Hiring An In-Home Caregiver: Things You Need To Know

Hiring An In-Home Caregiver: Things You Need To Know

Understanding Specialties and Conditions
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Most, if not all of us, would rather take care of our elderly or sick loved ones ourselves. Caregiving, however, can be so demanding that it would be next to impossible for some of us to strike a balance between our caregiving duties and our family, career, and personal lives. Fortunately for us, we can always get the services of a professional in-home caregiver who can provide our loved ones the level of care and attention they need. Here are some things you need to know about hiring an in-home caregiver.

What To Expect From An In-home Caregiver

The primary responsibility of an in-home caregiver is to provide high-quality care to their patient within the confines of the patient’s home. Their duties may include the following:

Assisting with personal care tasks like going to the toilet, bathing, grooming, and getting dressed
Preparing meals, spoon-feeding if necessary
Helping get in and out of the shower, wheelchair, or car
Administering medications, monitoring medicine usage, hooking up IVs, and reminding patient of doctor’s appointments
Performing chores like shopping, laundry, and housekeeping
Driving patient to and from appointments, activities, and family gatherings
Providing companionship as well as emotional support
Monitoring health, recording and relaying information to doctors and family
Operating medical equipment

Hire A Caregiver Based On Your Loved One’s Needs

The state of your loved one’s overall health and well-being will largely dictate the type of caregiver help you need. Some patients only require a care provider who can assist them with errands, food preparation, and housekeeping tasks. Others are in a state where they need help with bathing, grooming, and other personal care tasks.

As for the caregivers themselves, some are only qualified to do the basic duties listed above. Others have the education, training, and experience required to perform some of the more advanced tasks like hooking up IV lines, preparing reports for doctors, or operating medical equipment.

To help you find the right care provider for the job, check out the different types of caregivers as listed on the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) website:

Personal Care Aides (PCAs) – PCAs don’t have a license, but they can take care of the personal care needs of your loved one, prepare their meals, perform housekeeping tasks, and provide companionship.
Home Health Aides (HHAs) – Becoming an HHA requires 75 hours of training to perform more advanced duties like monitoring the health condition and checking the vital signs of your loved one. An HHA can also do the same tasks as PCAs.
Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNAs) and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNAs) – Aside from the tasks that PCAs and HHAs do, LNAs and CNAs can also carry out more complex duties that include administering treatments, changing dressings, cleaning catheters, and setting up medical equipment. To become a nursing assistant, one must undergo at least 75 hours of training, although some states may require more.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) – Also referred to as skilled nursing providers, LPNs are trained to administer IVs, tube feedings, and shots, as well as educate caregivers and patients. Some LPNs have also received occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy training.
Registered Nurses (RNs) – As holders of a nursing diploma or degree and a license from their respective states, RNs are the most qualified caregivers you can hire for your loved one. They can perform a wide range of advanced medical tasks, including the operation of medical monitoring equipment and assisting doctors during medical procedures.

The Cost of Caregiver Services

The level of assistance your loved one needs generally dictates how much the services of an in-home caregiver will cost. Understandably, unlicensed PCAs charge less than HHAs, and Registered Nurses charge more than everybody else.

If your loved one who requires care has long-term care insurance, then part of the caregiving cost will be shouldered by his or her insurance provider. If he or she doesn’t have such a policy, you can always check with Medicare and see if you can use it to cover part of the expenses.

Tips For Finding Caregivers

There are a number of ways to find the right caregiver for your loved one. More often than not, the most reliable way of finding a qualified caregiver or a home care staffing agency is through word of mouth. You can ask for caregiver recommendations from friends, family, your loved one’s physician, or even support groups.

You can also explore locator services, which list thousands of home care staffing agencies from all over the United States. Using the free database listing of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice for example, is an excellent way of finding a great home-care service near you.

You can bolster your research for the best caregiving providers near you by using Google and other search engines. Scan their websites and social media channels to get all the information you need about the type of caregiving service they offer, the areas they serve, etc.

Staffing Agency or Private Caregiver?

When looking for caregiving services, it always boils down to hiring through a staffing agency or directly hiring an individual caregiver.

One distinct advantage of hiring an individual in-home caregiver directly is that it’s going to cost you less money than hiring via an agency. The problem is that you have to do a lot of the legwork.

As a direct employer, you’re going to have to do the interviews, background checks, scheduling, setting up their responsibilities, and salary negotiations. Any administrative tasks will also be your responsibility. You will also have to do the legal paperwork like employment contracts, insurance, and taxes. And when the caregiver asks for a day off for whatever reason, you must come up with a backup plan to deal with his or her absence. On the other hand, working with an agency means you won’t have to do most of the dirty work. The staffing agency will do them for you. All you have to do is deliver the payments, and the staffing agency will take care of everything. Finding the right caregiver for your loved one’s needs also tends to be easier when you turn to a reliable staffing agency for help.

It takes a lot of research and effort to locate qualified caregivers you can trust. Hopefully, the information provided here can help lead you to the right caregiver for the job.

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Sarah Keller is the Content Marketing Strategist of A To Z Home Care, a team of professional home care providers based in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in long-term care for your loved ones. She enjoys riding horses and camping with her friends and family in her spare time.