Aging in place is still the preference of the vast majority of Americans—a whopping 80 percent, according to a survey by AARP.
But the reality is that a large percentage of those homesteaders are likely to eventually require help in a number of areas—from assistance with some or all of their “activities of daily living” (ADLs), such as grooming and meal preparation, to companionship and emotional support. Many families turn to a home health care aide (HHA) to fulfill many of these roles.
What is a Home Health Care Aide?
A home health care aide is trained to come into the home and perform a wide variety of home health aide duties. While state standards vary, federal regulations require that HHAs receive at least 75 hours of training, including at least 16 hours of supervised practical or clinical training and 12 hours of continuing education per 12-month period. This ensures you will be hiring a home health aide who is trained to give you the best care you are looking for. You won’t have to worry about hiring an inexperienced caregiver and not receiving the right care.
What Qualities Should I Consider When Hiring a Home Health Care Aide?
Many older adults are understandably hesitant to have someone in their home, even though they realize they need the help. After all, they are used to being independent and, in fact, being caregivers themselves in many cases. There are many different aspects of care you may be in need of. You might just need help to get to and from appointments, or you may need help with simple daily tasks like getting dressed or showering. Whatever it may be, it’s important to figure out what you need help with regularly, especially if you have a certain routine that needs to be followed.
That’s why it’s imperative to find an HHA who will be a great fit, both in skills and personality. This way, you can ensure you are getting the best care for your specific needs.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when trying to find the right caregiver:
- Is your loved one talkative or quiet? Many will prefer a Home Health Aide who matches their own personal personality and style.
- Can your loved one be stubborn or irritable? Will the caregiver handle different moods compassionately and patiently?
- Can your family member communicate their needs?
- Can they be depended on to provide medication reminders?
- Is transportation required? If you know you have appointments throughout your week, this is an important thing to consider. You will need to hire a home health aide who will be able to fulfill transportation services. Or, if you want to make lunch plans with your friends at certain times in the week, ensure your caregiver can transport you to and from the restaurant to continue your social life.
- Does the range of assistance skew more toward personal care or medical needs, or is your loved one just needing a more general “companion” who will help with household tasks?
- Are there allergies, such as to pets, or other concerns, such as smoking, that need to be addressed?
- How flexible will the work be, i.e., could someone set your loved one up with their dinner before they leave, or should the HHA be there to provide feeding assistance? Creating the right schedule is an important part of the process, and it is something that can ensure there is a caregiver helping you at the right times. You might have a routine that you like to follow, so this is an important thing to consider when hiring a home health aide.
How do I Find the Right Home Health Aide?
The best place to start is through an agency that offers professional home health aide services. That’s because you can have the confidence of knowing the HHA has undergone a rigorous background check (including fingerprinting), skills testing, and is trained in safety procedures.
An agency also will:
- Make sure that the aide shows up when they should—or they will send a replacement if needed. Reliability is understandably a major concern of most families hiring HHAs.
- Accommodate flexible schedules; for example, if your loved one needs someone there overnight. An agency will ensure that your schedule is met with the hired home health aide. If something doesn’t fit the caregiver’s schedule, you can find another who can fulfill it.
- Help find another provider if the first one is not compatible.
- Offer a variety of choices for HHAs, covering a wide range of personalities and skill sets.
Other considerations you might want to look into before selecting an agency:
- Do they offer CDPAP, a New York-specific state program that enables
patients to designate a friend or family member to be their caregiver and
access Medicaid funding to pay for their time? If you want one of your friends or a family member who you already trust wholeheartedly to take care of you, this program may be great for you.
- Are they reachable 24/7 in case of an emergency?
- Is the HHA under the guidance of nurse supervisors?
- Do the providers undergo a thorough background check, including personal and work references?
- Do their HHAs take home health aide responsibilities seriously?
- Does the agency conduct skills assessments and training, and do they offer patient care education for their HHAs?
These are just a few of the criteria that can help you select an agency and a Home Health Aide that will leave you feeling confident that your loved one is being properly cared for.
At Special Touch Home Care Services, we only offer HHAs who understand and appreciate their home health aide responsibilities. All staff are trained in-house and are up-to-date on the skills needed to provide the best care. Our HHAs go through a rigorous interview process. Their references are checked, and they go through drug testing, background checks, and competency tests. You can expect the best care from our HHAs, all of whom take their home health aide duties seriously. This way, you can feel at ease when you let them into your home. They will have the skills and knowledge to take care of you correctly, so you won’t have to worry about anything.
After an individualized assessment is done, you or your loved one will be matched with a compatible home health aide. Want to know more about hiring a health care aide? Reach out to the professionals at Special Touch Home Care Services, who can answer your questions and help you or your loved one find the assistance that is right for them. We can help you find the right home health aide to hire for yourself. No matter how much care you are in need of, we can help you find a caregiver who will give you great care from the comfort of your own home.
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