Who Can Help Me Care for My Elderly Relatives At Home?
If you've made the decision to care for an elderly relative at home, you may find that you need assistance down the line - but which home health agencies can you trust? There are so many names of agencies, and in their attempts to differentiate one from the other all they do is cause confusion. You really need a clear answer - what do these companies do, what don't they do, and how can you find one you trust?
Most home health agencies accept Medicare, and some accept private insurance or Medicaid if it's available for home care. They offer what's known as "non-medical" home care, in which their employees are trained as "certified home health aides" to provide companionship, housework, cooking, some transportation, and assistance with bathing, toileting, and similar activities of daily living. They do not assist with medication management or with administering medication - for that you'd need a nurse to come in, and most agencies don't staff nurses. These agencies charge an hourly rate (or a flat daily/weekly rate for a live-in caregiver) and make their profit off the difference between the rate paid to the employee (usually close to minimum wage) and the $20+ per hour that they post.
These companies, many of which are franchises owned by different people from territory to territory, attempt to differentiate each other based on the steps they take on background checks or on client intake. My experience, though, is that these differences are often minimal and you can't really tell whether they are in effect until something goes wrong. The main difference from one company to another is in the continuity and attentiveness of its staff. Many of the aides work for more than one agency part-time, and so the only consistent thing you'll find is the administration running the agency. You may not know whether these people have stayed in the same place and will be there for you during the entire time you'll need help inside your home. I would like to think I would know, because I have been dealing with many of these agencies throughout the years and have seen turnover in certain places and consistency in others. If you have a question, or you have any questions about how to proceed with an agency, please give me a call to set up a consultation.
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