario resident with a valid Health Insurance Card would entitle you to this if you meet the criteria. Those criteria must usually include elements of personal care such as bathing, dressing, feeding or grooming. Our man suffering with Arthritis would likely not qualify for this assistance through the CCAC and would have to purchase this service on his own. He may have a benefit plan from his former or current employment that assists in paying for some or all of his homecare or maybe he carries Long Term Care Insurance that will also pay for a portion.

Assistance in payment for homecare may also be available if he was a war veteran. Under this category there is guidelines of qualification and it is best to contact the Department of Veteran Affairs to find out if you meet the criteria. Another way to gain information is to talk to others that may have a homecare worker or know of someone who has had one in the past. Ask them who the company is they are getting their worker from and if they are satisfied with the help provided. Call the company, tell them the situation, and ask about some of their policies, what they can provide as well as price per hour. Shop around just as you would for any other service you purchase. Look in the phone book, seniors magazines, and the internet and contact the CCAC for referrals of companies to call.

I strongly suggest never hiring an individual person to do your care. This person may sound great and the price will usually be lower than going with a company but there are some red flags you should be aware of when hiring a private individual. There are concerns to consider such as: does this person carry liability insurance for the occasional accidental breakage of that priceless antique vase you have. Under most circumstances a private individual could not afford to carry this type of insurance. Would they have malpractice insurance in cases of professional medical care? An individual would not be able to carry insurance under the Workers Compensation Insurance Act so if they were hurt while on duty such as slipping on ice in your driveway, they could sue you for damages. What happens if the worker is ill- there is no one to replace them. With a company you have the assurance that you would have the option to take a replacement staff. If that person was not happy in their position and decides to leave, you are back to square one of finding another worker. If you hire a company, you would simply call the office and have them replaced. There is always the chance that you will not be happy with the individuals work habits or even personality which again brings you back to square one after you let them go. With a company just pick up the phone and let the office tell them not to return to your home and have someone new come to you.

There are many companies to choose from but, they are not all created equal. Individual policies held by companies can differ from one to the next. It is important for you to find the best one to provide you with the service you need within your budget. Ask for options with the company and don’t be afraid to ask for a discount in price. Make sure a service agreement or contract is put into place between you and the company and set the price which should remain the same for a year from start date. Be up front if you find the price too high but remember to ask questions regarding their policies surrounding hiring practices. Make sure the company hires their staff based on criteria that includes a police reference check, full medicals, industry references, up to date CPR and First Aid certifications, employee continuing education and fire prevention training. Find out if the company offers workshops for their staff that keeps them up to date on new education in the health care field. Make sure that they are willing to come out to meet with you and discuss a plan of care that meets with your needs. This way you can feel more comfortable of who to speak with if an issue with a worker does arise.

Be open to the fact that nothing is ever perfect and that not everyone is meant to work together. Sometimes personality conflicts arise and you may not meet eye to eye with a certain worker. Understand that mistakes do happen and because we are all human people can run late or become ill. The worker may not fold the towels the way you always did but be aware that you can teach them how you like things done. Enjoy having a new person to talk to, teach new things to and learn from. Look at the situation as a whole new learning experience for yourself and the worker and you will be surprised how easy it was to make the transition of accepting the help.

Elderly Homecare – Tips to Make it Work

Elderly homecare involves having an aide come to the house and assist your elderly loved one(s) with whatever they may need. The aide can help with cleaning, laundry, shopping for groceries, and running errands. They can even just spend some time with your elder, conversing, playing cards, or watching a movie, to keep them from feeling lonely. You can hire the aide for as much or as little as you need, depending on how much you can do yourself, and how much your family and/or friends will be helping out. For other needs, like medication monitoring, you can have a visiting nurse come once a week to handle the medication dispensing. Also, you can have your aide help to prepare food, or you can coordinate a food delivery service.

If your elder needs a higher level of care, you can hire a specially trained aide to assist them with mobility, bathing and dressing, and eating. If they need round the clock elderly homecare, you may want to look into having a live-in aide. This sounds like an expensive option, but it may end up being more cost-effective than moving them into assisted living, and they’ll be able to maintain the ease and comfort of being in their own surroundings.

Another facet to elderly homecare is the addition of adapted equipment to the home. This can include placing grab bars near the shower, toilet, stairwells, and entryways. If your elder’s home is two stories, make sure their bedroom is on the first floor, to eliminate the need to go up and down the stairs several times on a daily basis. Also, remove any throw rugs to reduce the chance of slipping. Look around the house and try to think of other changes you can make to improve the safety of their environment.

Marion Somers, Ph.D. (Dr. Marion) knows the elder care arena and provides a bridge for the generational gap with resolve, results, and respect. Dr. Marion’s vision provides seniors and their caregivers timely, relevant, and valuable education, resources, products, and services for a better life. Her mission’s universal approach to engage and promote elder care needs worldwide creates a positive difference in the lives of caregivers and their elders.

Homecare Agencies – How to Work With Or For a Healthcare Provider

There is a growing demand for in-home health care services for seniors in the United States. Full-service homecare agencies provide the necessary structure to connect private nurses and caregivers with individuals or families who need a little extra help at home. Understanding how these agencies work opens doors for nurses and specialists interested in a successful career in private homecare, and also generates a straightforward avenue for seniors or their loved ones to locate and hire reliable professionals.

Relying on Full-Service Homecare Agencies

If you find yourself in a situation where you need help caring for an aging parent, a homecare agency can help you make some important decisions. A few aspects you will need to consider are: affordability, level of family involvement, caregiver reputation, and professionalism.

Paying for specialized homecare is not cheap. Some seniors are fortunate enough to have saved the necessary funds to cover their medical tests, continued care, and supplies, but this is not always the case. Determine what your budget is, and talk to a representative at a homecare agency to find a solution that meets your needs. You may find that weekly visits are sufficient for a few years and that you can provide the remaining care for your loved ones, but as time progresses, you will need more and more help from specialized individuals with medical training that exceeds the routine care you could provide on your own.

How involved can your family be? Are all the adults in your family working full-time, or can someone be around to assist the elderly family members during the day? Are your aging parents still mobile? Can they be left unsupervised for 8-to-10 hours at a time? Perhaps a high-school aged grandchild can commit to checking in after school, preparing meals, or supervising medication schedules. The more time and attention that your family can provide, the less you will need to rely on an outside employee.

Finally, the greatest benefit of hiring a caregiver through a homecare agency is that strict screening and background checks guarantee that you are hiring a high-quality professional. These employees are likely to have lots of experience and a long-standing reputation within the industry.

Seeking Employment with a Homecare Agency

Full-service homecare agencies are a two-way street. The ultimate success of these providers depends on having a reliable database of experienced nurses and homecare practitioners. If you are a nursing school student, or already hold a position as a nursing staff, you may consider the personal rewards and benefits that come with working in the private health care sector.

You will have more scheduling flexibility when you pursue a job in senior homecare services. Most seniors need only limited help around the house as they age, and jobs are available that amount to only a few afternoons a week. As your clients put in the effort to retain their independence, you will work on the sidelines to provide the necessary support. The beauty is that you will develop strong professional relationships that can lead to long-term positions with these clients. You can increase the frequency with which you visit these individuals and modify your services to reflect any changes in their activity levels and health needs. Helping these seniors to age gracefully while maintaining a high quality of life is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in the healthcare profession.