Choosing a Professional Caregiver

| By Jodi Horton

MP900309139There might come a point when you decide your loved one needs additional help. Mom or Dad has been living independently, but you can see they’re getting weaker and you’re worried. But, where do you start once you’ve made the decision to hire a professional caregiver?

A good starting point is to ask friends and other family if they have used a particular agency or person. Were they happy with the care? When meeting with a professional agency that provides caregivers, make the agency is insured and ask if they do background checks on their caregivers. If an individual recommends a private caregiver, your loved one might have an easier time trusting the individual, but you should be aware of liability issues. Hiring a private caregiver means you become the employer, and can be liable for work-related injuries, etc.

Prior to meeting with an agency or caregiver, make a list of specific duties you’d like for the caregiver to perform. Also, determine if there is a set schedule of days/hours for the caregiver so that you can try to create continuity with the same worker from an agency. Here are some questions to consider.

  • How much is the caregiver willing to do in caring for the patient?
  • What limitations does the caregiver have?
  • Will a caregiver do full assistance – bedbaths, feeding, getting them up and down into a chair, commode, etc.?
  • Is the caregiver willing to do some light housework, cooking, and/or meal preparation?
  • Will the caregiver give medications?
  • What’s the back-up plan if a caregiver is unable to come out for a shift, due to illness or vacation?

This might also be an opportunity to explore placement in a care facility, which can be a more cost-effective choice, especially for more frequent care. It may be valuable to arrange visits and tours with some care homes or assisted living facilities. This may come down to individual preference—the intimate atmosphere of a small care home or the community of a large facility. Expense often also plays a role in this decision. Always check with the state to make sure that any facility, small or large, is licensed and in good standing with the state. Arizona residents can use azcarecheck.com to check about deficiencies for specific homes and facilities. You can also request a copy of a file from the Arizona Dept. of Health Services, Division of Licensing Services, Office of Assisted Living Licensing.

For information about hospice services in Tucson and the surrounding areas, contact Casa de la Luz Hospice at (520) 544-9890.

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